clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Five things Rangers' caretaker manager must fix to secure 2nd place

Whether it's Graeme Murty, Alex McLeish or someone else, there's a few things they need to sort, quickly.

Nottingham Forest v Oldham Athletic - FA Cup Third Round Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The team shape in defence

Not only have Rangers centre-backs struggled, they've also suffered from a lack of protection. Part of this is the lack of a proper defensive midfielder with Jordan Rossiter out injured, but go back and watch literally any Rangers game this year. Watch when the players track back to deal with an opposition attack. You'll notice something very strange - the players head back, but they don't stand in any remotely useful positions. They seem to take up completely random spots, doing absolutely nothing to hinder the opposition and prevent them playing and creating chances. It's utterly baffling, and needs to be sorted out. Players need to be informed what they're supposed to be doing when tracking back - whether it's marking an area or picking up a man.

The team shape in attack

Aye, this too. Similarly to when our team tracks back, when players go forward, they rarely seem to take up intelligent positions, again standing around randomly and charging up the pitch for the sake of it. It's been well-documented just how few players Rangers have in the box when attacking - since the plan of moving the opposition defence around clearly isn't working, why don't we just get bodies in the box and attempt to supply them with high quality passes and crosses? We have enough quality that we shouldn't need to worry about anything more complex than that. The fact that no Rangers player has anything approaching an even respectable goal tally this season is the clearest indication that we do not have any ideas that can be trusted to work in the final third. It's time to go back to basics here, too.

Pick a more settled lineup

Martyn Waghorn's comments after Warburton's departure were extremely telling, as he revealed that players had found the constant rotation of the team frustrating. Quite simply, in February, the manager still didn't know what his best team was. That's pretty unforgivable, and a more settled lineup is surely going to improve the shocking lack of cohesion in the team, and improve the mentality and confidence of the players.

Get the most from key players

Barrie McKay is a fine dribbler, but he also has possibly the greatest range and weight of passing in Scotland. So why, then, does he have so few assists? Finding a way to get the team to profit from his outstanding killer balls is surely the best way forward for the attack.

Meanwhile, there are other players who have undoubted attributes but haven't been allowed to show the best of them. Emerson Hyndman surely needs to be deployed further forward to make the most of his touch and finishing, Joe Garner could come in pretty useful if we can actually make use of his physical presence, and even James Tavernier showed last season that he can be a devastating attacking force if correctly used. There is talent in this squad, it's just not being utilised effectively.

Learn to counter-attack

One of the most infuriating features of Warburton's style of football was how slow the team could be to move the ball up the park. With many games featuring endless sideways passing to try and break down deep, defensive sides, it was baffling that Rangers showed absolutely no urgency at all to attack when the opposition actually were out of position, instead constantly letting them regroup. It was a major reason for our shocking away form, and even a simple, direct approach could work wonders to give the team an extra weapon in their arsenal.