Match Thread Rangers v FK Shkupi - 19:45 Thursday 12th - BT Sports

Somebody said earlier in this thread that we've got a lot of spectators but not many supporters. I can't really disagree with that. The jeering when Ejaria played a ball back to Goldson because there was nothing on ahead of him was ridiculous.

Our support is fragile at the moment and rightly so. We know it's been tough and we have seen these sort of games and their eventual outcomes many times before over the past few years
We all know we want the team to be successful but far too often they have let us down.
Belief comes from seeing the team take care of business and trust is earned.
It's going to take a good bit of work off of this team before the fans are relaxed and confident that the team can get through these tricky games.
Our numbers and support have been amazing and we deserve the good times to come!
Lot of work to be done, but that's known by all. Players still to come in as well.

+ First competitive game and we got the result.
+ Windass worked the hardest I've seen him play in the jersey
+ Middleton looks a find
+ Arfield good
+ Goldson looking fantastic
+ Flanagan looking solid even though it's not his natural position
+ 51,000 crowd

- Morelos again doing almost everything else right other than scoring.
- Little urgency to push forward fast in second half until Middleton came on
- Killer touch needs worked on
- Communication in the final third needs worked on.
People were expecting 6 or 7 on the prediction thread and the same people are disappointed tonight. Their dissatisfaction is their own fault, purely because they place unrealistic expectations on a game and are gutted when things are not perfect. We played a well drilled but limited side tonight who are into their domestic season already, who are ahead in fitness and who are not learning a whole new system.

Things were not great by any stretch but we did not look, at any single point, like we would concede, we did not look under any pressure and we did not look like we were at anything like full steam. We looked every inch the team that was trying to learn how to play a system that most are unfamiliar with. At our absolute worst tonight we were not looking like conceding and every negative is to do with how we convert chances and possession.

Watching that, I come away thinking it was far from great but the basics are there, we are solid at the back and zero improvement will see a whole load on 1-0 wins.

Again, anyone seriously worried after that is not someone who is capable of taking all the factors into consideration and therefore, not someone who anyone should really be listening to about football anyway.

Solid performance that had a huge amount of rough edges but that was clearly a step towards the goal rather than a side playing at the upper limit of their capabilities.

DC Anchor

Well-Known Member
Amazing how even a team like that are really comfortable on the ball when we were the exact opposite, we still have a lot of players that won’t win us the title.
First competitive game I know but wasn’t impressed by that at all, especially middle to front.
all day long and there is only one way to change that.
we need more quality players.
expecting last years team, a few loan signings and a couple of good buys to challenge is not serious.
Nothing beats quality and that will cost


Well-Known Member
It wasn’t great, but it’s first game with a new team so hopefully will get better.

Work to be done though, I think both in the market and with the existing group. Don’t like two right footed players on the left. Tonight I think Declan John would have been a better option to attack a team who were always going to sit in.

Murphy I think should be behind the striker, again I’m never convinced by him on the left. Windass was awful and I think would be lucky to start Tuesday.

Candeias also either plays wide right or not at all for me, he does nothing for me in midfield.

Any money left should be spent on a playmaker in midfield, a left sided wide man, and another striker. Middleton and Ejaria done well when they came on, Middleton will need time but is a great option to throw on.

Finally if we got decent offers for Windass and Morelos I would now let them go.


Well-Known Member
I thought jack, ejaria and Middleton looked good . Windass is so frustrating I feel for him but I’m starting to think a bid of over 3 or 4 and I’d sell . It’s a shame he has talent .

I just wanted that second goal and we got it in the end thankfully .


Well-Known Member
It'll take time for the players to gel and get used to playing at Ibrox. Cut them some slack. That wasn't a bad team they were playing against either, they were comfortable on the ball and knew what they were doing. I think we'll score over there, they need to come out and attack us and we have the counter attack to hurt them.
I don’t think Arfield, Candeias and McCrorie is going to work behind a front 3 who can’t really make chances for themselves. If it’s 4-3-3 I’d go 2 holding with someone in behind the front 3. I don’t think we have that player yet though and hopefully he’s next on the list!


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It was the same faces that were the concern tonight. Wayward passes, poor choices and poor finishing. I don't think it'll be long before big sadiq and coulibaly will be in the team.

Some players can be gash in training and superb come game time like Mark Hughes. Seems we have the complete opposite with Windass.

I'd be benching alfie and candias, and we defo need another striker.


Well-Known Member
We won and we will the return game also, we were poor tonight but during parts in the first half we looked no too bad lets see what happens within 8/12 weeks


Active Member
SG has some work to do for sure. Deja vu watching that second half. Poor finishing, giving away too many free kicks and making nothing out of the many corners we got. Individually the opposition players looked more skilful on the ball than we were at times. We put in a lot of hard work and deserved the win but needs a lot of polishing. Some cool heads required in the away leg.


Well-Known Member
Good to get the result, should have been better but we are not far off looking improved all over.

Still struggling after the break which is concerning.

Flanagan looked solid, Goldson and Katic look the part and Arfield plays how I expected Dorrans to.

Middleton was brilliant and should definitely start the second leg!

A little frustrating but It's a good start to a new season.
The manager will go through a gallon of Grecian 2000 a week if we keep missing chances and making the wrong choices like we did tonight.

However, on the positive side, we looked quite mobile and got up the park with a decent pace at times.

The move down the right hand side, which led to the opener for instance.

Id say we are a work in progress, but after last season's shambles, let's just get what potentially is a tricky second leg out of the road.
Satisfactory performance like Gerrard said. But a clean sheet and two goal lead should mean they open up a bit more for us in the second leg. Seemed to be a lot of white shirts in the box when we were near it.

Middleton looks good. Hopefully he gets more game time


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Bears, it might not have been pretty and SG will have food for thought, but the most important thing could be the nil. I know it might sound silly, but not conceding at home in Europe can be massive. The jobs only half done, however, and SG will know this, they have to be more open at their place now which will leave gaps. I would expect the team to be set up for quick counter attacking for the away tie.
I don't even think the taigs mention sands as much as our support does.
Very frustrating.

Positives were the defence (although not really tested) looked solid and comfortable on the ball.

I thought Middleton and the loan signing from Liverpool looked good in the middle.

Windass was frustrating as ever and Morelos was hopeless.

A lot of the anxiety could have been taken out of that if our striker could show a bit of composure in front of goal.

tottie beck

Well-Known Member
So glad of that second goal. It wont be easy in Macedonia next week, but the 2nd gives us a bit more breathing space this year. First half we were decent without being outstanding. I can put that down to rustiness, but the second half was a shit show and too much like last year for my liking
As many have said the defence looked really solid tonight. That’s what we have been desperate for since the final year under Walter.

Midfield started well but our high press fell away until the subs came on. Middleton was excellent when he came on.

Our lack of strikers really hurt us. Morelos is a great link up player but we need a finisher desperately.

Overall a decent start - will be interested to see how we do in the heat on Tuesday where they will probably come out and attack.


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I reckon the midfield needs to gel/get others in it but get Candeias back on the right instead of Windass and i think the team will be fine. Saying we got away with one is overkill to me
Maybe taken what I meant out of context slightly mate. I mean score line wise with the late pen we’ve got away with one. 1-0 and I wouldn’t have been comfortable going there at all!
Gerrard's first competitive game, the squads third game together (TNS and Bury prior to tonight), new starters in McGregor, Flanagan, Katić, Goldson, Arfield. Ejaria and Middleton getting game time.

Two goals a clean sheet, numerous chances created and missed - another day and it's 5, 6, 7...

It's the 12th of July, 9/10 new signings, first proper match, not match fit or sharp. Time to lower our expectations. At this stage we aren't going to be at our best - people expecting a Jurgen Klopp high and aggressive press for 90 minutes are kidding themselves.

Glaringly obvious what's needed; quality out wide and attack. Morelos, Windass, Murphy and Candeias are good squad players, I don't believe any of them are good enough to be starting every match.

It won't won't take Steven Gerrard long to work some of them out. Quality is required in vital areas of the park.

Jaws II

Well-Known Member
That midfield and attack was just not good enough and at times was like last year. Only when Middleton and Ejaria came on did we run at them.
I have lost all patience with Windass and Candieas. Don’t know how Tav was MOM I thought apart from the pen he was guilty of giving possession away and still making defensive mistakes.
Good news is defence looks solid and SG will now know how lacking the midfield and attack is.
oh well try not to be to positive considering its the first game :rolleyes:
Mate, as you're well aware these two matches are vital, we go out and it would be an absolute disaster.

We were excellent in the first have from back to front, although the strikers didn't click. We came away with a single goal at HT.

The second half was an absolute shambles. The MF fell right out of it, completely, we scraped chances though, but the strikers again didn't click. Had they scored, we'd have been in a bad place.

Morelos tonight picked up where he left off, I hope he improves, I really do. But to me he looks half arsed in the box, or trying too hard. Either way, it's not good enough imo.
Brutal, same as last season witnout the good bits.

Windass and AM have to be sold.

2 right footed players playing on the left was school boy error from manager.

Same players that failed last year still doing the same stuff.


Well-Known Member
I didn't want to be saying this at the end of the game ... but we need to convert more of our many chances into goals. Warburton's team, too wasteful in front of goal, Pedro's team, too wasteful in front of goal, Murty's team, too wasteful in front of goal. Don't let it be your team too Stevie G! It's only the first competitive match, so I'm not going to worry right away, but it's going to nag away in my mind.
There's probably going to be more options up front joining before the window shuts. Big Sadiq hasn't played yet. Hopefully we'll get lucky and finally get someone who is ruthless in front of goal.
Or it could just be we just need a few more games to settle down. But hopefully if it is, not too many more.
Not his, our collective poor performance.

Also he is still a honking defender and still shown in this game and will see us exposed in critical games this season due to his eagerness to attack
I did particularly see one incident early, when they broke possibly for the first time maybe when they hit the bar, and there was a large vacant space where a right back should have been.
There are very few mugs competing these days. Teams are organised away from home. We take a 2-0 lead with us. The manager can now do some serious analysis having seen a competitive 90 minutes and has enough experience and nous to assess what’s now needed.

Let’s just look on the positive aspects and assume the manager will know how to improve on the negatives.

Sometimes you can learn more in a game like tonight’s than by thrashing some team which can often paper over the cracks.