Why Rangers’ Scouting and Youth Systems Have Failed

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On the 29th of March
2013 Neil Murray was suspended from Rangers by Charles Green, for ‘reasons of a
sensitive nature’. Murray was the chief scout at the club, and I have reason to
believe his suspension was related to unauthorised payments (these are generally
known as ‘bungs’) he received for recommending particular players to the
powers-that-be at the club. It was widely reported the suspension related to
summer 2012’s transfer window, and given the disastrous tenures of the likes of
Kevin Kyle, Francisco Sandaza and Anestis Argyriou, my information certainly
does not lack a device for containing water.
However, the ins and outs of that
unsavoury affair lead me to a big issue at Ibrox: following Murray’s suspension then subsequent departure
from the club, the scouting network at Rangers has a problem; it does not
exist.
Ally McCoist is on record as
being absolutely disgusted by the lack of Murray
being replaced with a credible scouting unit, and he said this in February:
“Like everything else, it’s been put on
hold until the business side of the club has been looked at, so I can
understand that.
We are getting games covered in terms of watching future opposition,
but that’s all we’ve got. Before, we would have had four guys down at games in England, maybe other guys in Europe
watching games, which is the norm for a top club. 
We don’t have that at the moment. Effectively the scouting system is
just about at rock bottom. Graham knows the concerns we all have for the
scouting system and how important it is at this particular time.
It’s arguably the most important time in the club’s history for the
scouting system to be at its best. I’d far rather be in a position to
strengthen to move forward, not just for next season but for longer term as
well.”
That was four months ago and
still a structured recruitment system is yet to be put in place. As McCoist
rightly says, this is a critical juncture in the club’s history to move
forward, yet the lack of scouting and being able to build properly severely
hinders that.
It is true that the club
effectively cannot afford lavish infrastructure of this nature, so I am by no
means being naïve about it. But the fact remains no club of Rangers’ size (or
modestly smaller) should be without, at the very least, a basic one. A new
scout, at a moderate wage (£50-£100,000) could at least take that task and
deliver it professionally without completely shattering the bank. An ex-player
we can trust, or even Walter Smith himself doing what he does best possibly
even on a voluntary basis.
Furthermore, these internal club
structure failings do not end with scouting. The youth system too has a lot to
answer for. I am aware of at least one ex-director who ploughed up to a million
plus into the Rangers’ youth scheme, cash which was ring fenced and locked down
for that exclusive purpose. Yet we look at the first team today and the only
product from it to consistently appear is not even the best young player
available; Fraser Aird. Of course there is Lewis MacLeod but he remains unavailable
through a mystery illness.
But those two aside, none of the
young players of the past two or three years have cemented their place.
Regardless of how they have performed, the likes of Callum Gallagher, Barry
McKay, Robbie Crawford, Kyle Hutton, Chris Hegarty, Robbie Crawford, Darren Cole, Andrew Mitchell,
Luca Gasparotto and Kyle McAusland have either faded away, exist on the fringes, been loaned out, or
had their deals entirely terminated.
For potentially up to £1,000,000
this is an absolutely dire return, and fault has to be at the door of McCoist
for refusing to really give these players a chance. Furthermore, his excuse re:
McKay of not wanting to ‘burn him out’ (possibly applicable to all young
players?) was clearly misleading at best given how Aird and MacLeod have, when
fit, always played.
McCoist’s management of the fruits of Murray Park seems
inconsistent at best and distinctly poor at worst, so it seems a bit odd that
he would worry about being “in a position
to strengthen to move forward, not just for next season but for longer term as
well”
when his refusal to truly use youth at this time contradicts said
worry.
Add to that the aforementioned weak (non-existent) scouting
system at the club and one cannot help feel that an opportunity to rebuild the
club around solid football principles and management has been badly missed.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I agree. McCoist has his strengths and weaknesses, but missing the opportunity to build a team around a nucleus of 4-6 youth players in the first team and another 4-6 in the squad over three seasons before we return to the Premier League is a bad mistake.
    One we may have to pay dearly for to rectify

  2. It is a disgrace that young players have been given the cold shoulder by McCoist.Is Peralta a better (winger)than Barry McKay or Foster better than McCausland?Is Moshni better than Gusparrato?The list could go on.We have watched with despair and disbelief what has sufficed for football in the last two years.I ,for one, cannot see it getting better under Ally @ co.their salaries are also a major drain on the club .Look at the results Hearts are getting now owing to being forced to give youth a chance?Lets stick with one up front(Jon Daly) he is deceptive,he is actually slower than he looks.

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