The Rangers players, with one exception, were unable to produce their best in their visit to Parkhead for the first Old Firm match of the season. Many factors were at play there, such as a bit of fatigue from a heavy schedule, some nerves and lack of composure, and playing against a side who were good on the day. Celtic are certainly far more settled as a squad. There’s still an argument for them having better players in various areas of the pitch. As such, Rangers needed to be at their best, and it seemed it wasn’t possible. Here is how I feel each player rated on the day.
ALLAN McGREGOR – 9
McGregor made some vital saves, with one in particular in the second half being outstanding. With the Rangers gameplan being one of slowing the match down and frustrating in the first half, his control of the tempo was key. The save from Ntcham early in the second half was one most keepers would have struggled to make. He had no chance at the goal as he was left exposed by the lack of defenders.
JAMES TAVERNIER – 6
Tavernier defended well for the most part. At set pieces, he was very strong in the air and showed good concentration. Going forward, a few crosses caused some problems, but no one could make the most of them. His chance late in the match was the best Rangers created all game, and it was disappointing to see him snatch at it.
CONNOR GOLDSON – 6
Goldson won the ball a lot when Celtic were putting in some very good set pieces. He covered well when balls were played in behind. His defending in general was pretty strong. On the ball, he struggled to make passes as the team was so deep and Celtic were pressing well. Both him and Katic were left exposed at the goal as Rangers had too many players in advanced areas.
NIKOLA KATIC – 6
Like Goldson, Katic defended well for the most part. He tried to be composed on the ball and start attacks, but also struggled as the team never offered many options. His display was a decent one when you consider his lack of experience at this level.
BORNA BARISIC – 5
Barisic seemed to really struggle in the first half. He was booked for a foul of Forrest quite early, and that meant he had to be somewhat reserved. He also let the winger get past him a few times due to poor positioning more than anything else. As the game wore on, he got a bit better, trying to get forward and put in crosses.
OVIE EJARIA – 5
Ejaria looked off the pace the entire match. Had it been a normal week, you’d have been very worried by his performance. When factoring in how well he’s played in recent matches, his lack of real first-team experience, and the amount of running he done on Thursday, it was understandable that he struggled. Tried to be composed on the ball but was caught out often. Should also have fouled Rogic during the break which led to the Celtic goal.
RYAN JACK – 6
Jack also looked a little off the pace but did a bit better than most of this teammates. Won the ball a lot in deep areas, and tried to get the team going forward. He was unlucky not to get a foul in the challenge which led to the Celtic goal. When Rangers did get on the ball in the second half, he was key to any good play.
SCOTT ARFIELD – 6
Arfield was strong defensively in the first half. He cut out a number of dangerous chances and won tackles. On the ball, though, he wasn’t able to make any sort of impact. He tried to find space to play in throughout but wasn’t able to very often.
RYAN KENT – 5
Kent seemed like he had a bit more energy and running than most. In the first half, he was almost a right back as Celtic dominated the play. Every time he got on the ball he attempted to run at the defence, but rarely got any joy from it. Disciplined in a tactical sense, but not able to show what he’s best at.
ALFREDO MORELOS – 5
Morelos had a few moments in the second half where his strength and hold-up play caused issues. He created a chance for himself which Gordon saved at the near post. He was also key to the play which led to Rangers best chance towards the end of the match. Frustratingly, he was too prone to giving away fouls and stopping the team from getting up the pitch.
KYLE LAFFERTY – 5
Lafferty only had a couple of sights at goal from headers at the back post, neither of which he connected with very well. Like Morelos, he was giving away fouls rather than winning them. There were also a couple of good chances killed as he wasn’t able to stay onside.
GLENN MIDDLETON – 2
Middleton got around 10 minutes but barely got a touch of the ball.
DANIEL CANDEIAS – 3
Candeias also came on late in the match. He was energetic and created the chance for Tavernier.
How did you rate the players on the day? Tweet us @abouttherangers with your thoughts.