Strength in depth, international call-ups, Tavernier and Kent - three talking points from Rangers 2-0 Ross County
David Oliver looks at three talking points from Rangers’ win at home to Ross County.
Strength in depth
Rangers currently have Kemar Roofe, Joe Aribo and Niko Katic on the injury list. Others were nursing bumps and bruises from the win over Galatasaray – and still Steven Gerrard was able to make four changes to his line-up without noticeably weakening it.
Albeit Jordan Jones’ performance wasn’t quite on par with his show at Fir Park, and Ryan Jack was making his steps back from injury, being able to make such changes and for it to look as seamless as it did, particularly with Leon Balogun in defence and Jon McLaughlin behind him, shows Rangers’ strength in depth has dramatically improved.
Steven Davis can be afforded a rest, Ianis Hagi a chance to recharge his batteries and the same for Filip Helander. Cedric Itten needn’t be rushed back.
There are injuries yes, there are players needing a break or handled carefully, but there are also able and willing deputies ready to step in and – in the case of Scott Arfield, substitute Calvin Bassey, Jones and Balogun – make a credible case for a start.
And with such a strong squad it follows that others will notice. Rangers have 14 players heading off on international duty – a sign of the calibre of talent within the ranks.
A change of scenery will do some good based on Sunday’s stuffy performance, but there will be hope that the squad heading out all return in peak condition because even though there's plenty of back-up – there’s a big game against Celtic to come shortly after their arrival back.
And those who stay behind – the likes of Ryan Kent, Connor Goldson and James Tavernier – can also utilise the break for a change of pace after the hectic weekend-midweek cycle that has kicked in since the restart from the COVID-19 lay-off and may have begun to tell against Ross County.
Tavernier and Kent
Two of those players remaining at the Rangers training centre for the next fortnight may not be afforded the luxury of such a break for much longer. Ryan Kent’s early season form, and James Tavernier’s throughout, have not gone unnoticed this term. Maintain it and they too could be viable international options for England assessors in future.
Until then though, Rangers can remain their priority and that’s to the club’s benefit from the full focus of two individuals key to continuing the successful start to the season.