There was no doubting some luck was involved in Rangers draw with Villarreal on Thursday night. The point is certainly a better start to the Europa League group stage for Rangers than the Spanish side that included former Arsenal man, Santi Cazorla. However, luck is only a part of what Rangers had in this performance. They weren’t at their best, but they never stopped trying to play, and it wasn’t a game where the team were defending for the majority and unable to get on the ball. The players were rocked by the early goal and took some time to settle. In the second half, though, they played some nice stuff at times and were rewarded with their goals. Here is how I feel Gerrard’s players rated on the night.
ALLAN McGREGOR – 8
So far this season, the Rangers goalkeeper has been excellent in the European matches. That continued in this game, with a few saves ensuring Rangers were able to get the draw. The opening goal caught him out somewhat, but it was a great strike by Bacca. He didn’t have a lot to do after that in the first half. In the second half, he twice came out to prevent Villarreal players getting through on goal, and made a great save from a strike at the edge of the box. His distribution also led to the moves which saw Rangers score.
JAMES TAVERNIER – 7
Like most players, Tavernier had something of a mixed performance. His run which led to the Arfield goal was a real moment of quality. He also created a few chances in the second half with some good crosses. However, when Rangers lost the ball from those attacks, he was caught out defensively. In the first half, he struggled on the ball and wasn’t able to find the passes he normally would. Against a level of opposition he’s not used to facing, he will have learned a fair amount from this match.
CONNOR GOLDSON – 7
Goldson defended well throughout the game. He showed some real pace and desire to cut out good chances. At set pieces, he won the ball often. He was looking to be composed on the ball but found that difficult as players around him were struggling to find space for an easy pass. His leadership and organisation helped Worrall through his debut.
JOE WORRALL – 7
Like Goldson, Worrall had a strong game overall. He was good in the air especially, rarely losing a header. He also pushed forward to win the ball when he could and keep the pressure on Villarreal from any loose clearances. Considering it was his debut and he hasn’t played often in recent months, he looked comfortable.
BORNA BARISIC – 6
Barisic did excellently with the assist for Lafferty’s goal. In the first half, though, he really struggled on the ball, and even defensively seemed to be caught out a few times. He wasn’t doing well getting forward and didn’t link up well with Kent. As the match progressed, he grew into it, but he’ll be disappointed it took him so long to do so.
ANDY HALLIDAY – 6
Halliday did decently well in midfield, and never really got caught on the ball. His passing was secure for the most part and he offered an option for players to find him with a pass. In the first half, he was probably one of the better performers for Rangers. He did struggle to close down quickly enough quite often, as did all of the midfield. Certainly not a weak link as many were fearing.
LASSANNA COULIBALY – 5
Coulibaly was substituted relatively early in the second half as he was clearly struggling in the match. His usual energy and pressing looked a little short, and he was poor on the ball. As a result, he wasn’t on the pitch when most of the team started to play a bit better, which may have helped him to do so.
SCOTT ARFIELD – 6
Arfield was frustrating the fans watching the match just before his goal. He would do well to press a mistake or read an interception, then give the ball away seconds later. It felt as though the match was passing him by, but then he popped up to score the first goal. His movement and controlled finish for that goal were excellent. After that, he became a bit more influential and should have scored to put Rangers in front late in the match.
DANIEL CANDEIAS – 6
Candeias assisted the first goal with a good first-time cross. Much like Arfield, until then he had really struggled. As always, he would try to press the game and force mistakes. He would be caught out more than once doing that though. His passing and crossing weren’t getting anywhere until the goal. After that, he moved into midfield and was substituted late on.
KYLE LAFFERTY – 7
Lafferty struggled to get involved in the first half. He was caught offside a few times during promising attacks. As the team were poor on the ball, the service to him was limited at best. In the second half, he saw far more of the game and contributed through both his goal and his work rate. His winning of the ball set up an attack which led to a good chance just after his equaliser.
RYAN KENT – 5
Kent couldn’t get into this match in the way he would have hoped. His first half was very poor, with a number of ball losses and poor passes. As the team grew into the game, he became a little more secure, and one run, in particular, was excellent and led to a good free-kick opportunity. He moved from left to right when Middleton came on, and the young substitute had far more of an attacking impact.
GLENN MIDDLETON – 5
Middleton would have a far higher rating were he on the pitch for longer. His contribution was excellent as he offered bravery on the ball. The pass he played which led to the second equaliser was a great ball down the line. He constantly ran at the full-back and looked more than capable at this level.
ROSS McCRORIE – 3
McCrorie came on at 2-2 to help the midfield and done well to read some passes and clear the danger.
GRAHAM DORRANS – 2
Dorrans only played around 9 minutes but had enough time to show his quality with a great run and ball through which Arfield should have scored from.
How did you feel the players rated? Tweet us @abouttherangers with your thoughts.