Blues have to win battle before they can win war

A LOT of people were taken aback by the treatment the Rangers players suffered at the hands of Peterhead at the weekend.

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Derek feels that Francisco Sandaza deserves enormous credit for his attitude
Derek feels that Francisco Sandaza deserves enormous credit for his attitude

Personally, I think it has just been highlighted because it was live on television.

It was no different from any other away game the Ibrox club has played in the Irn-Bru Third Division.

The Blue Toon players were not going to allow their opponents to knock the ball past them and beat them 4-0 or 5-0.

Some of the tackles flying in were pretty horrendous, but Ally McCoist's players were more than a match for them.

I think his young team have learned the harsh realities of life in the bottom tier. They know they have to earn the right to play. They have to win the battle before they win the war.

I think a lot of teams in the Third Division try to play the game the way it should be played. The best footballing side I have seen has been Queen's Park.

But the problem is that Rangers are a full-time club and are faster. Towards the end of games, especially, their superior fitness shows and late challenges are made.

But the Rangers players are now taking that in their stride. They have gone around the grounds now and nothing will surprise them.

They are 19 points clear at the top of the table, despite having six or seven kids in the team.

Despite suffering such a bad facial injury last year, Francisco Sandaza does not shy away from the physical nature of the game at that level.

The Spanish striker gets stuck right in, challenges for every ball in the air, goes into every 50-50 challenge even though he knows he could suffer another injury once again.

He deserves enormous credit for his attitude, as all of his team-mates do, in a physical league. I actually thought he was not as good on Sunday as he had been at Berwick the week before.

But the important thing was he scored. Like all good frontmen, he was in the right place at the right time. He has got the monkey off his back.

I am sure he will push on now and net many more.

retail

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