Appearances & Goals To Date
|Youngest Player:||Ross Tokely (28 years 156 days)
|Oldest Player:||John Rankin (2009 years 4 days)|
|Average Player Age:||31 years 140 days|
|Domestic Players:||10 (90.91 % of starting eleven)|
|Youngest Player:||Ross Tokely (28 years 156 days)|
|Oldest Player:||Dean McDonald (2009 years 4 days)|
|Average Player Age:||31 years 140 days|
|Domestic Players:||17 (94.44 % of matchday squad)|
First Team Debuts
Caley Thistle took seven points out of a possible nine from Rangers last season but from the very start it didnt look like this would be repeated.
A Barry Ferguson double and a Nacho Novo goal gave Rangers an easy victory in front of a new record crowd at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium of 7711.
With three potential first choice strikers out - Graham Bayne (broken toe), Marius Niculae (work permit problems) and Dean McDonald (ankle) - Charlie Christie started with a pairing of Dennis Wyness and Rory McAllister up front. There was no place for Russell Duncan in the opening lineup as McBain, Wilson, Black and Rankin formed the midfield line and only the defence was no surprise as the four most senior defenders - Tokely, Munro, McCaffrey and Hastings - took their normal slots.
Walter Smith's Rangers are a different prospect than the side were under Paul Le Guen and much of that seems to be associated with the contribution of Rangers captain Barry Ferguson with whom PLG had a very public fallout. Ferguson was at the heart of everything in this game with a goal in each half and an overall performance that meant Rangers never really felt under much pressure.
The first attack of the game came in only three minutes when Beasley was put through by Barry Ferguson but he could only smash the ball of Mike Fraser's legs after the keeper came off his line to block the American.
In the 11th minute there was a test of temper for Ian Black when he was fouled badly by Kris Boyd. The midfielder who is often criticised for his short fuse and quick temper, reacted well and the result was that it was only Kris Boyd who made it into the ref's book at this stage. Black, to his credit came through the game without any sanction from the ref.
In the 16th minute, Barry Ferguson opened the scoring with a move that went from goalie to goalie in about 4 touches. McGregor hit a long ball which was passed into the path of Ferguson by Lee McCulloch and the Rangers skipper hit it from 20 yards where it went into thenet off thepost. Touch 4 was Mike Fraser picking it out of the net.
Ferguson, at the centre of everything, almost assisted with another goal when he put Boyd clear on the half hour mark but once agani Mike Fraser was there and managed to get a foot in the way of the ball which then bounced off the ground, struck the underside of the crossbar and somehow spun wide of the post.
A Carlos Cuellar snap shot just before half-time was heading in if it had not been for a good low save by Fraser who turned it round the post.
The second half started slowly and the only action in the early portion of it was Boyd hobbling off in the 49th minute to be replaced by Nacho Novo and a tactical change where Charlie Christie replaced the ineffective Rory McAllister with Don Cowie and put Barry Wilson up front.
A minute later and it was 2-0 to Rangers. Defensive lapses allowed Lee McCulloch to setup Nacho Novo and he made no mistake from 16 yards
Five minutes after this Richie Hart came on and then and only then did Caley Thistle look like something might happen. Richie put in a sterling effort in the final 20 minutes and had two or three efforts that unfortunately came to nothing. 13 minutes from the end, new signing Dean McDonald came on for John Rankin but he couldnt get ICT back into it either.
Ross Tokely will probably hope that this game had ended after 84 minutes as the last five minutes were not his best. After managing to escape bookings on at least two other occasions during the match he was finally booked in the 85th and then as the game drew to a close it was his error on a backpass that allowed Ferguson to nip in, lob the keeper and finish the game off.
After the game Charlie Christie blasted the side: "Rangers played longer than they have ever done against us and it was very effective. The annoying thing for me is how much of a problem that was for us."
"It showed just how important Graham Bayne is to us. There was no passion and not the requisite desire to win. Make no mistake, there will be changes next week."
Match report written by Site