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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Saturday 5th March 2005, 19:45 at Ibrox.

PREVIEW

We are more or less three quarters of the way through the season now with only 10 matches left to play. On Saturday we have the chance to go 9 points clear of Celtic with a home game against the Highlanders. Celtic travel to Easter Road the following day and could be under a bit of pressure in what is already a tough match if they are trailing by 9 points. First though we must do the business.

Other Fixtures:

05 March 2005, 15:00 Dundee v Livingston
05 March 2005, 15:00 Dunfermline v Hearts
05 March 2005, 15:00 Kilmarnock v Aberdeen
05 March 2005, 15:00 Motherwell v Dundee Utd
06 March 2005, 15:00 Hibernian v Celtic

Code:
[b]SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE TOP SIX
_______________________
           P   W  D  L  F  A   GD Pts
[color=blue]Rangers    28  22 5  1  60 13  47 71[/color]
[color=darkgreen]Celtic     26  21 2  3  56 21  35 65[/color] 
[color=green]Hibs       27  14 5  8  46 36  10 47[/color]
[color=red]Aberdeen   27  12 6  9  29 26   3 42[/color]
[color=darkred]Hearts     27  11 8  8  31 25   6 41[/color] 
[color=darkorange]Motherwell 27  10 5 12  32 34  -2 35[/b][/color]
Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Before the season started Inverness was relegation favourites and showed that form with a 3-0 at Almondvale on the opening day of the season. They have come along way since then and are ever improving. They now look one of the least likely teams in the bottom six to finish bottom and currently sit in 8th place.

Player Manager Craig Brewster has not been in the job long after taking over from John Robertson but is already starting to get some good results. Recently Inverness have been boosted by their return to the Caledonian Stadium after playing the majority of the season at Pittodrie. In the two games they have played since returning home they have won both scoring 5 goals and conceding none. They have also taken points off Rangers this season too.

On their travels though they have struggled winning only 2 games away all season. Their form though has been improving and last night's 3-0 win over Hibs will no doubt be a confidence booster. They will be in good heart coming to Ibrox having already given Rangers two very difficult games this season.

  • 3-0 Hibernian (Home)
  • 1-1 Dundee United (Away)
  • 2-0 Dunfermline (Home)
  • 4-1 Livingston (Away)
  • 1-3 Dundee (Away)
RANGERS

No one in the league has a better home record. Ibrox has been a fortress in the league this season with Rangers winning 13 of their 14 matches, drawing the other one. No one comes close to scoring goals either at home with Rangers scoring 40 goals in those 14 games, the nearest to that is Celtic with 29 goals in 14 games. Rangers also have the best goals against column losing only 6 goals- Hearts and Celtic have conceded 8 goals.

After a great home win against Hibs and a fantastic away win at Celtic Park the performances have dropped a good degree. Although Rangers have taken 6 points from the 2 games since their performances had been alot better previously. First and foremost they must beat Inverness. This will mean killing them off if they take the lead. In the last two games Rangers have almost been caught out by not finishing the job.

  • 2-1 Hearts (Away)
  • 2-1 Kilmarnock (Home)
    [*]2-0 Celtic (Away)
    [*]3-0 Hibernian (Home)
    [*]3-0 Livingston (Home)


HEAD TO HEAD THIS SEASON

Both games have been tight. Hearts actually played a more open attacking game at Ibrox than they did at Tynecastle. That could be due to the change of management though.

SPL, matchday six (19th Sep 2004)
Rangers 1(1)-(0)0 Inverness
Prso 17

SPL, matchday seventeen (5th Dec 2004)
Inverness 0(0)-(0)0 Rangers
Bayne 3, Prso 51

THE TEAM

McLeish is likely to remain with the majority of the team that beat Hearts last night but with one exception. Dado Prso's red card means he'll miss the match and I hope that is not an unlucky omen. Prso is the only Rangers player to score against Inverness this season. :depress:

I'd imagine in will be a straight swap with Stevie Thompson coming in. I'm not sure about the availability of Djordjic, Lovenkrands and Arveladze for this match but doubt any of them would start if they are available. McLeish did say last night that he is thinking of rotating some players to rest them and that Prso was going to be one of these. We may see one or two other changes. Vignal was pants last night so I'd give him a rest for starters. Since Buffel has played constantly since coming McLeish may decide to rest him too to bring in Namouchi or Burke.

I think though Rangers will most likely line-up like this:

----------------Waterreus

---------Kyrgiakos--------Andrews

Ross---------------------------------Ball

---- Ricksen------Fergsuon------Vignal

----------------Buffel

--------------Thompson--------Novo


Prediction: 3-0 to Rangers.


________________________________

RESULT: SPL, matchday twenty-nine (5th Mar 2005)

Rangers 1(0)-(0)1 Inverness


RANGRES TEAM: Waterreus, Ross, Andrews, Kyrgiakos, Vignal, Buffel, Ricksen, Ferguson, Djordjic, Novo, Thompson.

INVERNESS TEAM: Brown, Tokely, Dods, Munro, Golabek, Wilson, Hart, McBain, Duncan, Juanjo, Bayne.
REFEREE: M Ritchie
ATTENDANCE: 49,345

Match Events:

42
Kyrgiakos
53
Malcolm for Djordjic
57
Ferguson
59
McBain
70
Fetai for Wilson
74
Prunty for Bayne
92
Prunty



Code:
[b]SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE TOP SIX
_______________________
           P   W  D  L  F  A   GD Pts
[color=blue]Rangers    29  22 6  1  61 14  47 72[/color]
[color=darkgreen]Celtic     27  22 2  3  59 22  37 68[/color] 
[color=green]Hibs       28  14 5  9  47 39   8 47[/color]
[color=red]Aberdeen   28  13 6  9  30 26   4 45[/color]
[color=darkred]Hearts     28  11 9  8  32 26   6 42[/color] 
[color=darkorange]Motherwell 28  11 5 12  34 34   0 38[/b][/color]
Match:

Firstly I should say that Angle has posted alot of what I feel myself about Rangers on Saturday so I won't repost the same if I can help it.

When you are at home you play the way you want to play. You don't play on the basis of how the opposition will play unless they are a better side. On Saturday Eck changed his formation for the visit of Inverness. In my own opinion although I think we needed to give them respect the manager gave them too much respect. He said he was going for "width". In doing so he brought in a player who was not match fit (Djordjic), dropped a player who had been playing consistently (Ball), moved a player who is prone to giving the ball away from midfield into the last line of defence (Vignal) and played a link man out of position on the wide right (Buffel). Why he did this we can only guess.

----------------Waterreus

Ross---------Kyrgiakos--------Andrews--------Vignal

Buffel---------Ricksen--------Ferguson--------Djordjic

--------------Thompson--------Novo

We started as expected and in the same way as we had in the last two matches. It was uninspiring. Inverness were not interested in attacking and their tactic was to keep Rangers out- fair play to them as they done it effectively. Rangers struggled to carve them open due to the low tempo. When you see sides like Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United break it is at pace with quick balls and everyone pushing forward to support. Rangers on the other hand played the ball about in midfield, allowed Caley to get all their men behind the ball and then tried to break them down. They could have played all day at that tempo and not scored.

Rather than send a message out to pick up the tempo the manager thought a change of tactics would help. It wasn't our usual formation though but a new one. This new one gave Buffel his free role back. That was the plus point. The downside was our top scorer was moved to right wing and Thompson was left to play on his own up front. It was ridiculous and didn't do either Thompson or Novo any favours. It also left us with effectively two in midfield. As you'd expect it had no change on Rangers ability to breakdown Inverness as the tempo was still not quick enough.

----------------Waterreus

Ross------Kyrgiakos-----Andrews-----Vignal

-----------Ricksen--------Ferguson

Novo---- ------Buffel------------Djordjic

----------------Thompson

It stayed that way till half time and into the first 10 minutes of the second half. It took the manager nearly an hour to realise that Djordjic wasn't fit and struggling. With decent options on the bench he decided to bring on Bob Malcolm. No offence to Bob but as far as I can remember he hasn't played since Kyrgiakos arrived so removing someone who was obviously not match fit with someone who hasn't played since January is not a smart move. More worrying though was Rangers were struggling to breakdown Inverness and this was not a change that was going to bring much needed creativity. Burke or at least Alex Rae were better choices. Stevie Thompson was having a stinker too and it should have been time to bring on McCormack who could not have done any worse. It brought about another formation change which to me looked more defensive than any of the previous two.

----------------Waterreus

Ross------Kyrgiakos-----Andrews-----Vignal

----------------Malcolm

----Ricksen------------Ferguson

----------------Buffel

-------Thompson--------Novo

Somehow we got ahead. Bazza lobbed the keeper and we finally got that goal we required. That was just what we were looking for. Now Inverness would have to come out and go for an equaliser and we could capitalise in the spaces they would no doubt leave. We had it one, didn't we?

No. Malcolm dropped further back to sit in front of the back two and protect them. As Inverness came forward their midifeld four found only Ricksen and Ferguson trying to contain them. McLeish stupidly thought 1-0 would be enough and we could play out for that. The ghosts of Auxerre were coming back and obviously those lessons had not been learned. The lessons of the last two games had been ignored too. McLeish didn't freshen up and Brewster did. That was the key. Inverness got the equaliser in injury time and we dropped two points.

We got what we deserved. It was the 1-1 draw at home to Dundee United all over again. It was reminicent of the 2-1 win against Kilmarnock last Saturday and the 2-1 win over Hearts in midweek. If anything it will hopefully be the kick up the arse they have been needing since raising their game to cuff Hibs and Celtic.
 

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I hope the team isn't starting to get edgy already. If we're feeling the pressure at this stage, what will it be like with 2 or 3 matches left? It's all very well scraping victories, but for the sake of team morale we could do with a convincing performance/scoreline.

Prso was needing a rest anyway, so that could be a blessing in disguise, as McLeish certainly wouldn't have dropped him for this match. Thommo will be champing at the bit to make the most of any opportunity he gets, and I think he's still improving all the time. I can see Alex Rae starting this one, maybe for Vignal. I don't know what it is with him, but you never know what performance you'll get. Why the f*** is he on the short-list for player of the year?:googly:

Inverness will make it difficult for us, and I can it being a hard-fought 2-0 win.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
As you said Rae should come in for Vignal. Vignal seems to get to comfy with a run of games. If I remember right it was his panic pass when he had acres of space last night that lead to the Hearts free kick and subsequent goal. When you are playing with 3 in midfield that narrow then you don't need a left footed player on the left hand side so Rae would fit in fine. When Rae came on against Celtic and we had Rae, Ferguson and Ricksen across the midfield we looked more solid.

Hearts done exactly the same as Killie did so McLeish is going to have to look at adopting his tactics. They played a 4-3-3 in possession moving to a 4-5-1 when Rangers had the ball. It meant if Rangers didn't get the ball forward quickly then they had 9 men between them and the goal. Also it meant when Rangers had the ball their 3 man midfield was competing with a 5 man midfield. McLeish will have to look at that.

I don't think though that Rangers are getting edgy from what I've seen so far. They seem to take a lead, miss a load of chances and then slow the game down. At some point they get caught. They got away with it in the last two games but dropped points at home to Dundee United becuase of this. They need to put games beyond doubt. It was amazing how the game changed last night after Hearts equalised. Rangers looked a different side and played like they should have been playing from the start.
 

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While I am dissapointed that Dado is missing, I am pleased Steveie Thomson is getting a chance. The guy never lets us down and when he plays he looks like the best finisher we have.

Vignal had a shocker last night, so I would love to see Rae come back into the team. We need ball winners and determination right now, not fancy-dans who look like they think they are too good to be here.

Ball also looked a bit dodgy I thought, so maybe Vignal will move to LB for the game with Ball getting dropped.

Also wouldn't suprise me if Namouchi started ahead of Buffel, he looked knackered late on last night and didnt have the best of games.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've got a funny feeling this will be one of those games where it will be goalless at half time after a lacklustre performance. In the second half they'll have gotten the hairdryer and play to their potential to go on and win the game.

Whatever McLeish is saying at half-time he needs to say prematch. In saying that I think it's as much down to the players as down to the manager because I've seen them raise their game on a number of occassions now during the match when they've had a shock.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I meant to ask this earlier but have just found the answer anyway. Bajram Fetai is not allowed to play in this match while on loan to Rangers. Glad to hear it. Just imagine if he'd scored and robbed us of points.
 

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chivoexpiatorio said:
I meant to ask this earlier but have just found the answer anyway. Bajram Fetai is not allowed to play in this match while on loan to Rangers. Glad to hear it. Just imagine if he'd scored and robbed us of points.
I was reading a puote from Fetai published in some Inverness paper. He was saying he hoped he could do well against Rangers and stuff like that. I didn't think loan players could play against you.

On the other hand, just think what kind of outcry there would be from certain sections if he was put clean through on goal and missed...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
He obviously didn't realise he was ineligible then. It does make sense though and the same thing happened with Fernandes while loaned out from Celtic to Livi. In the scenario you gave it would be a no win situation for him no matter how he finished.
 

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Aye, we're no edgy at all... :mad: Well done boys :thumbsup: You've just given them all the incentive they need tomorrow. From what i've heard we can't have any complaints. Thought i'd get in early so that I can now go into hiding...
 

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Bet you didn't see that coming. If Wednesday raised questions about Rangers nerve then this result (and the nature of it) has validated them. I am not going to go down the ofter travelled road of denying ICT any plaudits and simply saying your team "bottled it", Inverness have had a terrific season (and seem to have done particularly well against Rangers) and it appears that my pre-season prediction of a 9th place finish may not have done them justice (they could still make top 6).

I'm sure Bryan Prunty scored in injury time away to Celtic last season to deny their unbeaten run and he now has the double and has helped to make the forthcoming Old Firm derby even more special (assuming you recover and don't drop more points beforehand).
 

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Dreadful performance :mad:

That's just ruined my week...we got out of jail against Hearts and then we screw up and throw points away in the next match. :mad:
 

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He's yet to convince completely. So far he's had bad games and good games. I think yesterday was one of his bad ones, but that goes for virtually the whole team.
 

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I've decided to hijack the thread to have a moan. Think i'll start with McLeish. Is he following Advocaat's policy of playing his favourites, regardless of form? Michael Ball has been playing well since January, but McLeish replaced him as soon as he got a chance. I've said it before and i'll continue saying it, Vignal does not convince me. Sure, I was cheering with everyone else the other week, but that goal alone should not guarantee a place in the team weeks later. If he cannot show consistently good form (and that means a big improvement on what we've seen so far) there is no way we should be signing him up in the summer. Unfortunately I think he's one of Eck's favourites and will be offered a contract regardless.

With the score 0-0 in the 2nd-half yesterday, who does McLeish decide to bring on to change the game? Burke? Namouchi? Rae? Naw, enter Boab. How does that add creativity? I know, I know, best passer at the club (my arse). If we were needing more numbers in midfield why wasn't Rae brought on? At least he could shout at players who were underperforming (yes, even eternally loyal Bazza). Imagine getting a bollocking from Boab!

Next up, Stevie Thompson. I've always been a fan of Thompson. I've even thought he doesn't get enough playing time at Ibrox. To be fair to the big man, he never moans about not playing and has patiently waited for his chance. Yesterday he let his chance pass him by. The sort of performance he put in yesterday will be long remembered by McLeish, and he's given him no problem at all with regards to his team selection for the next match.

Finally (I think) Snatcho Novo. His goals record is excellent this season if taken at face value, but he seems to be one of these streaky strikers (can I copyright that?). If the title came down to the last minute of the last game with us needing a goal, would you fancy him to score if one-on-one with the 'keeper? His favourite method of shooting is head down and hit it as quickly as possible.

Rant over. I feel a bit better now.
 
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