Sidebar

12
Tue, Dec
49 New Articles

Typography
THE Lord moves in mysterious ways. So, it could be said, do big defenders with dodgy knees.


But Marvin Andrews, torn cruciate and all, didn't look like the Rangers player who needed divine intervention to play at Ibrox.

Yes, he didn't look completely fit and there were times he didn't pick up Celtic players at set-pieces, but he wasn't the worst - far from it Marvin had an excuse to be rotten yesterday.But he stood firm with just one leg while others who had both working perfectly chose to lie down.

The Andrews story is remarkable.The fact he managed to play most of yesterday's match is something of a miracle, if not quite on a par with the loaves and fishes one of over 2000 years ago.

Inside the first minute, when faced with his first long ball, he turned slowly and awkwardly to allow John Hartson to get in front of him,the Rangers fans must have wondered what their manager was thinking of by taking this gamble.

True,big Marv did fall over once while trying to close down Craig Bellamy but let's be honest,he can do that anyway.

The only real hint that all was not well was he couldn't head the ball miles as he normally does when Celtic peppered the Rangers defence with crosses. On occasion he did well to reach the edge of the penalty box.

He was the player who was supposed to be marking Stilian Petrov when in 21 minutes the Bulgarian somehow got his header past Ronald Waterreus and into the bottom corner of the net.

Yet Andrews recovered and went on to have a decent game. It was he who cleared the ball more often than not when Celtic were well on top in the first-half. And for a guy who needs an knee operation, the big man rose quite magnificently above the Celtic defence to power a header against the crossbar on the stroke of half time.

When Bellamy,Hartson and eventually sub Craig Beattie made him turn, you could see all was not quite rightBut it's hard to remember any time when you could have blamed his knee on anything positive Celtic did.

Andrews put in one storming tackle on Craig Beattie in 63 minutes when, originally beaten for pace, the Trinidadian got back to make a great block.He even picked that huge frame of his off the ground to save a corner.

He was stranded just once when Beattie ran clean through only to produce a woeful miss. But that was down to bad positioning more than anything else.

However, once again he got himself right again and was steaming into tackles and beating Hartson in the air.

Then with eight minutes to go he had run out of steam. Andrews was replaced by Bob Malcolm,having run himself into the ground.

Apart from Stevie Thompson's late goal, his ovation was the loudest we heard the from the Rangers fans all day.

McLeish said: 'I thought big Marv did really well. I spoke to Stevie Walford after the game and he said to me he couldn't believe his performance.

'We were worried about his legs in terms of fitness and that's why I took him off at the end.He was running on empty. Perhaps I could have taken him off five minutes earlier.

'And the players were all fully behind the decision.'

If only every Rangers player had what Andrews has inside him then just maybe they wouldn't have lost yesterday