Cup football is usually exciting, end-to-end and full of goalmouth scrambles and the rest that goes with it. Spoiler: Kilmarnock vs Rangers was not that kind of game. It was an utter borefest of a Scottish Cup showdown. Aside from a James Tavernier penalty that was saved, there weren’t many other clear-cut chances within the game. However, there were plenty of talking points to discuss from Rangers‘ night at Rugby Park. Most of the entertainment had come from both managers’ press conferences, in which Steven Gerrard & Steve Clarke were involved in a frank disagreement.
It’s an obvious one – but Rangers missed Alfredo Morelos
Sorry for stating the bleeding obvious. But Morelos was a massive miss to the Rangers attack on Saturday evening. Replaced by Jermain Defoe, Rangers missed the Colombian’s work rate and his ability to play that lone striker role. Broadfoot and Boyd had an easy time against Defoe because he’s not the most physical and obviously his game is so different to that of Morelos. Unfortunately for Defoe, he only had one half-chance to go on all night, which he ought to have done better with. It’s clear and we knew this already that Defoe looks more comfortable in a front two.
Ross McCrorie was excellent, the rest of the midfield was lacking in every aspect
This was the same midfield that comfortably disposed of Celtic before the turn of the year. In this match, they were devoid of any sort of creativity. Scott Arfield had a poor night but in his defence, he looks anything but 100% fit. Ryan Jack, on the other hand, didn’t impose himself enough on the game. He was very safe with his passing all night and that willingness to take the ball and make things happen, that he’s added to his game recently, was badly missed. Maybe he was affected by the kick in the face, but it certainly wasn’t his best display of the season, that’s for sure.
Ross McCrorie was the best of the midfielders. He broke things up well in his role in front of the defence. Even though he was deepest, when he got further forward, he appeared to be more willing to play a ball that had a chance of making something happen than Arfield or Jack. It was a good midfield battle but McCrorie, on the whole, is the only Rangers player who can come out of the game with pass marks.
Both teams will be happy to have another crack at it
In the end, Rangers will be most unhappy with the outcome, especially after missing the penalty. However, considering Rangers had recently lost a Rugby Park and had a very, very poor night attacking-wise, they will be content enough with having another crack at Kilmarnock at Ibrox. Steven Gerrard admitted post-match that he was “satisfied” with the performance; I am not sure I would agree with that, but the main thing is that they are still in with a shout of going through. The winner of the replay will take on Aberdeen away from home in the quarter-final. As the old saying goes, you have to be in it to win it and Steven Gerrard’s Rangers are still right in the mix.