Rangers supporters have been in fine voice in recent times after seeing their team begin their Europa League group stage campaign with a draw on Thursday night.
Steven Gerrard’s men faced the tricky trip to Villarreal for their first European group game since 2010, but they returned from the Estadio de la Ceramica with a well-earned 2-2 draw. The hosts twice led through Carlos Bacca and Gerard Moreno in a game they dominated for large periods, yet the Gers fought back admirably through Scott Arfield and Kyle Lafferty to kick-off their quest for Europa League glory with a point.
Thus, there have been many thrilled Rangers fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent comments from Daily Record journalist Gary Ralston, who believes that while their ‘camaraderie’ was ‘great’, ‘they’ll need to improve’ if they are to have further success in the competition.
And while several Light Blues fans will rightly see a point from a trip to Villarreal as an excellent result, Ralston is absolutely spot on with his verdict of Gerrard’s side.
Ultimately, while the Gers deserve huge credit for sticking in there and grabbing a point from their trip to Spain on Thursday night, the truth is that they could have been easily beaten by the La Liga outfit given their sluggish first half display.
They gave themselves a mountain to climb by conceding just 45 seconds into the encounter, which itself was a goal that could have been prevented – yes, it was a fine strike from Bacca, but between centre backs Connor Goldson and Joe Worrall, the danger probably should have been averted.
And that indecision set the tone for a lacklustre first half display from Gerrard’s team, who were remarkably fortunate to go in just the one-goal down – they didn’t settle into the encounter and really struggled to control the middle of the pitch.
Ryan Kent in particular struggled to get into the game and thus deliver a level of performance Rangers fans have become accustomed to since his loan move from Liverpool – yet he wasn’t alone in finding the going tough over the course of the 90 minutes.
As aforementioned, the Gers deserve huge credit for showing great character and fight to twice come from behind, scoring very good goals in the process, but they will have to improve their first half performance in particular if they are to progress from the group – ultimately, Villarreal let them off the hook.
Thus, while Light Blues fans will reflect on an excellent point, Ralston is absolutely right to suggest that improvement will be necessary if the Gers have ambitions of progressing in the competition this season.
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