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Malik Tillman scores winning goal to send Rangers to third round of UCL qualifying

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Scottish Premiership giant Rangers appeared to be in danger of crashing out of the UEFA Champions League in the qualifying rounds, but Malik Tillman stepped up to make his first goal for the club a special one.

Tillman started and scored the winning goal in Rangers’ 3-0 second-leg win over Union St. Gilloise in Glasgow, propelling the Premiership club into the final round of UCL qualifying. The U.S. men’s national team midfielder has started in three of his four appearances in Giovanni Van Bronckhorst’s squad since arriving on loan from Bayern Munich and made the most of Tuesday’s start with a memorable finish.

“It was an amazing feeling,” Tillman said in a club interview. “We needed the fans, we needed Ibrox tonight and I think we did pretty well. Thank you to the fans for pushing us every minute of the match, this match was for them. I always want to help the team but tonight the win was for the whole team, not just for me.”

James Tavernier’s first-half penalty kick cut the deficit in half for Rangers before Antonio Colak’s finish in the 58th minute tied things up at 2-2 on aggregate. Tillman continued to pose a threat for Rangers in the attacking end of the field and would deliver after a great cross from Borna Barisic.

Tillman’s rose highest in front of Anthony Moris’ goal, heading home to give the U.S. men’s national team forward his first goal for Rangers.

Rangers would grind out the remaining time, clinching a spot in the third round of Champions League qualifying. The reigning Scottish Cup winners will face PSV in the final round of UCL qualifying, knowing advancement would guarantee them a spot in September’s group stage with defending Premiership winners and rivals Celtic.

“I am really happy with Malik, he came in early this season and is playing very strong so far,” Van Bronckhorst said. “It was an amazing goal, I think he jumped really high and the goalie was a little bit surprised, but it was the final goal for us to go through.”

Fellow American James Sands also started in the match for Rangers, logging 79 minutes at centerback.

Rangers will now turn its attention towards Saturday’s Premiership clash with St. Johnstone aiming to remain unbeaten in league play.

Comments

  1. Whoo, doggy.

    That kid is just so smooth. He really is magnificently talented, and his physical ability and skill on the ball are both top-tier. Again, the glaring issue I had with him his first couple looks with the Nats was pace-of-play…his incredible ability was pretty obvious but you could tell he’d been playing in a third division and his speed of thought and ability to process information quickly just wasn’t there yet. As a USSF youth coach I figured out pretty quick that aspect is basically like an old video game of Frogger or Galaga, You’ve gotta dial that pace-of-play up, and not just jump from Level 1 to Level 10…because if you try to do that, you’ll die ugly. The Scottish Prem seems a good intermediate level, but it’s obvious the kid’s ceiling is likely at the top of the Bundesliga unless his brain just can’t spin that fast. (You never know until you actually see a guy do it, sometimes they just can’t. Some guys just have caps on how fast they can see it and read it and process it.)

    But Oh My does he look like he’s adjusting quickly in Scotland…which means he’s probably real close to being able to help us in Qatar. There’s no doubt Tillman’s a mile ahead of Morris and certainly Arriola in terms of raw talent…and his ability to play anywhere up top may well get him onto the plane.

    If he develops to his ability he’s probably up there with Gio and Pulisic as far as ceiling. I actually think he might be better.

    Reply
    • Quality arcade references with “Frogger” and “Galaga”—but not sure our younger viewers will get it. Unless you were lucky enough to live that era. But a great analogy that adeptly describes the difficulty of the transition that many young players go through as they progress. Well done! Hopefully MT keeps on clearing boards and gets to enter his initials close to the top of thr SPL scoring leader board.

      Reply
  2. This is awesome, another US partnership happening…..this time in the Scottish Premier League.

    Note to Rangers:
    What doesn’t work –
    1. 4-5-1
    2. R. Jack, G Kamara and Matondo in a defensive midfield
    3. Tillman as a overlapping LEFT-MIDFIELDER

    What does work –
    1. 4-3-3 (Dynamic!!!)
    2. Arfield and Lawrence playing around Lundstram
    3. Tillman playing up top as A RIGHT WINGER, with R. Kent on the left of Colak

    Reply

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