It was a comfortable night for Rangers as they beat Ufa 1-0. Connor Goldson’s first-half finish gave the Gers a lead to take to Russia next Thursday. However, The result was tinged with a little frustration. Ufa came to sit in, which they did. Furthermore, I feel Rangers didn’t test the ‘keeper enough, were too slow in possession and never managed to get in behind their ultra-packed defence. The main thing is that they managed to get a win and something to build on for the second leg.
Here is how I Steven Gerrard’s men on the night:
Allan McGregor – 8
He never had much to do in the 90 minutes, in all honesty. But as usual, when it mattered, he pulled off a superb save to keep the Russians out just after Goldson’s goal. Big saves win games, and that one tonight when he had to get down low managed, to win the game for the hosts.
James Tavernier – 7
Tough night for the skipper. Nothing really came off for him down the right-hand side. Put in a few decent crossed but nothing came of them. Solid defensively.
Connor Goldson – 9
Man of the Match by some distance. He was excellent defensively; played with a coolness and a calmness all night long against Sly Igboun, who could have been a tricky opponent. He also managed to get the vital goal for the win. Fast becoming the heartbeat of the back four.
Nikola Katic – 8
Like Goldson next to him, the Croat defended really well. Kept thing simple and was always in control when Ufa decided to venture across the half-way line (which wasn’t often).
Jon Flanagan – 6
A game like this wasn’t really for Flanagan. I don’t think he was poor but he didn’t pull up any trees either. Was very awkward trying to watch him overlap Ryan Kent and then cut back onto his right foot to deliver crosses.
Ryan Jack – 7
Jack was his usual quietly effective self. Kept things ticking over and won a lot of the ball back in the second half. Thought his industrious style complimented Ejaria’s game well.
Ovie Ejaria – 8
Possibly his best 90 minutes in a Rangers shirt so far and the best midfielder on display. He had a little bit of everything in his game. Most of the moves centrally came through him and he took on the role of playmaker, particularly in the second half. He worked back and won his fair share of tackles. Good all-around display from the young loanee.
Scott Arfield – 6
Flirted in and out of the game. Looked good when Rangers were in and around the box, but not enough of an impact. He had an off night but he wasn’t the only one. Took the decision to pass a few times when a shot may have been his better option.
Daniel Candeias – 5
Not enough quality from Candeias. Worked hard but that was about as good as it got for him. Not his night, replaced by Lafferty.
Ryan Kent – 6.5
Kent has come in for some unjust stick on social media after his performance. Not everything came off for him, but unlike Candeias on the right-hand side, he kept driving and trying to commit their defence – had a shot that fizzed over the bar in the second half. Was replaced by young Middleton.
Alfredo Morelos – 7
The little Colombian worked his socks off, gave their defence a hard time, so much so they had to keep fouling him. But in keeping with the performance of the team, he will no doubt be frustrated at the lack of goalscoring opportunities.
Glenn Middleton – 6
Gave the full-back a different problem than Kent. Got passed him twice down the line, but his crosses didn’t cause any harm to the Ufa defence. Went down looking for a penalty, but it would have been soft if the ‘ref had pointed to the spot.
Kyle Lafferty – 6
Replaced Candeias to a huge roar from the fans. Put himself about, had one long-range effort. He will be glad to get the minutes under his belt and to start his second spell at Ibrox with a victory.