Rangers’ Europa League group stage is off to a fine start after they picked up a point away at Villarreal in a 2-2 draw. After a dreadful first half which saw us down inside the first minute, Rangers rallied in the second half to equalise twice and come away from El Madrigal with a well-earned point.
Here’s a few things to talk about after that...
Do Rangers have a wee mental block?
Rangers did their traditional “here ye go, have a free shot at goal” routine immediately after scoring, as is traditional, but they’d already done it a couple of times with the score at 1-1. It was clear after the first equaliser that Rangers were intent on going on and winning the game, and as a result looked increasingly less arsed when dealing with Villarreal’s attacks. It’s not a case of not having men behind the ball because we want to win - it increasingly looks like simple effort and concentration. Rangers must be as determined when off the ball when drawing or losing as we are when in the lead.
Glenn Middleton should get plenty of game time
Eros Grezda may have something to say about it, but Middleton’s cameo was astonishing. The boy creates a chance more often than not when he gets the ball, and showed that he’s got plenty more than knocking it past the defender in his locker with a fine pass for Borna Barisic’s assist. His directness and determination bring a lot to the side - he should always be an option on the bench.
Scott Arfield remains a worry
Arfield’s signing at the very start of the off-season gave us a lot of hope, but he’s yet to show his best for Rangers. He got a goal with a fine finish, but missed a great opportunity to win the game and was consistently awful on the ball all night, constantly dwelling, slowing down moves and rarely picking the right pass. Combined with being rather anaemic in the tackle, he simply has to improve to keep his place - he is in danger of being well overtaken by Ovie Ejaria.
Taking our chances? Where are you and what have you done with the real Rangers?
Arfield’s frustrating last-gasp scuff aside, Rangers took their chances and were duly rewarded. Amazing what can happen when you do that! Kyle Lafferty being on in place of Alfredo Morelos, who does need a fair few chances to score, may have had something to do with it, but it was very pleasing to see the requisite degree of ruthlessness on show.