Michael Stewart has paid tribute to Rangers’ “relentless” defence this season despite the Gers conceding their second goal at home on Sunday.
Steven Gerrard’s men cruised to victory over Dundee United at the weekend but Marc McNulty managed to get himself on the scoresheet late on for the visiting side at Ibrox.
Allan McGregor was visibly furious with losing his clean sheet even though the Gers were 4-0 up at that point.
In 15 league games at Ibrox this season, Rangers have won 45 points out of 45, scored 44 goals and conceded just twice. Motherwell’s Callum Lang is the only other player to score in Govan in the Premiership this term.
Stewart cannot believe how few goals the Gers have conceded at Ibrox after being shown the numbers by BBC Sportscene host Steven Thompson on Sunday.
However, the ex-Hibs and Hearts player believes that’s simply down to how well the Premiership leaders organise themselves out of possession.
“It’s ludicrous stats, really. When you look at it, they genuinely have been peerless. [Ibrox is] a fortress indeed,” said Stewart when shown those stats on BBC Sportscene on Sunday night.
“For the second goal to be lost, there are reasons why they’ve only conceded two goals.
“They are relentless at shutting down teams and attacking and forcing them back the way.”
Consistency, hard work and organisation
We believe there are three major qualities when it comes to keeping a solid defence.
Throughout this season, Gerrard has been forced into the odd change at the back whether that’s down to injuries or to rest players. We’ve seen Jon McLaughlin and Calvin Bassey coming in while Leon Balogun and Filip Helander have swapped starting spots with one another and, most recently, James Tavernier’s been left out due to injury.
But, ultimately, Gerrard has named the same defence more often than not with McGregor in goals behind Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Helander and Borna Barisic.
Keeping the same unit as often as possible gets them to work well together, understanding each other’s movements and their strengths and weaknesses.
Hard work is another key. It doesn’t matter if you’re Ryan Kent or Alfredo Morelos, tracking back, filling in pockets of space and busting a gut no matter what is also vital.
Organisation follows that. If you have players who know how to play with one another, who work hard for one another and a manager and coaching team who clearly know what they’re doing then you’re laughing.
Rangers’ defence has been transformed massively in the last year and a lot of that is down to Gerrard but the players have also done tremendously well.
It was disappointing to see Dundee United score late on at the weekend but just two home goals conceded this season is ridiculously good.
In other Rangers news, the Gers are in “extremely new territory” over their latest signing.