On Friday evening Rangers will make probably the shortest trip we have when we visit Partick Thistle at the newly christened Energy Check Stadium. What a name! I am afraid it is still Firhill Stadium for me. A quick jump across the River Clyde and then a swim up the River Kelvin to Maryhill will virtually get you there. Oops sorry! It is of course another team that enjoy swimming in the Kelvin. Far easier to take the Kelvin walkway which is a fantastic stroll for those who have never done it. It is a lot safer and there is far less chance of hypothermia. Rangers supporters have also been given the Jackie Husband stand which holds 5500 supporters. That means even at an away game Rangers will have the largest support leaving only 4,500 seats for the Thistle fans. It is expected however that Thistle will not sell out their seats as seemingly their supporters don't normally turn out in force for Rangers or Celtic games.
Rangers look to be finding a bit of consistency with back to back wins against Ross County (3-1 away) and Dundee (4-1 at home). Against Dundee we dominated virtually all of the game with Dundee largely unable to get out of their own half. 'Dee though, to be honest, looked a very poor side and Neil McCann could have a real struggle to get this Dundee team off the bottom of the league where they are stranded at the present moment, with only one point from five games. One disappointing thing was the cheap last minute goal we gave away stopping us capping off a competent display with a clean sheet. Wes Foderingham must have been furious with the keystone cops defending in front of him. I'll bet he had a few well chosen words to say in the dressing room.
Pedro said in his press conference that the foreign players are now starting to feel more at home and getting more used to the Scottish culture and that is starting to show in their play. I don't think anyone can argue about Alves, Morelos and Candeias but I am afraid Pena still has a long way to go to prove that he is worthy of wearing the famous blue shirt with five stars above the badge. He did however score his first goal for Rangers on Saturday so hopefully that will be the confidence booster to getting his career on the right track.
Just a few weeks ago we were praying that we would be buying a new 20+ goals a season striker. We were a wee bit peeved and somewhat disappointed that the window shut without any new signings of real note. We were struggling to score with Miller and Herrera looking more industrious than dangerous. Then the boss released El Buffalo - the Columbian nickname of Alfredo Morelos. The striker is not so tall but he gets his nickname because he is as strong as an ox. Morelos has already scored seven goals in eight games. He looks not only a genuine goal scorer but also has a fantastic work rate and is always looking for the chance to set other people up. No doubt in the future he will be given extra attention by the physical marking defenders but up until now it looks like he certainly can handle himself.
Ryan Jack is another player that deserves a special mention on having a super start to the season. The ex-Aberdeen captain has been in excellent form since the first second he walked onto the park in a Rangers shirt. He does not do many fancy things but he does his job quietly and with total productivity. Winning the ball back in the middle of the field and starting the build up for the following attack. Ryan could be a major player this season.
The third player who has been showing fantastic form is Daniel Candeias. His early weighted crosses into the box are a nightmare for defenders. Chris Sutton (sorry again) asked which Rangers players could get into the Celtic team; well, when I see James Forrest running about like a headless chicken and the way Candeias has been playing then Forrest couldn't lace Daniel's boots. His inter-play with Tavernier has also become a large part of our attacking force. I would say all three players mentioned above plus possibly Wes Foderingham and big Bruno would walk into the Celtic team.
Our opponents for the next two games Partick Thistle are third bottom, with also only the one point but with a slightly better goal difference than Dundee and Kilmarnock. This may be a bit of a red herring though if you take it that Thistle have had really close run games against Aberdeen, St Johnstone and Celtic.
They were very unlucky to lose to Aberdeen 4-3 with the winning Dons goal falling in the 84th minute. They should have also got a point against Celtic when referee Andrew Dallas failed to give a stonewall penalty in the dying minutes of the game. That decision certainly made a big difference on how the league placings look at this minute. They say these things even out over a season but we will see how often it happens at such decisive times over the season. Not often I fear - especially if you're Scott Brown who seems infallible in the eyes of the SFA's Compliance Officer.
A special mention does have to be made for the Thistle strike force of Blair Spittal and Kris Doolan. They are sure to give the Rangers defence a tougher time than the Dundee strikers did. Partick Thistle are certainly not the easiest teams to break down so our defence has to keep its concentration levels high - even if we are dominating play as one goal could settle this match. The old saying was 'Firhill for thrills' so lets hope that is true for Rangers and it is not Firhill for spills.
I would like the team to be along the lines below and I have to say my feelings on Kranjcar are pretty well known on our forum. He is just too slow on the left hand side. With Miller also often taking up position on the left then we really need some speed down that side and thus Josh Windass will be getting my vote for the left wing\midfield.
Hopefully when Mr Collum blows his whistle for full-time the mighty 'Gers will be back where they belong: top of the league, even if only for a few hours. It will take a 5-0 win to achieve it though so maybe too much to hope for. I'm sure three points and another solid win will be plenty for most bears!
Possible team (4-4-2):
Discuss this article
Enjoyed this analysis? Disagree entirely? Found a spelling mistake? Whatever your opinion, it's welcome on our popular and friendly message-board.