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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Christopher Jack

The nine goals this season that encapsulate Scott Arfield's Rangers contribution

SOME have been more significant than others, some will be fondly recalled and some will largely be forgotten. But all nine of them show just what Scott Arfield still brings to Rangers.

The remaining matches this term could be the final ones that Arfield plays for Michael Beale's side. If that proves to be the case, he must be replaced in more ways than one.

This has not been the most influential campaign of the five that the midfielder has spent at Ibrox. He has still contributed, though, and these moments will carry their own significance to the man himself.

Livingston 1-2 Rangers

Arfield is not a renowned scorer with his head but this effort on the opening day of the Premiership campaign was a classy finish to spark a recovery job for Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side.

Ryan Kent clipped in a cross from the left and Arfield made himself space with a run across the area. A glancing header was perfectly placed into the far corner as a short celebration saw him head straight back to the centre.

Joel Nouble had given Livingston an early lead. After Arfield's intervention, James Tavernier completed the comeback for Rangers with a free-kick as Van Bronckhorst’s side suffered a scare.

Rangers 4-0 St Johnstone

This was the perfect example of having that nous and being able to be in the right place at the right time as Arfield continued his fine start to the season.

Rabbi Matondo burst clear down the left but couldn’t pick out Alfredo Morelos in a sea of bodies. Instead, he rounded Remi Matthews and saw Arfield in a prime position. The finish was crisp and clinical from ten yards.

Malik Tillman and Antonio Colak had already made sure of the points for Rangers and Tom Lawrence scored just three minutes later to round off the win.

Rangers 3-1 Queen of the South

On a dour night at Ibrox, Van Bronckhorst needed someone to step up. Once again, it was Arfield that provided the key moments after Robbie Ure had seen his debut strike cancelled out by Lee Connelly.

Arfield’s first of this League Cup tie came just seven minutes after the Doonhamers had equalised. A lovely touch and cross from Ridvan Yilmaz created the chance and Arfield finished it as he arrived just as expected and slotted home from inside the area.

It took until four minutes from time for the tie to finally be put to bed for Rangers. Arfield doubled his tally with a side-footed finish from his usual striking range that had keeper Max Currie well beaten.

Rangers 1-7 Liverpool

It was the goal that allowed Ibrox to dare to dream but one that didn’t even prove to be a consolation on a wretched night for Van Bronckhorst and everyone associated with the club. It came 17 minutes in.

Colak knocked the ball into Ryan Jack and the opportunity opened up with a neat pass. Arfield took one touch to create the space and the angle and then slotted home, low and across, beyond a despairing Alisson.

Arfield had Ibrox bouncing. Come the end of the Group A fixture, it was left embarrassed as the Reds scored seven without reply to inflict a record home defeat on Rangers.

Aberdeen 2-3 Rangers

This was an astonishing night at Pittodrie as Beale avoided defeat in his second match as manager. Fashion Sakala’s opener was overturned by Duk and Leighton Clarkson and time ticked away, but Arfield had other ideas.

With just minutes remaining, a Kent effort was spilled by Kelle Roos. Arfield was alert, followed in the strike and reacted quickest to prod home from close range and bring Rangers level.

In the last seconds, a Tillman cross wasn’t stopped or cleared and the ball ricocheted off Connor Goldson. Arfield was left unmarked and a first-time finish from six yards completed a remarkable turnaround in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Rangers 3-0 Raith Rovers

This was another largely forgettable cup tie this term. It was one that Arfield once again influenced, though, as Beale’s side eased to a lacklustre Scottish Cup victory.

Goldson’s opener late in the first half and a Ryan Nolan own goal before the hour mark had ended this one as a contest. The shine on the scoreline came from Arfield.

The move was neat as Ianis Hagi and Todd Cantwell split the Rovers defence. From 12 yards, Arfield had more time and space than he was ever going to need and the finish was typically composed.

Rangers 5-2 St Mirren

Morelos netted twice after strikes from Sakala and Cantwell were cancelled out by a Mark O’Hara brace. The game was won but the highlight was still to come.

The final goal of the afternoon was one of the finest that Rangers have scored all season and the view of it that was later released – showing the full 60 pass move from high above Ibrox – showed Beale’s side and the scorer at their respective best.

The bursting run and no-look pass from Cantwell made it and he delivered the ball to the spot that Arfield had pointed to as he sensed his chance. He had been alert throughout the build-up and the ghosting run was followed by a lovely finish that he knocked through the legs of keeper Trevor Carson.

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