Celtic’s shocking early exit from the Betfred Cup handed Rangers a boost ahead of locking horns with League One side Falkirk. The hectic schedule forced Steven Gerrard to make a few alterations to his starting XI, but the Gers, unlike their bitter rivals, secured a comprehensive 4-0 win in Grangemouth.
Below are the Rangers players rated in their victory against Falkirk.
Jon McLaughlin: 7.5
Was handed a start ahead of Allan McGregor and enjoyed a comfortable time between the sticks. Had one key save to deny Mark Durnan’s header just over the half-hour mark. He had one nervy occasion soon after the break but was spot on once again to stop Blair Alston’s powerful strike midway through the second half.
James Tavernier: 8
Was a bit surprised as skipper Tavernier failed to find the net in the first half! But he was back at it after the break with a volleyed effort from Borna Barisic’s cross. Made way for Greg Stewart with around 20 minutes remaining.
Conor Goldson: 8.5
Helped the Gers to break the deadlock in the early minutes when his long ball fell into the path of Jermain Defoe who made no mistake in finding the back of the net. Was rarely in trouble and dominated the game defensively. A late injury scare made the gaffer anxious, but the Englishman returned to action and completed the game afterwards.
Calvin Bassey: 8
The youngster featured as a centre-half and was focused on his duty except for a few set-pieces from the hosts. Was in the right place at the right time to double the lead when Cedric Itten’s header was denied by Peter Morrison in Falkirk goal but the ball fell favourably into the ex-Leicester City prodigy’s path.
Borna Barisic: 8
The Croatian was impressive once more with his marauding runs, crosses and cut insides. Earned the Bears a 3-0 lead late in the first half when his exquisite free-kick found the top corner beyond Morrison. Assisted Tavernier to make it four and made way for Glenn Middleton five minutes later.
Bongani Zungu: 7.5
The South African professional enjoyed his time on the pitch from the deep-lying midfield role. His composure in the centre of the pitch allowed Arfield to have free movement in and around the Falkirk half. Made way for 16-year-old Leon King with 20 minutes remaining.
Scott Arfield: 7
The versatile Canada international started from a slightly deeper midfield slot but operated more freely in the advanced areas following Kamara’s early introduction replacing injured Barker. Was taken off within 10 minutes into the second half as he made way for 18-year-old Ciaran Dickson.
Ianis Hagi: 6
Had high hopes from the Romanian but he failed to deliver once again despite featuring from his preferred ‘number 10’ role. Worked hard to show his attributes, utilised the space but somehow lacked the end product each time.
Cedric Itten: 7.5
Hit the woodwork in the early seconds and played his part in Zungu’s goal around the half-hour mark. Was indeed impressive and a goal would have justified his contribution this evening.
Brandon Barker: 6.5
Started lively down the left-hand flank but an injury forced him to leave the pitch midway through the first half. Gerrard brought in Kamara to replace the ex-Man City youngster.
Jermain Defoe: 8
The 38-year-old English veteran still has his ‘fox in the box’ attribute. He showed the same while converting Goldson’s long ball and came close to adding more to his tally on several occasions.
Rangers Substitutes Vs Falkirk:
Glen Kamara: 7.5
Composed display from the midfield ace as he not only dominated it centrally but also played his part in the build-ups from the wide.
Glenn Middleton: 6
The forgotten winger was brought into action early into the second half. Did the basics right which, however, are not enough to stake a claim in Gerrard’s immediate plans considering the quality and depth the Light Blues have got.
Ciaran Dickson: 6.5
Almost found the net on his debut soon after coming on replacing Arfield.
Leon King: 6
A massive occasion for the 16-year-old academy starlet who now has a senior appearance to his name.
Greg Stewart: 6
Replaced Tavernier and enjoyed his minutes on the pitch.