For the first time since Gerrard took over, Rangers were largely outplayed by their opponents on the day in Motherwell. Despite looking good for spells, it was clear the match was a difficult one for the team. Motherwell didn’t look to compete in terms of nice passing or possession football as such. They were direct, strong, and created a number of good chances. Rangers scored three goals but didn’t create enough on top of that. Normally, you wouldn’t have to, but poor defending for the first time this season meant that the team couldn’t see out the win. Below are the ratings I felt each player deserved on the day.
ALLAN McGREGOR – 6
McGregor made a few good saves, but he’ll be annoyed by the nature of the goals conceded. The first saw him caught out due to Goldson’s slip and he was exposed. For the set-piece goals, he will feel he could have done better. The free kick was a little out of his range, but the corner was flashed across the six-yard box and tapped in from about a yard out. Even with the defenders not doing their job, McGregor will believe he could have claimed that ball.
JAMES TAVERNIER – 5
Tavernier is the focus of ire for most fans on the day as he’s taking the blame for the 2nd and 3rd Motherwell goals. He did finish with an assist after a great cross was met by the head of Lafferty. Defensively though, he had a very poor day. Not only was he part of poor marking that led to the goals, he was also beaten by the wide players more than once.
CONNOR GOLDSON – 5
Goldson hasn’t really put a foot wrong so far for Rangers. In this match, it was like we were watching his semi-professional twin brother. The move to a back three didn’t seem to suit him at all. His slip led to the first goal, and a few other mistakes were lucky not to be punished. His marking was also poor at free-kicks and corners. A day he’ll want to forget pretty quickly.
NIKOLA KATIC – 6
Katic must have felt a little bit exposed in the first half. Of the three centre-halves, he was the only one who looked composed or read the danger really well. The defence moved positions in the back three halfway through the first half, and he settled best in the centre of the trio. The main issue he had on the day was the pace and movement of the Motherwell front line, leading to him having to concede a number of corners.
JON FLANAGAN – 6
When you consider that Flanagan was playing an unfamiliar role, he did ok. The nature of the match meant that he was up against it though. He’s good in the air, but his height meant that was a bit of a struggle. His lack of pace led to him defending deep. With the team struggling to get out all too often, he was given far more to do than he would have liked to.
BORNA BARISIC – 7
Barisic set up the goal for Ejaria and constantly caused problems with his running and crossing. The pace and physicality of the match didn’t phase him at all as he played only his third match for Rangers. In fact, he seemed to thrive on it as he went into tackles with full commitment. In a game where most of his teammates struggled, he had a good day.
RYAN JACK – 6
Jack was more effective than he looked, as strange as that sounds. He got the ball down as often as possible and kept the team moving. However, the nature of the match meant that composed possession and a chance to dominate the tempo was very difficult to achieve. He was able to win second balls at times and help out defensively, but the midfield was largely missed out.
OVIE EJARIA – 6
Ejaria scored a nice goal and had some lovely touches. As the game progressed, he was unable to find the time and space he normally does to have an impact. Didn’t shirk the defensive side of the game in any way, but it was a match not suited to his strengths.
ANDY HALLIDAY – 6
Like Ejaria and Jack, Halliday couldn’t get into the match enough. He fought really well in there and put in tackles at key times, but couldn’t get much time on the ball. He had a shot deflected wide in the first half, and a great cross which was narrowly cleared, but not much else of note.
ALFREDO MORELOS – 6
Morelos put in a great shift and caused some issues for the Motherwell defence. He couldn’t fashion any really good chances, though. His link-up play wasn’t quite as strong as it’s been of late, with a few decisions letting him down. However, he showed enough, especially when Rangers were chasing the game, to show that his attitude and form are in a good place.
KYLE LAFFERTY – 8
Two goals for Lafferty and a strong performance in terms of work rate meant he was the main man for Rangers on the day. His first goal had some fortune with the deflection but was a cracking volley under some pressure. The header for his second goal was excellent, meeting the cross perfectly. He also had a header saved in the first half and missed a great chance in the second. Playing as part of a front two suited his game, and he showed that he’s going to be a good signing for the club.
SCOTT ARFIELD – 3
When Arfield replaced Halliday, the game was very scrappy and didn’t allow him to get involved too much.
GLENN MIDDLETON – 2
Middleton came on for Barisic but was barely able to get a touch of the ball.