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Negativity is the key for Rangers

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It wasn’t pretty but few from the Rangers camp will care how they grabbed a point from Old Trafford on Tuesday night.

A goalless draw away to Manchester United should not have any negativity put towards it, although some will have a bash anyway.

Ten men behind the ball was hardly a surprising tactic imposed by Walter Smith – he did it all the way to a European final two and a half years ago. It wasn’t an exciting match, but neutral observers will have been aware of what was going to occur, and if they didn’t like it, they shouldn’t have tuned in.

It was a fantastic point from Rangers and a great start to their Champions League campaign. However, it’s only a start.

Last year, the draw away to Stuttgart was nearly as impressive and realistic hopes of qualifying out of the section were muted. Three crushing home defeats soon put paid to this.

Rangers, much like the Scottish national team these days, find it tougher to win at home than on their travels; when the onus is on them to open up and create. They simply do not have the necessary quality to do this. If they did, the lack of pace in defence would be cruelly exposed. Not just Davie Weir, but also Steven Whittaker, Sasa Papac and Kirk Broadfoot all have slow acceleration speed.

Playing a 5-4-1 is the right tactic away from home, but it will be hard to replicate the same defensive performance in Spain and Turkey. You see, there is no plan B. If Rangers lose the first goal then they have little to offer in an attacking sense. When chasing the game, as they did against Unirea and Sevilla last year, too many gaps appear and better players than SPL standard are able to use this space more effectively.

However, this tactic is the only one they can adopt. Valencia, despite losing key players over the summer, are still a decent outfit as proven with a four goal victory in Turkey.  Bursaspor have spent close to a hundred million pounds in two years, so just from this you can expect Rangers to struggle.

The next two games – Bursaspor and Valencia at Ibrox – will tell us everything about Rangers ambitions. Four points from these will be an achievement, and it would put them in a great position to challenge for the top two positions.  How Rangers approach these matches will be important to their chances.

Maybe five more backs to the wall displays will result in five more goalless draws and give Rangers 6 points, which will probably enough to secure third place and a passage through to the Europa League. Something most inside Govan will reluctantly accept.

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Comments (4)

  1. your probably right, walters tactics may have taken us back to the cattanaccio days, but its effective and the only ones moaning are the anti-rangers folk, the people who hate us, they are sick that we can go to old trafford and get a point! everyone to a man was expecting us to get gubbed! :-) well ha ha in Walter we trust, he is the best manager Scottish football has ever had! Member Stein done well in the 60′s when there werent many games, fitness was not important and scouting opposition wasnt possible! football is a much harder game nowadays, money has made it so, and Rangers have done exceptional, i fully expect them to win all 3 home games. heres to a domestic treble, last 16 and ZERO debt next year :-) the future is very bright for Rangers FC. Thanks

  2. Liam, Jock Stein won more games in one season in the European Cup than Smith has won in his entire career in the Champions League. Gordon Strachan has even won more games in the Champions League than Watty. Stein went out to overcome and destroy the cattanaccio style that you describe Smith as bringing back. So explain again how Smith is a better manager.

  3. it was a tongue in cheek dig, looking for a bite from one of the easily offended and i got one! cheers x

    in any case Jocks era was a different time period, football was not as hard as it is now, it was unrecognisable from what it is now. there wasnt as many games and the gulf between celtic, rangers and the rest of europe was not as big as it is now. god, during the 60′s and 70′s the old firm were probably the 2 biggest clubs on the planet and certainly 2 of the best teams in europe. nowadays we are both miles behind even average european teams.

    since the late 90′s playing in europe has NEVER been harder for the old firm. Walters record in Europe is horrendous but so is Scottish footballs record,yer own Celtic included. In general and right up against it, Walter has done great, yes a few hick ups here n there, but by in large, hes done amazing. Miracles with the dross he has had to work with in this country.

    Side note on Chesney, he had Nakamura as a secret weapon, a type of player Rangers have not had for years n years, he was a special talent, very special, he was Chesneys 1 golden child! Without him, Chesneys Celtic would have done nothing. Also Chesneys team didnt play any fantastic teams like MONs team did or like we have recently, the Manure team ye beat didnt turn up at Parkhead! Also Chesneys away record is simialr to that of every other recent Celtic manager, pathetic, at least we can trust Walter away from home, our away record is pretty good, no matter who has been our manager, its our home record which lets us down.

    Cheers M

    ;-)

  4. It’s teams like Rangers that are ruining football!!!!
    I think we should have 4 pts for a win, that way teams like Rangers will have to go and try to win!