Ex-Rangers striker delivers ‘winning formula’ verdict as match-winner Steven Davis opens up on struggles in front of goal

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The Ibrox club edged past Championship side Dundee 1-0 to reach the semi-finals of the League Cup.

Match-winner Steven Davis believes his team-mates fell short in creating enough chances as Rangers endured a frustrating night in front of goal after beating Dundee 1-0 in their Scottish League Cup quarter-final.

The Northern Ireland international’s early headed goal proved enough for Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side to edge past their Championship opponents at Ibrox and set up a last-four showdown against Aberdeen.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was a far from vintage attacking performance from the Light Blues in front of a disgruntled home crowd, who voiced their displeasure at recent displays with a smattering of boos heard at the full-time whistle.

Steven Davis of Rangers during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match a IbroxSteven Davis of Rangers during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match a Ibrox
Steven Davis of Rangers during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match a Ibrox | Getty Images

Rangers, who have lifted the trophy a record 27 times but not since 2011, lacked creativity and urgency in the final third but they limped over the line to remain on course for silverware.

Davis, who headed home the only goal of the tie after 10 minutes, told Premier Sports: “First and foremost, the most important thing was to get through. I think in the first-half our intensity was good, we moved the ball quickly and tried to create openings. Our counter-press was really good and we managed to get the ball into good areas.

“We probably didn’t test their keeper enough at times but in the second half we lost a bit of that energy and tempo. We got a bit sloppy on the ball, made a few unforced errors and then that gives them belief they can get back into the game.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I was asked to play a bit higher up tonight and it was nice to get in and around the box. The chance fell for me early on and I managed to tuck it away. I was just working off scraps in the second half and trying to get on the end of things.

“It was difficult to find space because of the number of defenders back there. We didn’t really find the quality in our final pass at times. Obviously there are a lot of things we can improve but ultimately we’re in the next round.”

Post-Match Analysis

Former Rangers and Scotland striker Kenny Miller isn’t convinced Van Bronckhorst knows what his best winning formula is at the moment as he made wholesale changes and handed a number of fringe players a chance to impress.

Barring the performances of Leon King, the lesser-spotted Ridvan Yilmaz, Scott Wright and goal scorer Davis, there wasn’t many positives for the Dutchman to take from his side’s display.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The loudest cheer of a low key night came in the 73rd minute when Kemar Roofe returned after a five-month injury lay-off to replace the ineffective Alfredo Morelos.

Speaking as a pundit on Premier Sports, Miller said: “You could sense his (Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s) disappoinment in the level of performance. Yes, they’re in the semi-finals but the reality is you’ve got to look at the bigger picture because moving forward domestically if you continue to play like that then you’re going to drop points and it’s going to cost you.

Kemar Roofe will be given every opportunity to return for the Europa League final in Seville, says Giovanni van Bronckhorst. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)Kemar Roofe will be given every opportunity to return for the Europa League final in Seville, says Giovanni van Bronckhorst. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Kemar Roofe will be given every opportunity to return for the Europa League final in Seville, says Giovanni van Bronckhorst. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

“You can’t perform the way they’ve been performing of late and continually beat teams the way they have been. Their results have been decent since the Celtic game but the standard of performances have been poor.

“You can see that Giovanni is really frustrated because he knows more often than not if he gets the type of performance he wants, Rangers have a far better chance of getting results. At the moment, they are just getting over the line in games.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I think even the 4-0 win (against St Mirren) a few weeks back, it still wasn’t at the level he wants to see. Their wasn’t that energy and dynamism you saw last season. Belief and confidence was also there last season but it’s severely lacking now.

“I think Giovanni is searching for what the best formula is and what relationships he can get between players. At the moment, (Antonio) Colak is ahead of Morelos up front, but who is it that plays either side of him?

“Is it (Ryan) Kent who is maybe struggling for form of late? He’s has tried Sakala, Matondo and Wright out wide now. And in the midfield, is he going with two sitting players and one more attacking. I think he’s still looking for the right formula at the moment.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.