That’s the key word to summarise our disappointing draw with bottom of the league Alloa on Saturday. When the extremely attacking line up was announced, you would put your money on us getting at least 3 or 4 but were restricted to just the one. In our previous 2 meetings with the wasps, we’ve scored 9 and conceded just the once. The first game we were even accused of being “Disrespectful” for showboating. When you compare that 5-1 victory earliar in the season to Saturday’s match, it makes for interesting reading.
Alloa 1-5 Rangers [August 2015]
Alloa 1-1 Rangers [February 2016]
In terms of possession, we controlled the game in the same manner, seeing 71% of the ball on each occasion. On Saturday, we took 7 more shots than in August and achieved 2 more on target. We also created a staggering 23 corners compared to just 7 last year. Rangers have lacked a clinical edge in recent weeks, scoring only 4 goals in our last 4 competitive matches.
Clinical is the key word here, and again we can compare the 2 matches from the Indodrill Stadium. Of our 8 shots on target in August, 5 of them resulted in goals – a 62% conversation rate. At the weekend, our conversation rate from shots on goal was 10%. The same comparison can also be made with regards to shots overall – 2015 [28%] vs 2016 [4%].
We actually played well on Saturday.
At no point in the game did it look at all like we weren’t going to score. We took a shot every 3 minutes and Scott Gallagher had an impressive 90 minutes. As the minutes went by, it looked only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken. Nobody could have predicted it coming from the home side. After getting 23 corners, ironically it was them who took advantage of theirs. Only a couple of weeks ago in Dumbarton, everything we touched ended up in the back of the net. Saturday was just one of those days. Comparisons have been made to managers of the past who also struggled against Alloa. It’s one thing to not beat Alloa, but it’s another DESERVING not to beat them. I don’t think anyone will accuse us of the later.
Defensively Rob Kiernan was excellent again, winning everything in the air. He really is growing in confidence and stature at the club and looks every bit the Premiership footballer. Wilson is also improving but his distribution needs some work. Tav and Wallace bombed forward as usual – both sloppy in possession at times. James Tavernier provided the goal again – that’s 3 assists in his last three league matches. His importance to the squad is undeniable.
The return of Jason Holt was refreshing to see. He looked the most likely from the middle to breakthrough the defensive but his finishing was untypically poor.Was surprised to see him subbed. Harry Forrester enjoyed his first start and it was obvious he was keen to impress. He gets in great positions but has yet to show any prowess in front of goal. McKay was his usual self, but at times needs to take on his man more. Halliday’s shooting was particularly wasteful and should look for the pass more.
It was great to see Michael O’Halloran score on his first start for the club. It could prove to be a valuable point in the run in and he proved his value immediately. Despite a muted first half, the winger really came into his own in the second half and looked a lot more direct and pacey. King was also dangerous when he came on.
The problem with Waghorn.
Every striker has blips. Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane have both gone 6 games without a goal this campaign. If anyone is allowed a blip for us then surely its Waggy. He is currently on his longest run of games  without scoring since joining in the summer. Its not through a lack of trying. The league’s top scorer has scored 27 times in 33 games, therefore any significant period where he fails to score is obviously surprising. He is still getting into the right positions but the shots just are not coming off for him.
Kenny Miller must have felt slightly disappointed to be left out at the weekend given his prolific form, buts it’s likely he’ll start against Kilmarnock. Warburton now faces the classic dilemma of stick or twist. Does he stick with the out of form player or does he stick with him and hope he recaptures the magic in time for the title run in. Personally i’d stick with him. Putting an out of form striker on the bench wil only make things worse.
Let off the hook.
It’s acknowledged that Hibs are “flying high” at the moment which is actually not entirely the case when you look at their current form. Alan Stubbs’ side have only won 3 of their previous 7 league matches with 2 of those victories being by a solitary goal. Of their last 9 league wins, 7 of those have seen the Easter Road side win by a argin of one goal. It goes to show that they are having to fight hard for points, as are we. They have the chance to narrow the gap to 5 points on Saturday, playing Alloa in the early kick off before we take on Queen of the South. If either us or Hibs progress tomorrow night, our potentially title deciding match at Easter Road will moved to 3 games until the end of the season – perhaps working in our favor.
So it’s Rugby Park tomorrow night against Kilmarnock who have today appointed Lee Clark as their new permanent manager. Every team gets a lift when a new boss arrives but we have to bounce back from Saturday. Over 8’000 away fans are expected and the team have to be up for it. Eventually all these chances are going to go in and we’ll begin hammering teams again – hopefully starting tommorow.