January 27, 2023
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Is this group of players ready to fight to prove they are worthy to play for the Rangers?

You better beal-ive him.

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Rangers’ John Lundstram scores his team’s first goal of the game during a Premier League match at the Global Energy Stadium in Dingwall, Scotland. Photo date: Friday, December 23, 2022. Photo by PA. See the history of PA FOOTBALL Ross County. Photo credit should read: Trevor Martin/PA Wire. LIMITATIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use […]1 credit
John Lundstram celebrating a Rangers goal against Ross County.

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John Lundstram celebrating a Rangers goal against Ross County.Credit: Willy Wass

After receiving a call from their new manager to show they should be part of his plans for the future, the Gers stars battled illness, fatigue and injury to beat Ross County to cut Celtic’s lead to six.

Boss Michael Beal admitted that his players ran for nothing after grueling games with Hibs and Aberdeen before facing Staggy just eight days later.

And despite the bug that swept through his team, they had enough to score nine points out of nine since the restart – and move to Motherwell next week.

At such moments, not only cunning is important, but also courage.

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This competition in the Highlands didn’t have the high scores, tension or late drama of the previous two games, but the Rangers still had to endure a couple of first-half scares before John Lundstram gave them the lead.

There is still a fragility in them that they will have to eradicate – ideally before they face rivals Celtic on January 2 – but honing their games should help with that.

This season promises to be a long one for County, and a resurgence should begin soon. Undoubtedly, Malky McKay has added interesting players this season, but they need to gain experience quickly.

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Beal was without Allan McGregor, who was unable to play due to illness, so John McLaughlin returned.

Ben Davies was recalled to the field along with Connor Goldson, rekindling a partnership not seen since the 7-1 win against Liverpool in October.

Alfredo Morelos dropped to the bench with Fashion Sakala in front in the absence of a battered Antonio Colac.

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County brought influential midfielder Ross Callachan back to their team after suffering an injury, but he started on the bench.

The Rangers quickly identified diagonal balls across the field for Adam Devine, allowing him to take advantage of the space left by Owura Edwards to attack cornerback Connor Randall, which was a prolific offensive method.

And that was what they were trying to use all night.

Just three minutes later, a swirling pass from Lundstram, who, after dropping the ball, appeared as an additional centre-back, sent the young left-back running behind.

His ball back at Tillman was good, he asked for a shot, but the American attacker’s shot hit the first defender, so he spun wide.

Again and again, the Gers looked for a way to open up County by putting pressure on the backline, switching the game from positions deep in their own half.

At 18 minutes, another run down the flank by Devine should have paid off, but the Rangers hesitated too long and let County off the hook.

Davis’ ball into the hole left by Edwards, whose lack of tracking back left the defense completely exposed, sent the youngster away, but despite picking Sakala with a floundering home defense, he wanted too many touches, so County rebounded.

The Staggs didn’t offer much up front, but out of nothing they created a superb chance for George Harmon at the back post, and Edwards showed a different side of his game.

He first took up a good space high above the field and then tried to score.

It was blocked but landed on Tilson, who spotted a teammate lurking and landed him a great deep cross.

He met him well enough, hitting the ball head-down from six yards at a sharp angle, but McLaughlin saved the day by putting his foot in the way.

This gave County confidence, and two minutes later they had to open an account.

Gers’ defense couldn’t handle Edwards’ pace down the right, leaving Davies to die, but he overtook him, meaning his corner shot went straight past the goaltender’s far right post.

But, as is often the case in these games, the cost of extravagance was high as the Rangers took the lead in the 35th minute and it was not undeserved.

This time the play went down the right rather than left as Sakala rushed forward before making a square pass to Lundstram 20 yards from goal.

County’s defense was so deep that a scouser could fly into a huge hole, and when Ross Laidlaw’s goal was open, he chose a spot to the left of the goalkeeper to open the scoring.

And the lead was to be doubled ten minutes into the break after a superb defensive splitter from Lundstram to Devine, who crossed Sakale from the 6-yard line but failed to make a proper cutoff shot. .

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The Rangers appealed the penalty in the 70th minute after substitute Alfredo Morelos lost to Edwards, but after consulting with their VAR team referee Don Robertson, continued play.

Morelos hit one over the bar from close range just before dying, before reserve Rabbi Matondo hit Laidlaw as he went one on one, keeping County in it until the last punch.

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