Rangers followed up the Cowdenbeath win with a 4-0 victory against a shockingly bad St. Mirren side. Steven Gerrard‘s charges won the match through three goals from penalties. James Tavernier scored two, missed one and Jermain Defoe scored the other. Ryan Kent rounded off the scoring at Ibrox.
It wasn’t the best display of the season but the most important thing for Rangers at the point was winning the match and staying in touch with Celtic. The match threw up plenty of controversies and there was plenty to talk about.
Four penalties in one match, but Andrew Dallas was terrible
All the after-match chat centred around Andrew Dallas giving Rangers four penalties. In my opinion, he got the first two correct, but the last two were both free-kicks. However, his lack of consistency was there for all to see all day long. His booking of Alfredo Morelos was nonsensical along with the booking of Ross McCrorie. This isn’t the first match Dallas has been the talking point after a match. He gave Celtic a penalty which wasn’t in the League Cup final against Aberdeen. The truth is, he is not a very good ref and he’s been the beneficiary of the SFA’s fast-track system. The standard in the country is awful, and unfortunately, I don’t think the SFA are willing to invest the time and money to improve the overall standards of refereeing in Scotland.
The diamond was questionable again – flat 4-4-2 much worked better
Steven Gerrard elected to go with the diamond midfield again. This is the kind of game where he should be trying it out opposed to Kilmarnock away. However, I wasn’t sure of it again. I think the front two worked well, but the midfield, only Ryan Kent and Scott Arfield, in my opinion, played well. I also thought the midfield was far too easy to play through at times. St Mirren, a few times, played two passes and they had totally cut out the Rangers midfield.
I think the formation should be an option going forward, but realistically, it needs more work on the training pitch. When Gerrard brought Daniel Candeias on and went to a flat midfield four that shape worked much better. Arfield and Jack asserted much more control in the middle of the park, while having Candeias on the park, meant Tavernier’s game improved. He was far more trusting of what was down his side when he went forward. I feel like the diamond curtails his attacking instincts, which obviously is a big attacking weapon for this side.
Defoe and Davis
Jermain Defoe had an excellent 83 minutes. I was impressed with his work rate, as he has the reputation of a poacher. He worked the backline well. He held the ball up well and managed to assist the fourth goal with a perfectly-weighted pass. However, I thought his link-up play was fantastic. The way he dropped into the little pockets between the midfield and attack caused St Mirren a multitude of problems. He deserved a goal on the day and I think James Tavernier recognised that when he handed him the fourth penalty, which Defoe smashed home.
Davis, on the other hand, looked miles off the pace. He committed at least four fouls in the first half, and it looked like he was getting frustrated with his own performance. His passing, which is the best part of his game, was terrible by his standards. It was no surprise that the midfield improved when he was replaced. He certainly needs more minutes.