Craig Fowler looks at the key points from Rangers victory at Palmerston Park. The visitors struggled a little but still came away with the three points
Queen of the South will go to bed cursing Wes Foderingham
It was a terrific effort from the home side. While they were sometimes hesitant in the opposing penalty area, in midfield they were always eager to run with the football and were tenacious when not in possession. At set-pieces they remained a threat from the first whistle to the last, and on another day they would have taken all three points, never mind one.
The main reason they didn’t was the play of Foderingham in the Rangers goal. He made a great reflex stop from Derek Lyle in the fourth minute and that set the tone for his entire evening. He would go on to deny Jake Pickard, Ryan Conroy and Chris Higgins. The “dodgy keeper” label unfairly stuck on him at the beginning of the season has long since been shed. He’s proven himself to be a very astute purchase by the club.
Michael O’Halloran needs to improve his final ball
O’Halloran’s never been the strongest crosser. He lacks the ability to wrap his foot around the ball and curl it beyond defenders on to the heads of his team-mates. What he likes to do is get himself goal side of the full back and cut it back. Now that he plays for Rangers, his final ball will be scrutinised much more, especially since he’ll have more opportunities in every match to deliver.
Against Queens he played with a real confidence, taking on players and often getting himself involved in the play. However, despite the great positions he got himself into, he failed to create a great chance for his fellow attackers.
Kenny Miller should be preferred to Nicky Clark
Clark played well and scored the winning goal against Kilmarnock on Tuesday night, so it was only fair he was given the opportunity to keep his place in the team and prove he was the man to replace Martyn Waghorn. However, looking back at the 1-0 win, it’s clear that when both strikers are fit, Miller should start ahead of his team-mate.
Clark showed some good energy early in the match and even did a half-decent Waghorn impression to drop deep and link with the midfield. But as the game went on he drifted out of the play, and Rangers needed Miller to bring some impetus to their play.
While Miller’s not going to net a wondrous effort every week, his movement and greater in-game intelligence makes him a bigger threat in the final third, especially on the rare occasions when Rangers are struggling to create and they require the striker to get something out of nothing.
Billy King is a better option from the bench
Any Hearts fan will tell you that the sight of Billy King coming off the bench almost guarantees you a goal. His energy, dribbling ability and talent for making things happen in the opposing area are all qualities that frighten defenders. The problem is, for whatever reason, he’s never been able to consistently do this from the start.
Sunday’s match was another such example of this. Similar to Clark, he started the game with urgency and helped his side pin back the hosts. Once Queens got to grips with Rangers he disappeared from view. Also, his place on the left meant Barrie McKay was pushed into the centre, and Rangers’ star performer over the last three months struggled to make an impact from the unfamiliar position.
King has shown already that he’s an asset to Rangers and their title challenge. He scored the winner against Falkirk and his energy lifted the entire team against Alloa, enabling their fightback from a goal down to earn a draw 1-1. Typically, in both those matches he came off the bench.
Queens are getting it together in defence
When the majority of Queens starting XI departed last summer, one of the few positives was that they kept a hold of their two starting centre backs, Andy Dowie and Chris Higgins. It was therefore a real disappointed to see the Dumfries club perform so poorly at the back to start the campaign. That issue has since been resolved, however, with only five goals conceded in their last seven.
Can you think of any league match this season, including the two defeats, where Rangers have created so few clear cut chances? From front to back, Queens showed great resolve and determination to stifle the away side. And they can be proud of their efforts, despite the full time result.
THE SCOTSMAN ON SOCIAL MEDIA