Josh Windass praised as midfielder flourishes in free role
Caixinha suggested Windass would not last long if he didn’t learn to track back. But it was Caixinha who has since left and Windass is flourishing under caretaker manager Graeme Murty, who sounded a lot more paternal when reflecting on the midfielder’s role after Wednesday’s fortuitous 2-1 win over Hibs (Windass himself later Tweeted a cartoon of a robber sneaking out a house with a bag of swag).
“He does things that leave you tearing your hair out,” smiled Murty. “It’s my job – well, mine, Josh’s and the rest of the staff – to get those bits put to one side and elevate the rest. If he can do this he can have a fantastic career.”
Perhaps making reference to Caixinha’s words earlier in the season, Murty pointed out that Windass is more suited to a freer role, “where he can concentrate on damaging our opponents’ rather than us”.
Murty could afford to hand Windass such a good-spirited rebuke. After all, the 23-year-old had just played a huge part in maintaining Rangers’ second-place position in the league against Hibs.
Windass scored the Ibrox side’s equaliser and Rangers quickly built on that platform to go 2-1 ahead through Alfredo Morelos, another player coming back into form. According to Jason Holt, who set up Rangers’ equaliser, confidence is coursing back through the in-form Ibrox side. This is evident in the case of Windass in particular.
“I think it is probably a bit of belief and confidence to be honest,” said Holt, with specific reference to Windass. “He has been doing well and once you get that first goal you find yourself going on a wee run and everything you touch seems to go in the back of the net. I think that has been the case for Josh and long may that continue. Previously he was doing well but now he is adding goals to his game and it makes a real difference. We are all delighted for Josh because we know what he can bring to the team.
“If he is helping out the team, we are delighted. We just want to keep seeing him progress as a player.” Holt played down Murty’s jocular claim that Windass hardly knows what he’s doing half the time, let alone anyone else. They had after all combined to bring Rangers back into the game three minutes before half-time. “Most of the boys have got a really good understanding with him,” he said. “We work on the training pitch every day and know what his qualities are.”
The same can be said of Morelos, who has now scored in successive games after going ten matches without a goal. “He had a tough time but he scored on Wednesday night and scored on Saturday so I am delighted for Alfredo,” said Holt. “We know what he can bring to the team and know his qualities. Like with Josh, long may that continue if it helps the team. If you have got a player that is scoring regularly throughout the season you will find yourself winning more games than you lose. We know his qualities and I think his confidence and belief is growing as well.”
Rangers now have a critical run of four games before the end of the year, the last of which is away at Celtic, as they seek to place some pressure on the league leaders. Holt can sense a new belief in the dressing room ahead of tomorrow’s home clash against St Johnstone.
“Previously in the season we lost a few games and it maybe takes effect,” he said. “But the confidence is growing throughout the team now and we’ve shown a different side to the team. We will keep trying to show that on the pitch.”