“Rangers are on a different level now.”
“A Good experience tonight against Rangers – Such a great team.”
“Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up to a good team.”
Good, Great, A different level. These are just some of the compliments coming from the Airdrie camp following last night’s hiding to Mark Warburton’s destructive and dominating Rangers.
Despite a fluent and free-scoring start to the season, the last two matches – away to Ayr and Hibs at Ibrox – haven’t been as convincing as the new gaffer and fans would have liked. On Sunday, for spells in the first half, Hibs looked more likely to score, but didn’t have the cutting edge to capitalize on Rangers sloppy play. Saying that, it was questioned whether Mark Warburton’s Rangers could handle the pressure when the going gets tough, but to their credit, they kept calm and won the match.
Last night was a completely different story. Despite playing a team from a division below, this was the most complete performance of the ‘Weirburton’ era so far. In fact I cant remember the last time we’ve seen a Rangers side control a game in the manner they did last night. Right from the kick-off, the chests were puffed out, the heads were up and after 15 minutes, the match was over.
Gedion Zelalem, making his debut in the midfield, strolled the game like it was an exhibition. The 18-year-old passed the ball with effortless grace and his stunning through ball played in Martyn Waghorn for the third. It’s only one game but this lad will destroy teams in our division, especially at Ibrox. Scott who?
I said at the start of the season that Martyn Waghorn won’t be a 20 goal striker and i’m sticking by that assertion although I thought he was excellent last night. His best position is definitely on the wing – cutting inside and finishing. He was unlucky not to get more than one.
With Miller, McKay, Oduwa and now Waghorn all operating out wide, you have to wonder where David Templeton fits in to this team. Personally I would be looking to move him on.
A third clean sheet in a row for Wes Foderingham is welcome news for the keeper – someone who’s been unfairly criticized along with his defence. Dominic Ball, making only his second start, and Rob Kiernan were steady and solid throughout, although Mohsni would look like Maldini with the midfield being so dominant.
The only one criticism you could engineer from the 90 minutes is that the team became slightly for the first 20 minutes in the second half. Despite not creating as many chances, the team were always in control with Halliday, Shiels and Zelalem dictating the tempo.
Credit must also go to Nicky Clark. Mostly unconvincing last season, it looks like he’s on the right track to rediscovering his prolific touch. The striker has a goal or assist for every 70 minutes he’s played so far this season.
Nathan Oduwa is exactly the type of winger we’ve been missing over the past three seasons. Direct, skillful and enthusiastic to get on the ball, the youngster has really impressed and will only get better as the weeks go on. Him and Zelalem linked up brilliantly in the first half and as Airdrie’s Jamie Bain colorfully described: “Cunts could peg a mermaid.”
Another note to add is our excellent performances so far on artificial surfaces – quite a tunraround from last campaign. Playing on plastic now actually enhances our style of play rather than restrict it. We’ve won both games so far on it, scoring 10 in the process. Hopefully this trend continues against Queen of The South on Sunday.
Seven wins out of Seven.
Twenty-Five goals scored.
Top of the League.
Player Ratings: Foderingham 7, Tavernier 9, Kiernan 7, Ball 7, Wallace 8, Zelalem 8, Halliday 9, Shiels 8, Clark 8, Waghorn 8, Oduwa 8, Subs: Hardie 6, McKay 7.
Possession Watch: The team enjoyed their highest amount of possession of the season so far and after 35 minutes, it was as high as 89% – unbelievable in any football match.
Highlights of last night’s match can be found HERE.