ACROSS his two years at Rangers, Nicky Law has probably attended more inquests than Quincy. The post-match post-mortem prompted by Saturday’s Ibrox encounter would have been the first that the Englishman was party to that did not follow on from a grizzly end. Mark Warburton’s side might have recorded a scruffy victory of sorts against Livingston, but they are brimming with life in looking unstoppable in a Championship that has brought them six straight wins, 22 goals for and only three against.
Warburton had a grump about standards not being met as he revealed that his players took it upon themselves to exchange strong words in conducting their own dissection of a comfortable win against a winless, bottom of the table team that proved surprisingly unyielding and unwilling to be pushed around, but that never looked like preventing the Ibrox side extending their perfect record for the season to ten victories.
Law, for his part, has been pushed to the fringes of Rangers’ first team and was grateful he could make a telling contribution. A fiercely-struck shot into the roof of the net after he ghosted to receive a through ball near the left touchline to complete the scoring ten minutes from time was a necessary tonic for the 27-year-old. Meanwhile, he considers the host of new Rangers recruits needed to take their medicine dished out in the dressing room on Saturday evening after an afternoon wherein the midfielder felt his team, and a crowd expecting their side to roll over teams by four or five goals every week, were “flat”.
“There isn’t many clubs where you would get stick but that is because of the standards set by the manager,” said the ever-amenable Law. “He demands the best and that’s not just in the games but in training. I think even towards the end of last week in training he thought we were a bit flat for probably the first time since he has come in. That carried on into the Livingston game but last season we probably would have lost that game. We go to Dumbarton and we are looking to get back to our best there.
“The new lads have only seen the good side of things so far since they came in. Along the way we will probably have a few blips along the way and it’s how you learn from those. The new boys have been fantastic and long may that continue. We only spoke about the performance for five minutes or so and it was nothing too serious. We just felt we weren’t as good as we should be.”
Law appears to have a serious job on his hands to push his way back into contention for a starting place. Jason Holt and 18-year-old Arsenal loanee Gedion Zelalem may have been quiet at the weekend as Rangers effectively sealed the points with a wonderful 25-yard hit from Lee Wallace early on and an angled shot on the turn from Martyn Waghorn just before the interval. However, the pair provide an ingenuity that is not natural to Law. Having started on the bench for his club’s past four encounters, he admits to concerns over his future as the months tick down on the final year of his current Ibrox deal.
“It’s a big relief to score my first goal of the season and I needed it,” he said. “I felt like everybody else in the team had scored except me so I was delighted to see it hit the back of the net.
“It has been difficult sitting on the bench but the manager pulled me aside before the Queen of the South game to say Jason Holt and Gedion Zelalem would be playing. After the game with Queens and the Raith Rovers game, the manager couldn’t really change it because the lads were fantastic.
“It’s quite early to be thinking about that at the minute but of course, I’d like to have a bit of stability,” he added. “When my chances come I have to keep trying to impress the manager. At the minute the squad has a lot of depth and come January and next summer, it will grow again.
“It’s an exciting time for the club. For me and the five or six other boys in the same position, we are desperately trying to impress and be a part of this club going forward.”
Rangers is a club going forward, with a team coming on leaps and bounds. It was still blether from the club’s chairman, Dave King, to talk about them starting off with the “intention” of winning the top flight next season, but with Inverness Caledonian Thistle, St Johnstone, St Mirren and Kilmarnock all winning cups in recent years, Warburton’s Rangers team can do so.
It is tempting to see the League Cup hosting of St Johnstone a week tomorrow as offering a gauge as to where the current Ibrox team are at, but that is undermined by the fact that a rotten Rangers beat the Perth club in the competition a year ago.
“We have come a hell of a long way in a short space of time and I think that will be a big test,” said Law. “We’ll certainly be looking to put a marker down to people and to show that we are on the way back.”