Colin Stein: Better service to strikers is key to Rangers' title hopes

IF he gets the ball, he will score the goals.

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Rangers strikers Kris Boyd (left) and Kenny Miller share a joke at training
Rangers strikers Kris Boyd (left) and Kenny Miller share a joke at training

But Kris Boyd has had few chances to add to his record-breaking tally this term.

Rangers fans have yet to see the sight of Boyd reeling away in celebration on his return to Ibrox as he has fired blanks in his two starts for Ally McCoist's side.

Failing to score in 180 minutes of action hardly constitutes a drought, but when your strike rate is as prolific as Boyd's, goals are almost taken as granted.

All three of the goals that Rangers have scored so far this season have come from midfield, Lewis Macleod and Nicky Law netting in the win over Hibernian last week before Law doubled his tally as the Gers slumped to defeat against Hearts on Sunday.

In both games, Boyd has cut a frustrated figure as he has been forced to feed off aimless punts in his direction and crosses that are dealt with by defenders before the ball is within his finishing range.

In the aftermath of the weekend loss to the Jambos, Kenny Miller voiced his concern over the service he and his strike partner have received so far, with the 34-year-old often forced to drop into midfield just to get involved in the game as Rangers toiled.

Legendary Ibrox forward Colin Stein insists the goals will only come from the prolific pairing if those around them up their game and give them the chances they require.

"You can be the best striker in the world, but if you don't get the service then you won't score goals, it is as simple as that," Stein said.

"It is down to the other players to give the two of them the supply they need and get them chances to score.

"Miller was doing a lot of good work on Sunday, but it was all outside the box and he was having to come deep to get the ball.

"He was using a lot of energy, but he didn't get any service where he really needed it - and neither did Boyd. Rangers didn't go down the wings a lot and there wasn't many quality balls being put into the box, they were coming from deep rather than down the wing.

"I am not the manager, but I would like to see both of them getting more service.

"Rangers are a better team than Hearts, but they didn't take their chances and score goals. You win games by scoring goals, it is as simple as that."

When McCoist completed the deals to reunite the Boyd and Miller partnership, it was seen as the business that would take Rangers another huge step towards the Championship title this season.

Their hopes of winning a third straight league crown were far from killed off as Hearts emerged victorious at Ibrox on Sunday, but it was hardly the start to the season the Light Blue legions were expecting.

There has been a lack of cutting edge to Rangers' play against their Capital counterparts in the last week and Barcelona Bear Stein says Rangers should use the flanks in a bid to unlock defences.

He said: "The Hearts right back, Jordan McGhee, was a madman and was diving in like an idiot. Rangers should have attacked him.

"When he went off, the boy that came on, Brad McKay, got booked in his first tackle so Hearts were struggling down there, but Rangers didn't do enough in that area.

"I would like to see wingers getting used more. They have got a good wideman in Fraser Aird, but he hasn't been used since America.

"I was surprised that he didn't come on, but they obviously wanted to shore up the midfield when Ian Black went off and brought another midfielder on.

"Rangers need someone who can do better at free-kicks. They get a lot of free-kicks, but they didn't have any that threatened the goal. That is down to the manager and his coaching staff."

Having fallen three points behind both of their rivals for the Championship title, Rangers have a chance to get their campaign back on track when they head to Falkirk on Friday night.

McCoist and his players have come under huge criticism from supporters in recent days, but Stein is confident the Light Blues are still good enough to clinch their return to the Premiership at the first time of asking.

"I never saw the Hibernian game and, at times, I was impressed with them on Sunday but at others I wasn't," he said. "Saying that, I wasn't that impressed with Hearts and they won the game.

"Maybe Rangers are better getting beaten just now rather than at the business end of the season and you would still fancy them to win the title.

"The manager has had pressure on him for the last two years so that won't bother him. He will get on with his job.

"They need to get into the Premiership - that is first and foremost and the aim this season - and they can still do that."

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