On the back of yet more points dropped away from home (and we mock Celtic for their away record), our defence once again comes under scrutiny. Two ridiculous goals lost because of some quite awful defending. It seems that we can no longer handle balls into the box. Our once impressive backline buckles at anything and anyone above 5ft.
Very worrying indeed.
In fairness, yesterday was not our preferred back four. Big Kirk partnering Weir was always a slightly worrying prospect. The ease in which Dundee Utd scored their goals, however, left me fuming.
First up, Whittaker. Quick lesson for him. As a right back, it is his job to prevent their left midfielder getting the ball into the box. Giving Conway space to run with the ball is not on. Inviting him to cross is not on. Letting him get the ball in the box is not on. Okay, so you’re not going to win it every time. But you have to do a lot better. Conway was allowed to run right down the wing for the first goal and get a good ball into the box. Not on.
So once the ball comes in, it is the rest of the defence that is under scrutiny. It’s the centre half’s job to win everything thrown at them; or at least as much as they can. Anything he doesn’t win is a failure on his part. So to concede two goals from crosses is a big big failure. Weir especially was at fault for Feeney’s goal. No way should he have lost Feeney so easily on such a crucial position.
And lets not forget, there were other chances for Dundee Utd in the air. Daly was prevented only by a wonderful save from McGregor in the first half after he lost Whittaker at the corner. Wilkie got a free header in the 2nd half after just stepping off McCulloch. Its basic stuff. And Levein seen it coming. Both the big centre halves for Dundee Utd spent half the game in our box! He knew they had the edge – and it worked!
The problem with the defence is, I’m sad to say, is two-fold. When we concede, our entire outlook on the game changes. We go from being a free-flowing, free-passing attractive side, to being Rangers 2007/08. Today epitomised this problem. In the first half, we looked excellent as we passed the ball through the Dundee Utd and created chances – and indeed a very very good goal. But as soon as we conceded at the start of the start of the second half, it was long ball followed by long ball followed by long ball. Convenient that McCulloch was on! Smith seen this coming…and planned for it rather than against it! He seen us losing goals and decided that it was it was prudent to stick on McCulloch to play long balls to. Unbelievable.
Worrying times for the defence today. Yet again, we struggle with balls into the box. It really is not good enough. Walter, I urge you to bring in a quality central defender who is going to win everything. Otherwise we will continue to drop points and continue to lose leagues. I dread high balls into the box for Samaras on the 27th.
Written by Kev, previously published on Rangers Media. For more articles on Rangers FC and Scottish football, please visit Rangers Media.