Three talking points as Rangers hammered Hamilton

Hamilton Rangers Scottish Premiership Tactical Analysis
artwork by @chapluana.

Rangers followed up their win over Kilmarnock in the Scottish Cup with a thumping 5-0 route of Hamilton. Four goals in 28 first-half minutes saw Rangers manage to take the game away from the hosts; Steven Gerrard‘s men were able to play out the rest of the match in cruise control. The goals came from five different players: Ryan Jack, Jermain Defoe, Scott Arfield and a James Tavernier penalty meant Rangers were four ahead at the break. Despite plenty of chances in the second half, Kyle Lafferty would complete the scoring two minutes from time.

With Rangers putting on such a terrific performance, it’s only natural that there are plenty of talking points to mull over.


Hamilton Rangers Scottish Premiership Tactical Analysis
Credit: Wyscout.


The midfield balance was terrific

Ryan Jack, Glen Kamara and Scott Arfield looked superb together again. Kamara kept everything ticking over. He was able to be the metronome of the three, abling him to control the tempo. The most impressive thing was that he knew when to speed the game up and when to take the sting out of it and slow it down.

This midfield trio has everything: work rate, bite, creativity and two fantastic goals from long-range efforts as well. Maybe it’s something Scott Arfield should be doing more, sticking his laces through a ball to finish rather than always trying to pass it in. But overall, they were excellent and their performances set the tone for an easy afternoon.

Rangers can actually score and win a game without Alfredo Morelos

The last time Rangers managed to win a league game was the 1-0 victory over Hamilton when Daniel Candeias found the net in December. So it will be pleasing for Steven Gerrard to get five different scorers and different types of goals as well.

The two from outside the box is bound to please him for than the others due to the fact that Rangers, as a team, haven’t been prolific from outside of the area this season. Morelos is, without doubt, the main man, however, winning and scoring five in his absence is bound to give everyone a bit of a boost in confidence.

Gerrard found a way to get the best out of Defoe as a lone striker

4-3-3 is the go-to system for Gerrard, but we saw the smallest of tweaks that made a lot of difference. The 4-3-3 became a 4-2-3-1, with Scott Arfield being allowed to go and give Jermain Defoe a helping hand. It was no surprise that when you get people in and around him, he can thrive. It wasn’t only shifting Arfield position that helped, Rangers moved the ball much sharper and with a purpose, some of the front four’s movement and rotation was excellent too.

Defoe, of course, took his goal really well, but it was a performance Rangers and Gerrard can build on in the aspect of a way of playing with Defoe in the side. There were no 50-yard long punts in his direction, the ball was played into feet most of the time.

It’s almost as if the team had discovered that he isn’t Alfredo Morelos.