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Thomas Jordan Evening Times

 

EMBARRASSING. Disgraceful. Shameful. Diabolical. Just some of the words that could be used to describe Rangers' performance as they crashed out of Europe.

 

However, the biggest criticism you could level at Walter Smith's players is that not enough of them cared.

 

Not enough of them wore the blue jersey with pride.

 

And not enough of them were willing to go the extra mile.

 

 

Yes, they were hurting as they faced up to the prospect of being directly responsible for one of the worst, if not THE worst, result in the Ibrox club's 52-year European history.

 

But, by then, it was too late. How can a team that was playing in the Uefa Cup Final just 84 days ago find themselves not only knocked out, but outplayed and outfought by a team from Lithuania?

 

Kaunas shouldn't have got close to Rangers regardless of whether they were without their two best players in Barry Ferguson and Carlos Cuellar. Or even the fact they are well into their domestic season before Smith's men have even begun theirs.

 

Quite simply, there can be no excuses. Today, the Rangers legions will be selecting their targets and deciding who is to blame. The chairman, David Murray, will be chastised for failing to open his cheque book.

 

Their chief executive, Martin Bain, was forced to run the gauntlet at the end of the match and, as the man who now controls the purse strings, he will also be criticised for failing to fund transfer deals.

 

The manager will have his team selection held respon-sible along with his failure to bring in more new faces.

 

Maybe the three of them can be held to account. But, you know what, none of them come close to the players.

 

Had they found themselves facing a European outfit of genuine quality, then there is not much you can do when playing against better players.

 

However, they were up against guys with a fraction of their ability and with a wage packet that is small change compared to their bulging pay packets.

 

Quite simply, something is far wrong. From front to back, questions will be asked. Goalkeeper Allan McGregor should, on reflection, feel he could have been better at the opening goal when he was beaten from all of 35 yards.

 

He was also extremely fortunate that he wasn't punished when he completely misjudged a Rafael Ledesma free-kick which flew wide of the post.

 

At right-back, Steven Whittaker wasn't even as good as awful. From the first whistle to the last, he constantly gifted possession back to Kaunas and looks like a fish out of water as he struggles to find form.

 

At the heart of the defence Kirk Broadfoot, standing in for the injured Cuellar once again, was steady enough, as was Davie Weir up until he lost Linas Pilibaitis for what turned out to be the winning goal.

 

The 38-year-old has been in the game long enough to know you can have a stormer for 89 minutes of the game, but switch off just once or make a mistake and that's what you are remembered for. At left-back, Sasa Papac was reasonable enough.

 

But, as feared, it was the middle of the park where Rangers struggled the most. Rather than go with just two in the centre, Smith went for three in the engine room at the expense of a second striker.

 

In the holding role was Christian Dailly. Never someone you could accuse of not giving his all, he gave it everything he had but, in a game where Rangers enjoyed a fair share of possession, he was never going to get the ball down and dictate play.

 

It was his lack of control at the end of the game - when he tried to bring the ball down with his chest - which handed Kaunas the corner from which they scored their winning goal. Beside him was Lee McCulloch, who once again allowed the game to pass him by.

 

Kevin Thomson was slightly better, scoring the opening goal but never does he really grab a game by the scruff of the neck and accept the responsibility for being the main man. For all his critics, Ferguson does that on a regular basis.

 

Out wide, Nacho Novo troubled Kaunas with his pace and gave a decent account of himself, although his final ball could have been better at times. On the other flank, Charlie Adam was another who contributed next to nothing. Where has the goal threat he carries gone?

 

And playing the lone striker's role was Kenny Miller. He had another golden opportunity to open his Gers account second time around when he found himself through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat, but tried to chip the ball and missed the target. Not good enough.

 

Andrius Velicka climbed off the bench and missed a great chance with the scoreline locked at 1-1, and Kris Boyd and Kyle Lafferty arrived on the scene with just minutes remaining and far too late to offer anything to the game.

 

Criticism will not go down well.

 

But the 500-odd supporters who spent their night sitting in the pouring rain watching the players go through the motions, offering up a display that wasn't even as good as mediocre, deserve far better and are entitled to vent their fury.

 

As far as Europe goes, Rangers' chance has gone. If this level of performance and result continues during their quest for domestic honours, then it should be the players who should be on their travels - out of Ibrox.

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Thomas Jordan Evening Times

 

EMBARRASSING. Disgraceful. Shameful. Diabolical. Just some of the words that could be used to describe Rangers' performance as they crashed out of Europe.

 

However, the biggest criticism you could level at Walter Smith's players is that not enough of them cared.

 

Not enough of them wore the blue jersey with pride.

 

And not enough of them were willing to go the extra mile.

 

 

Yes, they were hurting as they faced up to the prospect of being directly responsible for one of the worst, if not THE worst, result in the Ibrox club's 52-year European history.

 

But, by then, it was too late. How can a team that was playing in the Uefa Cup Final just 84 days ago find themselves not only knocked out, but outplayed and outfought by a team from Lithuania?

 

Kaunas shouldn't have got close to Rangers regardless of whether they were without their two best players in Barry Ferguson and Carlos Cuellar. Or even the fact they are well into their domestic season before Smith's men have even begun theirs.

 

Quite simply, there can be no excuses. Today, the Rangers legions will be selecting their targets and deciding who is to blame. The chairman, David Murray, will be chastised for failing to open his cheque book.

 

Their chief executive, Martin Bain, was forced to run the gauntlet at the end of the match and, as the man who now controls the purse strings, he will also be criticised for failing to fund transfer deals.

 

The manager will have his team selection held respon-sible along with his failure to bring in more new faces.

 

Maybe the three of them can be held to account. But, you know what, none of them come close to the players.

 

Had they found themselves facing a European outfit of genuine quality, then there is not much you can do when playing against better players.

 

However, they were up against guys with a fraction of their ability and with a wage packet that is small change compared to their bulging pay packets.

 

Quite simply, something is far wrong. From front to back, questions will be asked. Goalkeeper Allan McGregor should, on reflection, feel he could have been better at the opening goal when he was beaten from all of 35 yards.

 

He was also extremely fortunate that he wasn't punished when he completely misjudged a Rafael Ledesma free-kick which flew wide of the post.

 

At right-back, Steven Whittaker wasn't even as good as awful. From the first whistle to the last, he constantly gifted possession back to Kaunas and looks like a fish out of water as he struggles to find form.

 

At the heart of the defence Kirk Broadfoot, standing in for the injured Cuellar once again, was steady enough, as was Davie Weir up until he lost Linas Pilibaitis for what turned out to be the winning goal.

 

The 38-year-old has been in the game long enough to know you can have a stormer for 89 minutes of the game, but switch off just once or make a mistake and that's what you are remembered for. At left-back, Sasa Papac was reasonable enough.

 

But, as feared, it was the middle of the park where Rangers struggled the most. Rather than go with just two in the centre, Smith went for three in the engine room at the expense of a second striker.

 

In the holding role was Christian Dailly. Never someone you could accuse of not giving his all, he gave it everything he had but, in a game where Rangers enjoyed a fair share of possession, he was never going to get the ball down and dictate play.

 

It was his lack of control at the end of the game - when he tried to bring the ball down with his chest - which handed Kaunas the corner from which they scored their winning goal. Beside him was Lee McCulloch, who once again allowed the game to pass him by.

 

Kevin Thomson was slightly better, scoring the opening goal but never does he really grab a game by the scruff of the neck and accept the responsibility for being the main man. For all his critics, Ferguson does that on a regular basis.

 

Out wide, Nacho Novo troubled Kaunas with his pace and gave a decent account of himself, although his final ball could have been better at times. On the other flank, Charlie Adam was another who contributed next to nothing. Where has the goal threat he carries gone?

 

And playing the lone striker's role was Kenny Miller. He had another golden opportunity to open his Gers account second time around when he found himself through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat, but tried to chip the ball and missed the target. Not good enough.

 

Andrius Velicka climbed off the bench and missed a great chance with the scoreline locked at 1-1, and Kris Boyd and Kyle Lafferty arrived on the scene with just minutes remaining and far too late to offer anything to the game.

 

Criticism will not go down well.

 

But the 500-odd supporters who spent their night sitting in the pouring rain watching the players go through the motions, offering up a display that wasn't even as good as mediocre, deserve far better and are entitled to vent their fury.

 

As far as Europe goes, Rangers' chance has gone. If this level of performance and result continues during their quest for domestic honours, then it should be the players who should be on their travels - out of Ibrox.

He could have spend more time focussing on the architect of last night's shambles. How is it that Smith gets off so lightly?

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While WS gets the blame for picking the wrong team,playing the wrong tactics,you would still think the players that did play should be good enough and experienced enough to beat Kaunas

When you think about Smith's role in last night's debacle ........

 

He selects who we sign.

He choses who plays in the team.

He decides the tactics we use.

He is responsible for motivation and discipline.

He is responsible for preparation and fitness.

He is responsible for the selection and actions of the entire backroom staff.

He takes final responsibility for performance and results.

 

I think there are plenty of reasons for laying blame at Smith's door. At least five of the players should just be taken out and shot. You might think five is too few.

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When you think about Smith's role in last night's debacle ........

 

He selects who we sign.

He choses who plays in the team.

He decides the tactics we use.

He is responsible for motivation and discipline.

He is responsible for preparation and fitness.

He is responsible for the selection and actions of the entire backroom staff.

He takes final responsibility for performance and results.

 

I think there are plenty of reasons for laying blame at Smith's door. At least five of the players should just be traken out and shot. You might think five is too few.

 

Not denying Smith gets the blame,just pointing out the fact that the players that did play,should've done better

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Not denying Smith gets the blame,just pointing out the fact that the players that did play,should've done better

Which is why I said their cold dead bodies would already be adorning a spike in George Square if there was any justice still left in this country.

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i dont get why he spends 6m on 3 strikers and only play one up front in an important match and he knows this team are no better than anyone in SPL

 

yes we short of midfielders but why could he not go for the jugular and played a basic 4-3-3 mid of thomson - hemdani and adam then three strikers millar boyd velika or lafferty.

 

i dont get why he plyed 5 in midfield when we are so short. IMO i think he should go his tactics are shocking they have been for the last 2 months of the season, we lost the league beacuse of negative football and euro final.

 

i dont get why we get to a euro final and not go for it, id rather us get beat 2-0 trying to play football other than defending and knowing the result is comming, that how i felt last night i knew as soon as the 451 was announced i knew that it was gonna be a shocking night.

 

also murray should sell the club ASAP if he not intrested in getting us outta this situation he should go along with smith

 

hopefully we get back to winning ways and start playing sum decnt formation other than 451.

 

gonna be another long season lol

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i dont get why he spends 6m on 3 strikers and only play one up front in an important match and he knows this team are no better than anyone in SPL

 

yes we short of midfielders but why could he not go for the jugular and played a basic 4-3-3 mid of thomson - hemdani and adam then three strikers millar boyd velika or lafferty.

 

That is much too sensible....:thup:

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We have several strikers and yet he plays a 9-0-1 formation to win a game that we should have strolled.

 

Yes the players should have been sweating blood to get a win, but instead we had unfit, unprepared, and clearly uninterested players in Blues shirts.

 

 

But I have to be honest, I was fully expecting this kind of result either last night or against Falkirk.

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I'm absolutely gutted :sigh:. That is without a shadow of a doubt the worst performance I've seen from Rangers. We've had our fair share of shockers over the past few years, but that was nothing short of disgraceful. The 4-5-1 was to be expected given that this was a European away tie. That said, against a team of this quality it was by no means necessary. We could easily have afforded to go 4-4-2 / 4-3-3 in this game.

 

Aside from going with the tried and tested 4-5-1, the team selection was simply baffling, especially in midfield. Speaking of tried and tested where was Hemdani?. We played several games last season (even one or two in Europe) without Ferguson. Most of them used a central mid trio of Hemdani, Thomson & Adam / Dailly. This really makes me wonder why McCulloch was in there. Even big Lee seemed to spend the 90 mins asking this same question.

 

Overall, far to many players failed to turn up for this game. It's a huge disappointment, but we can't afford to dwell or over-react. We now have to concentrate on the SPL and in a way, going a season without the distraction of European football could turn out to be a blessing on this front. Hopefully this upset can serve as a wake up call to all those responsible be it in the boardroom, coaching or playing staff.

 

How they faired (marks out of 10)

 

McGregor - Made a couple of decent saves, but also had a few hairy moments. Should have done better with first goal. 5

 

Whittaker - Distribution was poor throughout. Caught out of position several times. Capable of much better than this. 4

 

Broadfoot - He's a trier, but we clearly missed Cuellar big time in this game 4

 

Weir - Failed to provide his usual calming influence to the defence, nevermind the rest of the team. Not the right sort of character to wear the armband IMO. 4

 

Papac - Had a decent enough game. Contributed well going forward, including a late run to set up Vellicka for what should have been a goal. Was drawn out of position for the winner however. 5

 

Novo - Not utilised enough in a game where his pace was clearly causing problems. Put in the sort of shift we expect from the wee man. Did well to set up Thomson for the goal. 7

 

McCulloch - Was he even playing? Out of position, out of sorts, useless 0

 

Dailly - Looked amateurish throughout. Tried to get forward ..Why? Gave away soft corner through nothing more than poor ball control for the winner. 2

 

Thomson - Scored his first European goal for Rangers. Not a game he'll want to remember though. Failed to stamp his authority in midfield as much as he might as well have been in there on his own. 5

 

Adam - Even by his standards this was a poor showing. Not our worst midfielder on the night, but that's not saying much 2

 

Miller - Ran about like a headless chicken, missed what opportunities came his way. Need I say more? 3

 

Subs - Vellicka - Missed a sitter. Didn't have much of a chance to do anything else 3 , Boyd & Lafferty An afterthought when both should probably have started ?

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