28 July 2013

Albion 0 Rangers 4: a good start

Image: rangers.co.uk
by Andy McGowan | Contributor

It had been an enjoyable pre-season. Eight players in and counting, a good set of results and nothing but positive PR from our travelling fans. 

But all good things must come to an end and today it was finally time to get underway in earnest and you might have been mistaken for thinking nothing had changed from last season as we ticked towards kick-off, selection headaches, players out of position and a not exactly traditional formation.

Lee McCulloch shoehorned into the team at the expense of other players and even an injury in the warm up for Emilson Cribari. All this of course underpinned by the usual moaning and groaning from the twitterverse.

Once the game got underway however it was immediately clear this Rangers side has very little in common with what we seen last season, even though only Jon Daly and Nicky Law started of our new signings due to the registration embargo and trialist restrictions. Rangers controlled the game today in a way they haven’t done since we were in the SPL. 

There was a sense of control and composure we've sorely lacked for the last 12 months. Scott Gallacher made one save in anger in what was surely the most uneventful hour and a half of his football career. We seen plenty of goals last season but that was almost always accompanied by a lack of organisation at the back and periods in the game where we were simply second best to inferior footballers.

That was never the case today. Rangers were in control from first whistle to last and whisper it quietly but Rangers looked fit today. They looked to have a yard on Albion Rovers all day long and constantly chased the ball down and worked harder than we are used to seeing and all four goals were well worked and all pretty special finishes in their own way.

Cribari’s pre-match injury was a blessing in disguise. Although he’s played much better in pre-season the team sheet looked a little disjointed with Seb Faure at right back in a 4-1-3-2. With two natural full-backs in Lee Wallace and Kyle McAusland pushing forward there was much needed width that would have been lacking on the right with Faure starting there. The one concern if we were to nit-pick was perhaps the lack of chances. We scored four goals but all four were fairly special efforts. There was a lack of goal mouth chances but that really is just splitting hairs.

The fresh start seems to have done everyone a world of good. Everyone in and around the club appears to be in high spirits and that was plain to see today. For all the energy, endeavour and control on display today the players looked relaxed and able to play football rather than allowing Rovers to turn it into a kicking match. 

And with the embargo stopping us playing anything like Ally’s first choice XI there is certainly a lot more to come. We should keep our feet on the ground, after all so far all we’ve seen is a good pre-season and a cup win against lower league opposition but they have certainly given us a lot to be positive about. 

If there’s one club who could do with some positivity around it for a change it's Rangers, roll on the league season and hopefully more ruthless controlled performances like today. "We do what we were trained to do. What we were bred to do. What we were born to do. No prisoners. No mercy. A good start."

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Keep it civil, lads.