In games like the one at Pittodrie on Tuesday night, attitude is as important as ability. When the team lost their discipline in the first half, added to recent performances, very few fans felt they would turn the game around. By the end, most felt we should have won it. That was down to the contributions of two players in the main, who showed strong menality along with quality.
Ross McCrorie had found it a bit of a struggle in the first half. He was excellent when the team started the game well, but once things dipped he looked a little off the pace. Players were able to beat him to the ball, and he was caught on the wrong side of midfielders a few times. Given the way the game was going, you could have worried about him in the second half.
Instead, he showed why Rangers fans are so excited by him. He started to win tackles and control the midfield again. Pushing forward when he could, he provided a drive and energy from midfield that was vital to getting the team back into the match. His goal summed that up, as he ensured he beat the Aberdeen defender to the ball but had the composure to place the ball in the bottom corner. Fans came away from the match seeing him as the bright spot, the player they want Gerrard to build a team around. It does seem that he has the right attitude and plenty of ability.
For me, he was just pipped to man of the match by Alfredo Morelos. There’s a growing narrative surrounding the young striker. It’s suggested that he takes the huff too often, or is far too easily put off his game when not playing well. It’s not an opinion I share, and I’d use last night as more evidence as to why. This was a match where the referee focused on Morelos, looking to penalise him at every turn. The penalty decision was down to that attitude, clearly a wrong call but one swayed by the fact Morelos was involved. It would have been easy, and largely understandable, if Morelos had went into his shell somewhat or not played as he could have. Instead, we saw him raise his game and give the Aberdeen defence real trouble, especially in the second half.
I am aware that he missed good chances. The header in the second half was the best of those, sadly hit straight at Joe Lewis. It was Morelos’ excellent play from the throw in which led to the goal, though. He also won the physical battle against a very big defence, and helped set up chances and make space for others. Even his tackling when chasing back was strong. Most will remember the missed chances, and that’s the life of a striker, but I felt he was the main reason Rangers played so well in the second half.
Do you agree with the above? Tweet us @abouttherangers with your thoughts!