Idiocy and indiscipline knock Rangers out
When Rangers drew Malmo in the Champions League qualifier, the contempt that boss Ally McCoist showed for the part-time side was evident for all to see. Ally declared himself happy with the draw because it ensured that his team did not have a far distance to travel. Ally was not too bothered about the fact that the Swedish champions were well into their campaign and would be evidently sharper than Rangers. McCoist is probably wishing he had kept his mouth shut given that Malmo, sitting in mid-table in this season’s Swedish league, dumped Rangers out on Wednesday night.
£20,000 a week doesn’t buy you a lot these days
A 1-0 away win in Glasgow was a shock but the tie was still very much winnable for Rangers. Another week’s worth of match sharpness was bound to work in Rangers favour but there is only so much a manager can do. Once the players cross the white line onto the pitch, they have to look after themselves and the idiocy of Steven Whittaker probably cost Rangers in this tie. He gave the ball away in the first leg which led to Malmo’s goal and on 20 minutes, Whittaker threw the ball of an opponent in a moment of utter madness. The defender has recently signed a new contract said to be worth £20,000 per week and if this is true, the Rangers fans will want explanations.
However, being down to 10 men didn’t deter Rangers too much as Nikica Jelavic scored with an excellent volley to level the tie at 1-1 on aggregate. In the second half, centre half Madjid Bougherra, said to be playing his last game for the club and who was already on a booking, elbowed his opponent, who had to be stretchered off the field while wearing a neck brace. Again, it was another moment of madness, if not outright thuggery, from Rangers and it was to cost them. Malmo went down to 10 men shortly afterwards but the tide of the game was turning in the Swedish sides favour and a Hamad volley beyond the despairing reach of Alan McGregor made it 1-1 on the night and 2-1 to the Swedes on aggregate.
Naismith was guilty
In injury time, Steven Naismith squandered a great chance and when you add this to the two sitters the striker missed in the first leg, he must carry a large portion of blame for the Ibrox club’s failure as well. Naismith was also lucky to have finished the match as he could have easily been sent off by a referee who even though he flashed the red card three times, was extremely lenient on both sides.
Rangers fans will point to the fact that Malmo could have been down to 10 men before half-time for a retaliation on Lee McCulloch but neutral observers all found that McCulloch, Naismith, Edu and McGregor of the Ibrox side were lucky to remain on the park. On a night of silence for Rangers fans, who were banned from attending the game due to sectarian chanting in previous European fixtures, it was all cheers and smiles for the home team as Rangers financial hopes for this season took a severe battering.