The new Rangers keeper had an unconvincing debut between the sticks, narrowly surviving a few errors which were not punished by Hibs. There is also cause to say he should have saved Sam Stanton’s opener as it seemed to go through him too easily. It will take time for the new keeper to adjust to the Warburton system of playing from the back. You can see he is keen to “lump” the ball on occasions but has obviously been told not to by the manager. At times his distribution was very quick and a risky pass from the back led to Danny Wilson assisting Waghorn’s second.
The former Wigan man already looks to be a quality signing. He looked strong from the kick off and his tweet saying “Heart & Passion” efficiently sums up his performance. His link up play with Barrie McKay looks promising and he looks a threat going forward. At the time of his signing fans were excited by the prospect of a free kick specialist. On this occasion, the YouTube searches proved to be accurate. His stunning strike pulled the team out a whole after a poor opening 40 minutes. His turn and pass to Holt before the second goal opened up the Hibs defence for the first time in the match.
Always looked to organise and build from the back. The first 30 minutes were poor defensively and Wilson’s relationship with Robbie Kiernan will need time to bed in. Despite this he always looked commanding. His 40 yard pass for Rangers third was very impressive and this kind of ball playing from the back is exactly what Warburton will demand. He really should have no problems strolling this division again like he did last term with Hearts. Looks the natural choice for Vice-Captain and unlucky not to chosen as skipper himself.
Rangers have been looking for a no-nonsense centre half for a while. Zaliukas was a hit and miss towards the end of last season but it looks as though Rob Kiernan will be at least twice the player. Kiernan will know that last year’s player of the year Darren McGregor will be breathing down his neck for his place back so will have to do better than the opening 30 minutes if he’s to keep his place. Hibs first goal came as a result of Kiernan not shutting down the ball early enough although the midfield left them too exposed. Looking forward to see his partnership with Wilson developing.
His first game as Rangers skipper couldn’t have been better. Putting six past his old rivals Hibs on their patch will have been a warm welcome for Wallace who has stuck with the club through thin and thin. Questions will be asked if Wallace is leadership quality in the dressing room but on the park he looks to be on the road to being the player we all know and love. If he can cut out losing the ball cheaply and continue to work on his attacking game, there’s no reason he can’t excel under the new regime. France 2016?
An understated but effective performance from the former Hearts midfielder makes his 65k development fee look a bargain at this stage. Good link up play going forward and a strong passer of the football, Holt looks as if he will be an important addition to the squad. Holt’s persistence in the final third paid off when he was brought down on the edge of the box, unlucky not to get a penalty, before Tavernier’s stunning free kick. Minutes later he found himself forward again, this time providing a neat cutback for Waghorn to tap the ball home. Although he may not get the attention of Halliday, Holt looks to be an energetic and positive player.
The enigma that is Nicky Law starts his third season for the club in a system that should suit him down to a tee. Warburton’s attacking style should help accommodate Law’s willingness to push forward and attack. Another who started the game poorly but grew into it as the match progressed. He was unlucky with a right foot drive in the second half and kept the ball better towards the end. There will be no room for error for the Englishmen this season with a certain Hibs midfielder eying up his spot.
A key attribute missing from Rangers recently is the ability to respond. In the 62nd minute, the energetic Andy Halliday rather carelessly brought down Jason Cummings in the box, giving Hibs a lifeline and making the score 3-2. In recent times, our players who made mistakes would focus on not making another instead of actually atoning for the error. Cue Andy Halliday. Just over a minute later, the midfielder finds the ball around 25 yards out, looks up and dips a stunning left foot goal past the Hibs keeper to celebrate in Eric Cantona fashion. This man was born to play for Rangers.
Another player who should benefit from the 4-3-3 system under Warburton. Started the game brightly, looking to take on his man and always available for the ball – something he hasn’t done for the last 2 years. Despite a promising start, he did fall away and again his final ball let him down. The manager’s decision to sub him for Kenny Miller was fully justified and the winger will have to up his game if he wants a sustained run in the team.
After being sent out on loan, now is the time for Barrie McKay to finally flourish as a Rangers player. Having scored the first goal of “the journey” away to Peterhead, McKay will be looking to contribute more to the journeys completion. During the game I tweeted that if McKay could develop his final ball, he could be a cracking player for us. Seconds after the send button was pressed, the wee man leaves his marker for dead and sends a lovely cross for Kenny Miller to make it 6. Some skillfull touches in the first half and some good running in the second along with the assist.
Hibs must already be sick of our new signing, and the league hasn’t even started yet. Two goals for Wigan in a pre-season friendly followed by another on Saturday, Alan Stubbs won’t be looking forward to facing him another 4 times. A lot (including myself) have questioned whether Waghorn is the man to fire us 20 goals a season, but he couldn’t have got off to a better start. It’s so important for strikers to get a debut goal. His running and constant pressing was very impressive and looks to be a shrewd buy from the new gaffer.
Never doubt this man. Seriously. Despite his age and injury problems, he’ll always turn up for us in the big matches. His experience on and off the park will be vital for this young squad. Although he might not be first pick every week, he’ll be great to use from the bench where he can take advantage of tiring opposition like on Saturday with his two poachers finishes.
Every Rangers fan wants Nicky Clark to be a success at Rangers. Despite a mixed career with us so far, this is a make or break season for the striker. An inspired substitution saw Clark come of the bench to set up Kenny Miller with his first touch. A sublime cross was acknowledged by Miller in the celebration and rightly so.
Another who has to prove himself this year Shiels can be used in almost any position within this system and Warburton was full of praise for his half an hour performance. He’s a player who will never hide and on Saturday was a good injection into the midfield.