Todd Cantwell showered with praise for Rangers adaptation after Aberdeen winner amid negative Celtic verdict
Todd Cantwell has been “really, really good” for Rangers and has adapted to Scottish football quickly, but done “nothing” against Celtic, says Alan Rough.
The January signing from Norwich has been a central part of Michael Beale’s side in the months since, making 16 appearances so far while scoring three and assisting five more across all competitions.
His well-taken winner at home to Aberdeen on Sunday (7 May) demonstrated the quality he has, but while former Scotland keeper Rough has seen good things in the 25-year-old’s performances against such sides he hasn’t witnessed anything in crucial Old Firm derbies – three defeats from three.
Peter Martin said on PLZ Soccer’s the Football Show (9 May, 22m 10s) that he’d been impressed with the midfielder, and Rough replied: “I’ve been impressed with him against the other teams in the league, I think he’s very, very good.
“He’s not done anything for me against Celtic and that’s the best team we’ve got in our league. He’s not really grabbed that kind of game by the scruff of the neck.
“He’s got a lot of ability but I’ve noticed when he’s playing against the Aberdeens and the Hibs and Hearts he’s playing as a more advanced player, he’s getting goalscoring opportunities and he’s looked really, really good.
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“Sometimes players come from England and take a wee while to settle. He hasn’t taken a wee while, but he’s not done a [Reo] Hatate for me, he’s not done something of that level.”
It might seem unfair but, as with Beale, it is all very well winning against the rest of Scotland, but when Celtic are the target and they so rarely drop points elsewhere it largely comes down to head-to-head meetings.
The Viaplay Cup final can perhaps be excused from Cantwell’s point of view because his, and Nico Raskin’s, exclusion from the starting XI proved to be a mistake by the manager, and the pair’s late introductions did help lift things, albeit too late.
But in the two subsequent starts he drew more attention for his water-bottle run in with Hatate than for troubling the Hoops’ net.
However, he is far from alone in not reaching the required standards in Old Firm derbies in the past two seasons, and that is a big reason why Beale has such a rebuild on his hands this summer.
Encouraging signs otherwise should give the former Carrow Road man the leeway to improve as he gets more established with Rangers, but he will need to start producing in the biggest games next season if he is to avoid opinions turning.
There were signs in some of the recent derbies that the win was there for the taking, so a couple more stand-out showings could have secured them.
But self-inflicted mistakes were usually the issue so there is plenty of room for improvement throughout the team, whoever is in it, for the final rendition of the season on Saturday (13 May), and next season.
In other Rangers news, an agent’s comments have only heightened expectations of a transfer arrival at Ibrox in the coming weeks.