Fleck as a striker? No …. Who’s been saying that for a year?

Walter Smith made a huge decision after 70 mins of what was a pretty dreadful game at New Douglas Park between Hamilton and Rangers to bring on young John Fleck and play him as a striker. The latter came to my dis-belief as I have been crying out for young Fleck to play upfront in his natural position where Walter Smith usually goes for him at left-midfield.

Novo celebrates scoring winner for Rangers

Rangers started the game with a pretty rigid 4-4-2 formation which saw influential midfielder Steven Davis shifted out to the right of midfield where in my view he is particularly ineffective. Steven Whittaker, a £2m right-back from Hibs, was starting on the left of midfield with two defensive-midfielders in Kevin Thomson and Maurice Edu in the middle. Kyle Lafferty and Nacho Novo began the game in attack for Rangers with Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller both unavaliable.

It was Hamilton who had the better of the opening half which didn’t have much to savour for Rangers apart from a nice volley from Steven Davis which went over the bar in injury time. Hamilton seemed to be comfortable when on the ball and their 3-4-3 formation was working really well with Mensing and Paixao in attack able to slot back into midfield where Alex Neil and James McArthur were impressive. The sheer power of Curier upfront was a real threat for the partnership of David Weir and Danny Wilson who couldn’t get to grips with the pace and strength of the Guadalopean international.

By half-time, Hamilton could have been easily 2 or 3 nothing up and they were playing some very decent, casual football as Rangers huffed and puffed to get control of the game. Simon Mensing had the best chance of the half for Hamilton when Curier’s cutback set up Mensing a few yards out and his shot was blocked by McGregor and Wilson together. Marco Paixao had a header saved by McGregor, Mensing had another shot wide of the post and Curier was denied a good chance when David Weir made a last-ditch tackle to deny the striker who is on loan from first division Dundee.

In the second-half, Rangers improved slightly and seemed to grow in the game but without really creating any clear oppertunities. The frustration was beginning to grow amongst the Rangers supporters as Whittaker missed a good chance and Lafferty continued to disappoint.

But John Fleck was to come on after 70 minutes for Kirk Broadfoot with Steven Whittaker slotting back into right-back and Fleck going upfront with Lafferty and Novo moved to left-midfield.

The goal came after 78 minutes when a Rangers break headed by Bosnian left-back Sasa Papac who marauded into the Hamilton half without any challenge from an Accies player before laying the ball to John Fleck at the edge of the box who twisted on to his left and forced Cerny into a good save but it landed at Nacho Novo at a tight-angle who eased the ball into the net.

Rangers battled even more and seemed to installed with a real sense of pace with Fleck on the pitch. Steven Davis missed a good chance, Papac again tried to get into the box but also missed a decent chance and Kyle Lafferty squandered a few decent attempts but Rangers held on for a crucial 3 points to go 10 ahead of Celtic with Tony Mowbray’s side playing Falkirk this afternoon.

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