The negative stuff can be done first. If we didn’t know we were up against Rangers yesterday and we weighed up our chances against theirs, we would be very disappointed not to have won, never mind taken a point. We had enough chances to win the game comfortably but again our shooting boots were left in the dressing room and we conceded yet another stupid goal to cost us the game.
However, we were all negative enough after last week so we should focus on some much needed positives. The attitude was spot on once again and we hassled and harried Rangers from the very beginning. We did play some long balls but they were into good areas and the excellent running of Scott McDonald meant this was a tactic well used. We managed to keep arch nemesis Kris Boyd utterly silent and even the pace of Buffel and Lovenkrands didn’t cause us too many problems. The only time we looked under threat was at set pieces – but we’ll discuss that later!
We made a pleasing number of good chances and at times the ball seemed destined to avoid landing at a Motherwell foot in the Rangers box. When the team play against superior opponents and make the better chances it is hard to be too critical – but we lost a game similar to this against
All of which brings us to the constructive criticism. With Clarkson out for a while is clear we need another striker. The kids are on the bench but it is now obvious that Butcher has little intention of throwing them on. A young attacker could have been given a run in the last five minutes yesterday in place of a defender as we chased the game but Terry chose to keep the formation the same – Rangers spent the last five minutes more comfortably than almost any other period in the game. Secondly, we have to sign more height. How many games have we lost this season due to the inability to clear our box? Lovenkrands should have been marked better at the goal but Rangers had won three headers before that. The height of their centre halves and Boyd meant we were always under pressure from set pieces. And similarly, we had lots of set pieces ourselves but they were routinely cleared away. This was the same at Livi where we threatened with none of our fourteen corners simply because every other team has a significant aerial advantage over us.
So, there is the good, the bad and the room for improvement. Celtic are a much better side than Rangers at the minute and they will cause us more defensive problems. However, their defence is far from solid either and with the same attitude and a bit more luck we can hope to take points next week. Fingers crossed!