As you can imagine, a match with a red card, a manager sent to the stands, poor refereeing decisions and some crazy defending has plenty to discuss. If you add in that it finished 5-5 in the way that it did, you have a game that will live long in the memory. Let’s have a look at some of what transpired, and what we can look forward to going forward.
I’m almost sick of complaining about the referees in Scottish football. I expect mistakes, and have some sympathy for how difficult their job is. What is utterly frustrating is just how often Rangers seem to be on the end of poor decisions right now. The challenge by Scott Allan and the handball by Paul Hanlon were easy decisions for the referee. They should have resulted in a red card and a penalty respectively. There was no real cause for dubiety or missing the incidents, and yet neither was punished as they should have been. Add that to the ludicrous penalty Aberdeen were given in midweek, along with other poor decisions, and it’s easy to see why Rangers fans are frustrated by this.
Some will see this as an agenda. I’m not convinced that’s the case, but I do believe we are refereed to a different standard. What is clear is that it can’t continue into next season. If there’s signs of that again early on, the club will be forced to be more vociferous in their criticism of the way officials handle our matches.
He was a somewhat surprise inclusion, having not played since the second leg against Progres. His lack of match fitness led to him going off with cramp just after an hour. In that short time, though, he done enough to excite the fans. He was composed, aggressive, drove the team in terms of leadership, and scored a great goal. When the players were looking to each other for inspiration, he was one who stepped up. There’s not many who would have included him in a “must keep” list before this match. Now, it would be a disappointment if it transpired injuries were to hold him back even further.
Of all the players, Rossiter deserved his goal and good performance. He also deserves the chance to play regularly, and he wants to repay the club for their patience. Hopefully he’ll be a real asset next season.
Rangers finished the season as top scorers in the league. That’s a decent achievement, especially as no one was able to hit the 20 mark in league goals. Sadly, they were very poor defensively, and that was what killed the team over the course of the season. Rangers dropped numerous points from winning positions. They played around 10 or 11 central defensive partnerships overall, and none of them were consistently good at any point. Of everything that needs sorted in the team, the defensive shape is priority number one. That’s not just a couple of good centre halves, it requires a lot more work than that.
And so that’s the games done. We got through it! Let’s be honest, there were times we weren’t sure we would. Finishing third is disappointing, but it gets those European matches at least. The extra games will make up for the difference in prize money had we finished second. The results against Progres this season were a freak, and we should be confident of getting through a few rounds. It’s an early start, but Gerrard is keen to get going, so he may almost welcome that.
As I write this, Rangers have announced a press conference. It looks like it’s to unveil Scott Arfield, the first of what will no doubt be many signings. We’ll cover the players and rumours as they come up, but it’s excellent to see the club already making moves and not hanging about.
Are you glad the season is done? Tweet us @abouttherangers with your thoughts!