• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Boyd inscrutable in face of detractors

YOU don't score the amount of goals Kris Boyd has plundered over the years without showing the sort of single-mindedness usually reserved for despotic dictators.

Kris Boyd is confident he will soon click into rhythm in front of goal during his second stint with Rangers. Picture: SNS Group/Rob Casey
Kris Boyd is confident he will soon click into rhythm in front of goal during his second stint with Rangers. Picture: SNS Group/Rob Casey

It is probably fair to assume that Boyd develops a form of tunnel vision whenever he takes to a football pitch. He can see the ball and the opposition goal but everything else is just a hazy blur. All that matters is getting one into the other, regardless of how it is achieved. There are no points awarded in football for artistic merit and doesn't Boyd know it. The striker treasures scuffs, sclaffs and tap-ins as much as he does the occasional 25-yard thrash into the top corner or a diving header that loops over the goalkeeper's fingertips. They are all worth the same in the end.

Boyd is 30, on the brink of turning 31. It is eight and a half years since he moved from Kilmarnock to Rangers for the first time, not long after which he faced the first criticism of his technique and talent. He doesn't track back. He can't play as a lone striker. He can't run the flanks. He's not got great pace or much of a first touch. Boyd has heard it all many times. His usual response is like Rachel Riley addressing a contestant on Countdown: take a look at the numbers.

It is an argument that is difficult to quibble with. Boyd, during his days in Scottish football at least, has scored goals at a scorching rate, both in two spells at Kilmarnock and during his first four-year stint at Rangers. The oft-used argument during his previous time at Ibrox - that he was a flat-track bully only capable of scoring against the smaller teams - was met with the disarming reply: "If it was that easy then why doesn't everyone do it?"

Goals, therefore, are his currency and he is plenty in credit. This season, however, he has found it harder to get into the black. There is an expectation on Boyd to produce for Rangers, given his 22-goal haul at Kilmarnock last season as well as his prolific first spell at Ibrox. It is a pressure he is comfortable with, but it can quickly lead to frustration. For most forwards, not scoring in the first two matches of a season could hardly be considered a "goal drought" but Boyd is not most forwards. That he has yet to find the net so far seems to be nagging away at him like persistent toothache.

Kenny Miller, his strike partner, has offered caveats, bemoaning the lack of service that came their way in the 2-1 defeat by Hearts. For once, though, Boyd abandoned the selfish streak that has served him so well on the pitch, preferring to blame himself rather than others.

"I won't sit here and criticise anyone for not creating chances because I know that I've not been doing my job to the best of my ability either," he said. "I'll look myself in the mirror and ask if I'm doing enough before I criticise anyone else. There was a lot made of me and Kenny coming back to the club at the start of the season. I was brought to score goals. Kenny was signed to score goals. Neither of us have done that.

"The demands and the pressure will be there from the fans as we were signed with an expectation to score goals and we haven't done it. We know what strikers can do at this club but that's on past reputations. We need to start again and build something for the future."

Few strikers publicise targets for the season ahead but Boyd has no qualms. Whatever Rangers are paying him every week, he intends to give them value for money.

"I've always said I feel an Old Firm striker should be getting 20 or 25 goals a season and we're under pressure to do that," he added. "If we don't manage to do that then we've let the club down. For us, it's a matter of getting into the positions to score goals. I won't change because I haven't scored in two games. I won't change because I'm getting a bit of flak. I'll still go about my business in the same way and hopefully start scoring goals again."

The first opportunity to do so presents itself this evening, when Boyd and Rangers make the short journey to the Falkirk Stadium.

"It's a chance to go and put on a performance and show we've had the wake-up call," he said. "Training has been bright and sharp and there's been no hangover from Sunday's defeat. With this game coming round quickly it gives us the chance to show the fans, the worldwide audience [watching on television], that this Rangers team isn't as bad as it's made out to be.

"If we're on our game from the Falkirk one onwards then we've got a great chance of still winning this league. It's going to be a tough league. I've said that all along but we've got the players in the dressing room that, once we start clicking, we should win the league."

Contextual targeting label: 
Football

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

254840