Why Rangers Aren’t Ready for Life in the Championship


“The prospect of a big club like Hibs
coming down worries me. No-one has a God-given right to win games. I’ve already
said it will be a hell of a competitive and interesting league.
We don’t know who will be coming down and there is a few twists and
turns to come out of the next two or three weeks, which I’m looking forward to
Hibs have been mentioned, but there are three or four of them down
there fighting to avoid that play-off place, so it will make it really
interesting for our league next year whoever plays in that play-off and ends up
coming down.”
Ally McCoist – 21/04/2014
Well, now that we know exactly who Rangers will be facing, the
harsh realities have begun to sink in and the scenario of playing several
SPL-quality clubs next season is now the task Rangers face.
The simple question is ‘are
Rangers ready?’.
There are three main aspects to a
football team – form, personnel, and manager. We will look at these and analyse
whether or not Rangers, as the team presently stands, are well-equipped to deal
with the rigours of life in the Championship, or if Rangers supporters are in
for a long and painful season.
If the tail-end of 2013/2014 and
pre-season are anything to go on, the miserable answer here is no. After a
flurry of decent form in January and early February, there has barely been a
single performance worth remembering in around five and a half months.
Obviously one of those months was the World Cup, so in four substantial months,
including the second half of February, March, April, May and the pre-season
thus far of July, it is fair to say Rangers’ displays have been consistently
From Mohsni and McCulloch’s
hapless partnership in defence, to the invisible Law and increasingly
ineffective Black, before we move onto the exhausted Daly and pointless Shiels,
we can see, performance-wise Rangers have been in disarray for effectively half
a year. Even the mighty Lee Wallace, normally such a stalwart at the back for
the Club, suffered himself a sub-par season overall as well.
And of course there is not
forgetting David Templeton whose name is probably in the Oxford dictionary next to ‘inconsistent’.
Occasionally brilliant, frequently anonymous.
There is, however, the distinct
disclaimer that Lewis MacLeod, such an exquisite prospect in the middle of the
park for Rangers, had a major injury blow tail end of January and did not
return till pre-season. This did coincide with said loss of form but is it an
appropriate excuse for seasoned SPL veterans like Nicky Law et al that the
absence of 19-year old MacLeod decimated their own form? Can such experienced
pros possibly ascribe any of the poor displays down to his loss rather than
their own simple lack of form?
Major changes are taking place
here. Already confirmed as back on Rangers’ books are former Ibrox strikers
Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller, and they have been joined by St Mirren’s Darren
McGregor and Hearts’ old boy Marius Zaliukas, while his former team mate Ismael
Bouzid remains on trial.
Outgoing are keeper Scott
Gallacher, with Ross Perry, Chris Hegarty, Emilson Cribari, Andrew Mitchell,
and Andrew Little all joining him in departing Govan.
On Rangers’ ‘roster’, as the
Americans would call it, the number of SPL-quality players clearly outnumbers
those who are not. Boyd, Miller, Bell, Foster,
Wallace, McCulloch, McGregor, Zaliukas, Law, Black, Templeton, Smith and Daly
to name just 12 players are good examples of those who have vast experience of Scotland’s top flight. There are
many more.
There are also a decent number of
players in Rangers’ ranks too who are good enough to cope at that level too,
such as MacLeod, McKay and McAusland.
So in terms of personnel, the
Ibrox men are well-equipped. The only thing missing truly in terms of player is
a top-class defensive mid. Rangers’ only attire there are Black, Peralta and
This is the sticky area for sure.
No one expects Rangers to play like Barcelona
every week, but manager Ally McCoist really has struggled with basic formation
and tactical issues ever since he took over. His debut season saw the Club rise
to 15 points ahead of Celtic in the SPL, but that was mostly down to the
ridiculous form of Steven Naismith who was effectively doing the job of three
players in one. When he suffered his season-ending injury the lead was
obliterated within a month. McCoist was unable to fix his absence, and since
then Rangers’ performances have been mostly shocking, in truth.
Yes, the wins have completely
outnumbered the draws and defeats, but if ever there was a case of ‘gritty win’
week-after-week McCoist’s Rangers are guilty. For the quality of player at his
disposal, McCoist cannot squeeze out a convincing XI which consistently
performs. Basic tactical errors and square pegs in round holes punctuates
McCoist’s management style, and I will not even start on Lee McCulloch’s
persistent presence in the team.
Rangers fans by and large respect
McCoist and will always remember him as a truly incredible player for the Club,
and for his loyalty in remaining at Ibrox during, frankly, deeply disturbing
times for the Club. That he even drew publicly sympathy from then-adversary
Neil Lennon shows just how much McCoist suffered for the club he loves.
But Ally has shown time and time
again that he is not cut out for the role at Ibrox, and no matter how much
bluenoses want him to succeed, it looks like a failing endeavour.
In terms of personnel, yes, we have the tools at our disposal. They are
SPL-quality in the whole and the Championship is not as high a standard as the
SPL, so these players should be able to handle the challenges of next season.
Alas the management and form side of things seem inextricably
linked and are the Achilles’ Heel of Rangers. With McCoist unable to concoct a
consistent formula which works that ineptitude filters through to the players
whose form has taken aforementioned dramatic nosedive. The initial ‘trialist’
period was good, then the team struggled its way to January, with the
occasionally bizarre outstanding display, such as the 8-0 over Stenhousemuir.
But McCoist has completely failed
to blend together a team to produce anything like what their reputations would
suggest, and overall the final verdict can only be that 2014/2015 will be a
horrendous struggle.
I sincerely hope to eat my words.


  1. I think you have been very harsh on almost everyones favourite Ranger.
    Every manager of Rangers has had tough decisions to make, but none until now have had to deal with the catastrophic happenings of the club which Ally has had to put up with: Not even close.
    Yes he threw away a large lead (9 points after the two games in hand for the non-indigenous), but not only did he lose Naismith, the club sold the other striker in form Jelavic, to Everton at Christmas. Add to that the absolute turmoil within the club, which made it virtually impossible to operate properly. We went into admin six weeks into the year, that didn't happen overnight, putting pressure on worried players and managing staff.
    I agree that some or most of the stuff from Feb last season was woeful. I fell asleep at Brechin in the sunshine, but the league was won by then.
    We need to leave the negativity to the biased media and the plastic paddy legal eagles.
    Judge the manager when the competions start. Don't put doubt in the peoples minds before a ball is kicked.
    Get behind your team. Buy your ticket and help the Rangers.
    On Rangers On.

    • Just say rangers were still in the spl would you put up with allys tactics cause the guy stood by us through the turmoil doesnt mean we owe him anything if he isnt good enough for the job ,just like john greig great servant and player for the club crap manager

    • Fell asleep at Brechin, wow must have been good to watch, if the league was won why were the younger players not being given games then you probably would have stayed awake. McCoist was taught the management game from (as the Everton Supporters call him) boring Walter Smith & McCoist is no better. Players being played out of position, a player being sent out on loan to the league above, the John Greig joke Tactics are mint sweeties applies.

    • He lost virtually his whole team and has had to build a new one from scratch with no money for transfer fees. He's won both leagues easily. By the time we're back to the Premiership next year we'll have a bigger budget and more players. He hasn't had the luxury of time to put together this team, he's had to work quickly. I'm sure the performances will improve, especially after seeing the preseason games show much promise of good attacking football.
      This is not the team of '08; it'll take a while to get back there again.

  2. So the season you mention with naisy jelavic Etal the players picked the formation ect themselves and had them.playing the way they were give the man the right tools then ask questions not just bunch of tools who most likely were short term get me to the spl singnings just him.this term

  3. 800.000 grand a year to manage in the lowest league in britain he then says he never looked at the contract and would take a cut and try and survive on 4000.000 grand only if it goes back up to 8000.000 grand if he gets us back up im sorry the guys buying season books are my legends

  4. We'll still win the league by at least 10 points – but that won't be enough for some…Ally is damned if he does & damned if he doesn't – he can't win – what would people have said if he played a bunch of youngsters 2 seasons ago and not get promoted? I bet the guys who cone crying about the lack of youngsters being given a chance would have been the first to slaughter him…I'll judge him when we're back in the top division. And to be fair to him – with the exceprion of one or two – our youngsters are crap – and that's not Ally's fault – he's never been a youth team coach…

  5. I fear this is going to be a terrible season for all sorts of reasons.

    Firstly I think the Board are going to sell Murray Park and maybe sell and lease back Ibrox itself. Either that or we face another administration and a huge points penalty.

    Then I think the team will struggle and Ally will be sacked by New Year.

    Then I think Hibs and Hearts will be the two teams to get promoted leaving us to face another season losing money.

    The quicker the Board goes the better.

  6. They would have said "at least he tried" come on, he was and is being paid absurb money to play very poor part time opposition. You are have a laugh if you believe this is a/ good value and b/ if you believe this manager who is a Rangers legend can make us great again as manager!

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