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Rangers striker Dean Shiels: I've not hit top form

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Rangers striker Dean Shiels: I've not hit top form but I can still make an impact ahead of crunch game against Hearts


Jan 11, 2015 09:20

By Scott McDermott


THE Northern Irishman has achieved a fine goals-to-minutes ratio while playing for Rangers - but that can't disguise the fact he's been on the periphery at Ibrox for too long.

Willie Vass

Dean Shiels is desperate to face his old rivals Hearts on Friday night


ONLY Dean Shiels knows why he’s failed to perform at his best in a Rangers shirt.


But among the endless list of peculiarities that have engulfed the club in recent years – his failure to replicate the form he showed before he arrived, is right up there.


Shiels has become an Ibrox enigma. Granted, he’s not the only one, with the likes of Ian Black and David Templeton two more drastic underachievers.


So why has Shiels struggled so badly since signing on a four-year deal from Kilmarnock in 2012?


After all, when Ally McCoist brought him to Rangers he was an SPL Player of the Year candidate.


A Northern Ireland international who was one of the top-flight’s most creative players.


In the lower leagues, he should have been the perfect signing for Gers in terms of opening up part-time defences and conjuring up killer passes.


But it hasn’t happened.


Shiels rightly points out his goals-to-minutes ratio at Ibrox is actually pretty good – he’s scored once in every 2.5 appearances – but he’s been on the periphery at Rangers for too long.


Injuries haven’t helped and a rigid 4-4-2 formation, preferred by McCoist and current stand-in Kenny McDowall, has also been a contributing factor.


Shiels knows his return hasn’t been good enough. And despite not starting any of McDowall’s first three games in charge, he’s desperate to play his part before the end of the campaign.


When it was put to Shiels that the likes of himself, Black and even Kris Boyd seem to have fallen into a “black hole” at Gers, the 29-year-old said: “I’d have to agree with that, we haven’t hit the heights.


“Even look at Templeton and a lot of other players here. We have to be big enough to say we haven’t been good enough.


“I’m only two years older than the guy who arrived here from Kilmarnock so I’d like to think I’m the same player.


“I don’t think there’s much difference in my play but obviously everything is different, the club and the set-up.


“I know I haven’t played enough this season but I want to rectify that by working hard on the training pitch.


“I want to turn it round. I’m keen to do my best for Rangers and want to start games. I’ve contributed bits and pieces when I’ve come in or started but every player wants to play all the time.


“I don’t want to go into it too much, but certain things have dictated my form at Rangers.


“But I’ll be ready when I’m picked. I’m not sure if the change in manager will make a difference to me. My minutes to goals ratio was actually the best in League One last year and it’s been quite good this season too.


“But every opponent is differentand if the manager feels not starting me is better for the team I have to be unselfish and accept that. I’ll just try to contribute, whether it’s for 10 minutes or 90, whenever I’m called on.”


Shiels’ lack of game-time has led to rumours of him leaving Rangers but he’s adamant he doesn’t want a move in the January window.


He said: “It’s an open market right now and there’s talk of players leaving.


“But my only focus is getting into the starting team for Rangers. I’m not looking to leave the club.


“You’ve got to believe in yourself or no-one else will. That comes from being mentally strong, even if you’re in, out, in and out.


“If you get five games in a row it helps but it’s out of my hands.


“Of course, it’s been frustrating but I have to be professional and work hard. I work as hard as anyone here in training. When I’m selected, I contribute.


“All I’m concentrating on is getting Rangers back to the top tier. It’s what I aimed to do when I got here – and it’s what I still intend to do.”


Shiels – who never featured in the 1-0 win over Alloa yesterday – is desperate to be involved against league leaders Hearts on Friday night, as McDowall’s men attempt to claw back the Jambos’ lead at the top.


His record for Hibs makes him an unpopular figure down Gorgie way and Shiels would love his notoriety to continue at Ibrox. He said: “I’ve never been popular with Hearts fans as I like to remind Blackie and Lee Wallace.


“I scored four or five against them and hit the winner in a derby that got us into Europe under Tony Mowbray.


“Obviously, this is a must-win game on Friday and we believe we can do it.


“We know how important it is and if we win it’ll be interesting to see how they react. There’s a long way to go.

“We have to keep believing because leads like Hearts’ have been blown before.”


Dean I hope you do let us see what you can really do because up until now it is disappointing.

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How many minutes has Shiels had instead of Miller, Daly, and Boyd. Our main strikeforce has not hit the 5 goal mark in league games this season, and both Clark and Shiels should be given a chance ahead of those. In fact, I'd drop Law instead of Shiels or Miller, not least since the latter is more or less running our attacking midfield rather than being a striker. For there is hardly any support coming from midfield these days.

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Must admit I wouldn't call Shiels a striker, more like someone who would play behind the strikers.That said I'd play him left MF instead of Steven Smith.




We played a friendly playing 4-2-3-1, and IIRC Shiels was playing behind a striker with Clark right and someone else wide left and we looked great. The football was fluid and everything looked promising. Ally then reverted to the 4-4-2 formation and we all know what happened with that.


Shiels is not a striker and we don't play to his strengths.

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