Starting Again Feels Good at Ibrox

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On the 24th of May something took
place at Ibrox to follow up on events of the 22nd of the same month which felt
thoroughly unprecedented to Rangers fans given the tumultuous chaos the club
had been engulfed in for over a year. On the 24th of May 2013 Rangers
supporters woke up to something rather unfamiliar:
Good news.
With one of the overriding areas
of discussion among the fans over the past season having been the aching
absence of good football, despite the collection of the SFL Division 3 trophy
Rangers fans had been thoroughly disappointed with the fare produced on the
pitch. Supposed ‘SPL stars’ like David Templeton, Dean Shiels, Francisco
Sandaza, Kevin Kyle and Ian Black had been an excruciating letdown on the
pitch, with only fleeting glimpses of quality from any of them.
As a result, the complete vacuum
of cohesive football was a real eyesore, with youngsters like Lewis MacLeod,
Barrie McKay, Fraser Aird and the ‘veteran’ Andy Little (cruelly blighted by
injury) the only real consistent performers. Even hardy Scottish internationals
like Lee Wallace struggled at times for a high level of performance.
It became apparent new signings
were desperately needed, and with the illegal embargo still in force, manager
Ally McCoist has been forced to only deal in the bosman/precontract market. So,
after the extremely pleasant revelation of soon-to-be former Kilmarnock
goalkeeper Cammy Bell’s official signature on the dotted line in Govan on the
22nd of May (potentially spelling the end for Neil Alexander), the
aforementioned 24th produced even more delightful follow-up news.
Long-standing target Jon Daly had
signed from Dundee United, and Motherwell’s midfielding Englishman Nicky Law
had also put pen to paper on a transfer.
Then 4 days later, on the 28th of
May, Queen of the South’s promising young striker Nicky Clark also finished off
the clutch of signings now reinforcing a struggling squad.
The feel-good factor these
acquisitions have led to cannot be underestimated. Yes, there are still many
off-pitch issues still to be resolved, but for now, for once, fans genuinely
have something to look forward to.
It is true these signings are not
the calibre of old, of course they are not. The days of signing a Brian
Laudrup, a Paul Gascoigne or even a Dado Prso are long gone. Maybe they will
return one day, but for now getting decent quality SPL players is the best
Rangers can do, and the truth is after the atrocious performances which
punctuated last season, the idea of players of a better level who can produce something
more exciting is a truly inspiring notion.
Right now the first team is
potentially Bell, RB, CB CB, Wallace, McKay,
MacLeod, Law, Templeton, Clark, and Little.
Daly may well fill in at CB but what is clear is that while defence desperately
needs loving attention, the rest of the team is pretty much finalised. With
Honduran international defensive midfielder Arnold Peralta strongly reported to
be joining the ranks later this week from Vida in his homeland, the first team,
defence aside, is starting to take pretty effective shape.
But let us not ignore that back
line. The clear Achilles heel of the team last season, the dismal flops that
were central defenders Ross Perry and Emilson Cribari are clearly not up to the
job of playing for the club, and Anestis Argyriou looks like he does not know
what country he is in at right back. With speculation about Motherwell’s Tom
Hateley as a new right back, that would shore up a problem area. But the middle
remains a real bugbear.
Many suggestions have been put
forth by supporters. Yours truly ran a poll to gather suggestions of potential
signatures that could sort the curtain at the back. Hibs’ Wetherspoon, Hearts’
Zaliuskas, Cristophe Berra and even St Mirren’s Darren McGregor were all
mooted.
For now it is feasible, assuming
Peralta’s signature is captured, that he, along with McCulloch and Daly are the
3 players proposed to fit in there. With none of them experienced defenders by
trade, it is a kamikaze solution. Some address the issue by raising the name of
Canadian youngster Luca Gasparotto. But with the area such a sensitive subject,
is it fair to put such first-team high pressure on a fairly untried youth
player? He is admittedly a Canadian international but Rangers is a much more
pressured business.
Last but not least there is the
outside possibility that Carlos Bocanegra and Dorin Goian might possibly desire
a return to Ibrox. But given both crave international football and the SFL
Division 2 is so low in quality, this is clutching at thorough straws.
Defence is a real problem area
but the rest of the team is not. And that is undeniably good news. McCoist
still has work to do to finalise the selection of players that will protect the
goalkeeper, but the fact the rest of the team looks frankly in rather good
shape is rather enjoyable. The only downside is Rangers fans were initially
similarly impressed with the ultimate flops signed from Scotland’s top
flight last season. Furthermore a former Napoli defender, a Lyon
stopper and an AEK Athens RB looked pretty good on paper. But paper is not
where the game is played.
Here is definitely hoping the new
signings show up the old ones. And that there are more to come.

1 COMMENT

  1. There's loads of big no nonsense centre backs in the lower English leagues , surely this is where our scouting set-up should be looking for bargains . They always seem to be looking in Brazil or Mexico or some other exotic place where they can get a nice holiday for a few days !

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