Rangers look for answers as teams go to 'extreme' lengths to stop them

Ben Davies admits he doesn't blame teams for adopting "extreme" measures in an attempt to prevent Rangers from running up a score after the fate that befell both Hearts and Hibs.

Rangers produced their best two performances of the season in Edinburgh recently with convincing 3-0 and 4-1 wins at Tynecastle and Easter Road respectively coming after the home sides tried to attack them. The opposite was the case against Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup last Sunday as a less free-flowing Rangers toiled to break down their defensively-minded Championship opponents for long periods before eventually securing a 3-0 victory. Davies, who has now recovered from the injuries that saw him endure a slow start to his Ibrox career following his £4m move from Liverpool last summer, admits it can be a challenge to win with style when teams sit back and defend.

“In those two [Hearts and Hibs] games they have opened up a bit more and looked to play their game," he said. "That’s suited us by exploiting the spaces. Obviously under the lights at those grounds is a good atmosphere and we feed off that a bit as well. So I think when teams have opened up a bit more against us we’ve been able to pounce on that. It’s not easy when teams sit in. I thought against Raith Rovers on Sunday it was actually quite extreme. But any team who does that does it to make it hard for us, which I can fully understand. Sometimes you need a corner or something like a deflection just to open the game up a bit. But it’s never easy and even the best teams find it difficult against a low block. It’s something we just keep working on, working on our patterns, and try and improve on it.”

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Rangers travel to Fir Park on Saturday to face a resurgent Motherwell side under Stuart Kettlewell, who will look to achieve who no manager has outwith Celtic’s Ange Postecoglou by avoiding defeat to Michael Beale’s side. “To be honest it hasn’t really surprised me that a lot of teams play that way against us,” Davies added. “I have watched Scottish football for a while and have seen it quite a lot. It’s sometimes hard to get that breakthrough but once you get it you can then go on and put a few more goals in.

Rangers defender Ben Davies during the Scottish Cup win over Raith Rovers last Sunday. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)Rangers defender Ben Davies during the Scottish Cup win over Raith Rovers last Sunday. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Rangers defender Ben Davies during the Scottish Cup win over Raith Rovers last Sunday. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

“It was just a bit different on Sunday as, while they had a low block, that was it. It was definitely extreme. All in all I understand why teams play that way against us. They can see the flow of the games we play in which is why they sit in. We just need to try and unlock the door. That can come from a bit of magic or something like that. The fact is that when teams have open up against us we have punished them. So I can see why teams do it. There is more than one way to play football at the end of the day. If they think that gives them a chance to take something from the game then why wouldn’t they try it? We have talented players and teams don’t want to leave themselves too exposed against talented players. As a defender I know our forwards can hurt you.”



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