After finishing 39 points behind rivals Celtic last season Rangers knew they needed a change at the club if they wanted to really challenge Celtic next season. Especially after Celtic went undefeated last season. Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha, therefore, decided Rangers needed to bring in a lot of new signings to improve the squad. So far the number of new signings this summer is up to eight.
Five of those signings made it into the squad tonight. Fabio Cardoso started at centre-back. Dalcio, who is on loan from Benfica started as a left winger and Ryan Jack, the ex-Aberdeen captain started as one of Rangers’ two holding centre midfielders.
Tonight’s game was not only a chance for five of the eight summer signings to impress. But also a chance for players already signed to the club to fight for their place. Because if so many players are coming in, some have to go as well. Especially the likes of Kenny Miller who needs to fight for the number nine spot against new signings such as Alfredo Morelos who scored 20 goals in 25 games last season.
So, did the new signings impress? Did the old guard fight for their place?
Here are Ranger’s player’s ratings from their 1-0 win over Progres Niederkorn
Wes Foderingham: 7
Niederkorn were clear underdogs tonight having scored just one goal in European games and never actually winning a game. So it’s not surprising that they had very few shots. The few shots they did have were mostly from long range and dealt with well by Foderingham. However, one of their best chances came from a shot inside the box in the 55th minute which the Rangers’ keeper dealt with slightly unconvincingly.
James Tavernier: 8
Tavernier had a very good all round performance. He was a great threat going forward. His attacking threat included several good balls into the Niederkorn box. One of which fell to Kranjcar who really should have converted it.
As far as his defensive performance goes he spent a lot of the game dealing with Karapetyan who was the Luxembourg side’s biggest threat. But Tavernier did make sure he was not too much of a problem.
David Bates: 7
With so many players joining Rangers this summer David Bates looks to be one of the players likely to lose his place. This is largely due to Rangers acquiring the services of Portugal international Bruno Alves. But as Alves was away at the Confederations Cup this was a chance for Bates to fight for his place.
Defensively Bates was also faced with the task of dealing with Karapetyan who was Niederkorn’s most physically imposing player. He like Tavernier did this relatively well.
Bates also had a few chances going forward, both from corners. One in the first half where he miss controlled and skied. One in the second half which he headed straight at the keeper. So, while his defensive work was mostly fine, he may need to working on his ball control and finishing from corners.
Fabio Cardoso: 7
Cardoso was one of three new signings in the Rangers starting XI tonight. He had a relatively quiet night. Especially in the first half when Progres didn’t have a worthwhile shot on target. Overall though he looked solid and looks to be a decent addition to the Rangers side.
Lee Wallace: 7
Lee Wallace linked up very well down the left-hand side with new signing Dalcio. The left back also put a fair few decent crosses into the Niederkorn box.
Wallace got lucky in the second half though when the ball was fired at his arm inside the Rangers penalty box. The ref could have easily given it. Wallace will have to be a bit more careful in the future.
Jason Holt: 6
Holt had a pretty uneventful game. He made some decent passes, most notably to Miller at the start of the second half but Miller shot wide. Also, he put in the odd decent tackle but went relatively unnoticed for the time he was on the pitch. He was subbed off in the 58th minute for Daniel Candeias.
Ryan Jack: 7
The ex-Aberdeen skipper was making his official debut tonight for Rangers. Jack was a workhorse in midfield helping out in defence while also having a few chances and creating a few too. Niederkorn were not the hardest opponents however and Jack will be tested more once the SPL begins.
Niko Kranjcar: 9
Kranjcar was by far the best player on the pitch tonight. He controlled the game, he made excellent long and short passes, he used his skills effectively and most importantly was smart enough to take the quick free kick that resulted in Ranger’s only goal of the evening.
Kranjcar was taken off in the 67th minute and it clearly showed how important he was to Rangers as they had almost no attacking threat when he was not on the pitch.
The Croatian did miss a very easy header in the first half though which is why he juts misses out on a 10/10 rating.
Martyn Waghorn: 5
Waghorn was replaced in the 75th minute by new signing Alfredo Morelos and quite frankly people had forgotten he was on the pitch. He was virtually nonexistent through the game creating very little and having zero shots.
Kenny Miller: 8
Miller was Rangers top scorer last season. Despite that, he now has to fight for his place due to the signing of Morelos who scored 20 goals in 25 games last season. Miller did put up a good fight though. He scored the only goal of the match converting very calmly. Also, he dropped back a lot to help build up play. The number nine maybe should have got his second when Holt set him up in the 47th minute. Overall though, a good performance.
Dalcio was the third new signing starting tonight. From the offset, he showed pace and skill in tonight’s game. The winger worked well with Wallace and Kranjcar when he was on the pitch. He also showed his diversity as he switched to the right wing now and again and was still effective.
Daniel Candeias (58th minute): 7
Showed pace and power as soon as he came on. But he did commit two fouls in first five minutes he was on the pitch. Candeias did try to fill the attacking void Kranjcar had left he had a few shots and tried to get things going. He also set up Bates in the 92nd minute for a header but Bates failed to convert.
Jordan Rossiter (67th minute): 5
Coming on for Kranjcar he had a lot to follow. However, Rossiter did not do so. He did not do much in his time on the pitch and failed to create any real chances.
Alfredo Morelos (75th minute): 5
Morelos replaced Waghorn and much like Waghorn, he did very little while he as on the pitch. Granted he was only on for 15 minutes meaning he had less time to effect the game. Hopefully, when given a bigger chance he can impress then.
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