This was just what the doctor ordered – total control of a game against opposition who offered virtually nothing over the 90 minutes, culminating in a very solid 3-1 victory, which was the very least Rangers deserved for their efforts.
There’s been a lot of debate in recent weeks about Rangers and how good they really are,not least from this keyboard. The general consensus is that we have a good team with a number of very good players, but supporters, including me, have been frustrated at Rangers’ frequent inability to turn their domination of games into goals and wins. With Shire and Montrose up next, the hope is that Saturday’s fuss-free win marks the beginning of a run of victories which moves the club up the table and into the play-off zone. With the other Rangers finally starting to build up a head of steam, there are still 3 playoff spots up for grabs, and with a mere two points separating 7th and 3rd positions that ambition remains well within our grasp. So far this season we’ve only beaten those teams which lie below us in the league. Saturday’s win over Annan was a good time to start breaking that habit.
Yano made a couple of changes to the team that lost comprehensively to Stenhousemuir in Tuesday’s cup tie, Yossi Bejaoui relegated to bench duty after his cross-related catastrophe, and John Ferguson coming in to partner Darren Lavery up top in place of Stuart Noble, who has so far failed to reproduce the form which won him a new contract in the final weeks of last season.
Rangers started off confidently – when have’nt they this season – and took the lead on 24 minutes after some good passing moves. Ross Gray slid a pass inside the full back and Lavery ran on to slot home under keeper Mitchell. Lavery is starting to look like a real class act. He has the knack of making difficult finishes look easy, and I’m hoping the powers that be at Shielfield are already in discussion with him about extending his contract.
Ross Gray, once again putting in a prodigious shift off the right wing, doubled Rangers’ lead a minute before the break, slamming home from close range after Hoskins had flicked on a corner. Dean Hoskins killled the game off eight minutes after the break, battering a shot in off the underside of the bar after Mitchell lost the ball in a goalmouth scramble. It was the sort of scruffy goal that Rangers have’nt been scoring enough of this season. John Ferguson, who worked hard throughout and provided decent support for Lavery, should have added to Rangers’ tally in the 65th minute but clipped a low shot wide of an open goal, Darren Lavery missed from point blank range in the 71st minute after Ross Gray took apart the Annan defence, before the hard working Graeme Ramage, the only visiting player who stood out, scored a last minute consolation with an angled shot under The Eagle.
Good stuff from Rangers, who looked a much better outfit than their 3rd placed visitors, and the confidence from the margin of victory, not solely in terms of the scoreline, should stand them in good stead for the coming weeks, The return of Ian McCaldon to goal gave Rangers a more solid look at the back, which also helped. Another decent crowd served to reinforce the impression that people believe the management have this team heading in the right direction.
Man of the match – Lee Currie, human dynamo, Worked tirelessly and kept his team moving forward. In complete control of midfield
McCaldon 7; Jacobs 6; Brydon 7; Townsley 6; Hoskins 7; Gray 7; Currie 8; Notman 7; McDonald 6; Lavery 7; Ferguson 7
Crowd – 460