Glasgow Rangers started their domestic campaign in top form, breaking the British record with an opening 7 consecutive clean sheets. A 4-0 win against Dundee United seen them surpass the 114-year-old Scottish record previously held by their city rivals, Celtic. Ranger’s 7-game clean sheet streak also overcame the English record held by the 2005 Chelsea team who opened their season with 6 games without conceding a goal. Rangers unfortunately had their record start ended with a 2-2 draw at Easter road on Sunday against Hibernian.
Ryan Kent – scoring in FIFA and on the pitch
The game that handed the record to Steven Gerrard’s men was bittersweet. The victory over Dundee United came at the cost of injuries to 4 Rangers players. New signing Leon Balogun, who joined Rangers on a free transfer from Brighton in the summer, was named in the starting 11, however, was unable to continue after an injury in the warm-up. The Nigerian international was replaced by Sweden’s Filip Helander. It was only after 11 minutes that Ryan Jack was forced off of the pitch with an issue in his calf that has become quite familiar to him in the last couple of seasons. He would be replaced by Glen Kamara. Gerrard’s issues only furthered when in the 39th minute Brandon Barker was chasing a ball into the corner and went down without being challenged, holding his hamstring. Colombian internationalist, Alfredo Morelos would come on to replace Barker, but only briefly when a late challenge 10 minutes into the second half left the striker with a gash in his thigh and he was forced off on a stretcher. Despite the obstacles presented, the boys in royal blue managed to put 4 past Dundee United with goals from Ryan Kent, Kemar Roofe, Scott Arfield, and a goal from captain James Tavernier to mark his 250th appearance for the club.
During an interview, manager Steven Gerrard stated that his preseason plan was to spend a lot more time with the back 4 working on their organisation and shape. It was clear that Gerrard has got his message throughout the defenders when several injuries caused the backline to be shaken up during their record-breaking start. Center back, Filip Helander, was only beginning to return to training after being sidelined for nearly 8 months from an injury last season. Helander had to be called upon before the second game when new signing Leon Balogun picked up an injury after impressing during the opening match of the season. The ex-Brighton man was brought in as cover for youth Croatian international, Niko Katic, who is unlikely to feature this year due to a cruciate ligament injury. Vice Captain Conor Goldson found himself with playing with 3 different partners in the center-back role since the start of preseason. The highlight of the record breaking back line is goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin, recently signed from Sunderland. McLaughlin was surprisingly given the starting role for Rangers opening game when trusted #1 Allan Mcgregor found his way on to the injury list. McLaughlin has since started all domestic games for Rangers and seems unlikely to give up his shirt.