There was a moment in Rangers' 1-1 draw with Celtic towards the end of last season which highlighted the stark differences in front of goal between the two sides over the course of the campaign.

As James Tavernier strode forward with the ball early in the contest and delivered a tantalising cross towards the far post, Ryan Kent was on his heels getting across his marker and could only steer his effort wide.

Ten minutes later, Celtic fashioned their own opportunity from a ball delivered across goal. Only this time, Jota was alert at the far post to steal a yard in front of Borna Barisic to plunder Celtic the lead.

The game-defining move was symptomatic of Rangers' goalscoring issues, where there remains an over-reliance on central players to produce the goods at the expense of the team's wide attackers.

Indeed, an analysis of where Rangers' goalscoring threats come from on the pitch makes for interesting reading when stacked up against their bitter rivals in the league last season.

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Liel Abada, for instance, contributed to just over 12% of Celtic's total xG last term, which was over half of Kent's contribution towards Rangers' final total in the Scottish Premiership.

Indeed, Rangers have been able to compensate at times through the continued offensive excellence of James Tavernier from the full-back area.

The captain netted six goals from open play last season, double that of Kent and only one fewer than Scott Wright, who suddenly became prolific in pouncing on loose balls inside the penalty areas after set-pieces.

Tavernier proved devastating in back post situations, arriving late on multiple occasions to score in a manner which deserted Kent that afternoon at Celtic Park.

The 30-year-old netted from open play against Borussia Dortmund, Braga and RB Leipzig in the Europa League knockout stages, with each goal effectively the carbon copy of the other.

In fact, his strike to open the scoring against Leipzig at Ibrox highlights the sacrificial role of Rangers’ nominal right winger, Wright, in facilitating Tavernier’s blindside run.

As Kent bursts into the penalty box, Wright checks his run outside of the danger area.

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This creates the space for Tavernier to continue his inward movement.

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With both Wright and Aribo hovering within the vicinity of the D, RB Leipzig left wing-back Angelino gets himself mixed up at the far post, allowing Tavernier to ghost in and side foot the ball home.

Rangers Review:

Rangers Review:

The Rangers Review analysed the proxy role of Wright under Giovanni van Bronckhorst, with his ability to intelligently manufacture space helping Tavernier retain his creative – and goalscoring – threat in the final third.

Amad Diallo, meanwhile, proved a threat when attacking space at the back post in his limited minutes after arriving in January, providing a pair of goals against Ross County in remarkably similar circumstances. On both occasions, he gambled with his run towards the far post instead of darting across the goal.

On the opposite flank, however, Kent has greater responsibility in holding the width high up the pitch, reducing his ability to move into more dangerous goalscoring areas.

With the left full-back – typically one of Barisic or Calvin Bassey – playing a more reserved, inverted role during build-up under van Bronckhorst, Kent is tasked with providing touchline width.

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Rangers’ shape, therefore, can often resemble a 3-2-5, with Tavernier stretching the width of the last line on one side and Kent doing similar on the opposite flank. Recent months have seen van Bronckhorst restore both full-backs to their previous buccaneering roles, but the Dutchman has made no secret in his admiration of dynamic wingers cutting in off the flanks in the final third.

Rangers’ pass map from the 2-1 win over Dundee at Dens Park in March highlights Kent’s wide role.

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By restricting the full-backs, however, Kent is taken further away from goal as he’s forced to provide a wide passing option.

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Rangers Review:

Rangers Review:

One of Kent’s most memorable strikes in a Rangers shirt, meanwhile, underlined the benefits of Steven Gerrard’s twin No.10s system relative to players like himself. By having the full-backs occupy the advanced wide areas, it allowed Kent to drift into central spaces for pull-backs.

As Glen Kamara dribbles inside with the ball, Kent comes in off the outside while Barisic (out of frame) moves high.

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Ryan Jack then moves the ball wide to the Croatian, with Kent drifting into space in the Celtic penalty area.

Barisic then works half a yard to deliver the ball into the former Liverpool man, who has held his position in space in front of Celtic’s defensive line.

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He is then able to sweep the ball home with his left foot first time.

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With Tavernier pushing up on the right-hand side, Wright has greater license to occupy these central positions on the opposite flank. By decreasing the distance from goal, the former Aberdeen man began to find the net with greater regularity towards the end of the last season.

However, it’s fair to contend that Kent’s goalscoring issues lie more with the individual than it being a systemic problem. Besides, the 25-year-old managed no more than eight league goals in his best season under Gerrard.

Simply put, his shooting technique leaves much to be desired.

In fact, Kent ranked fourth in total shots among wingers in the Scottish Premiership last season (64), behind only Liel Abada, Jota and Alan Forrest. However, only Livingston’s Odin Bailey had a lower shots on target % - shots which ended on target – than Kent’s 28.13% among wide men.

Additionally, if we lower the minutes threshold to include Wright, the former Aberdeen winger averaged roughly the same number of shots per 90 as Kent (2.65 to 2.57), yet his shots on target % stood at 9% higher.

Kent’s shots tend to be quite linear in their direction, which decreases the control he is able to exert over the effort.

Rarely is he able to bend his shots around defenders and towards the corners of the net.

The example below from the 4-1 win over Ross County last season highlights his deficiencies.

As he manufactures the space on the left-hand side of the penalty area, he unleashes a strike towards goal.

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However, his strike is linear in its trajectory, lacking the required finesse to trouble the Ross County goal from his wide angle.

Coupled with its power, it veers way wide of goal.

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Rangers Review:

In many ways, Fashion Sakala Jr. provides the benchmark for Rangers’ wide attackers.

As noted in the above graphic, the Zambian accounted for nearly 9% of the Ibrox side’s total xG last season despite playing just under 600 minutes fewer than Kent in the league.

Although his work outside of the penalty box can be erratic – reflected in his relative lack of minutes under van Bronckhorst – he boasts many of the attributes required to be a consistent goal threat off the flanks.

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His ability to identify space and strike the ball powerfully with minimal backlift makes him devastating in goalscoring situations.

The Zambian’s goal off his perceived weaker side in the 2-2 draw with Motherwell in February reflects his supreme technique.

As Kent dribbles into the penalty box from the opposite side, Sakala holds his position (out of frame) instead of charging in at the far post.

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In doing so, he creates space for a shooting situation in anticipation of the ball reaching the back post.

It does exactly that, allowing the Zambian to step onto the ball and rifle his shot into the bottom corner.

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Rangers Review:

The influence of first-team coach Roy Maakay on the goalscoring prowess of Alfredo Morelos was evident prior to the Colombian’s season-ending injury last year.

Similarly, previously goal-shy Kamara has developed a goalscoring touch since the former Bayern Munich forward arrived alongside van Bronckhorst, and the Rangers faithful will hope that translates onto the wingers in due course.

Wright has displayed noticeable improvement in front of goal in recent months, although there is a danger that Kent’s agonising miss in extra time of the Europa League final defeat could define his lack of conviction in the penalty box throughout his Ibrox career.

As Rangers aim to wrestle the Scottish Premiership crown back from Celtic, they must find a route to maximising the goalscoring potential in attack.

Through individual improvement and systemic tweaks, van Bronckhorst can help achieve that.