Rangers’ departures: the players for the chop

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With manager Mark Warburton confirming the high probability (nay certainty) that there will be further departures from Ibrox before the end of the transfer window, it is worth examining the likely identities of those vulnerable for the chop.

Warburton has started to exert a real stamp on the team, with a tangible system and structure, and over the first six competitive matches of the season there has emerged a glut of players who seem to be on the fringes of the first team.

As Ibroxnoise.co.uk brought you earlier in the window, Warburton confirmed Danny Wilson and Rob Kiernan as his first-choice central defence, and while many questioned this intensely and raised the issue of ‘Player of the Year Darren McGregor’ time and time again, the manager had clearly spoken and the former St Mirren stopper’s days were completely numbered.

Step-by-step here are all the other players who appear more exposed to the axe than the rest:

Fraser Aird.

This lad was disgustingly mismanaged by Ally McCoist, and it truthfully ruined him. That bright explosion onto the stage at Hampden with the winning goal v Queens Park seemed to spell the onset of his entrance to the first team, and while he did indeed retain his place, his ability simply deteriorated dramatically. Gone was the beating of a man, of the dribbling, and skill; in its place a shallow tap past the defender and attempt at outpacing him. Sources suggest Aird has been reconfigured as a right back, with Warburton said to have assessed him as simply not a winger, and he did indeed slot into defence during pre-season. But this lad is not featuring beyond bench residence and he is one of those looking at a loan away to quite simply try to find his own identity again.

Andy Murdoch.

One of the first actions Warburton took was to demote Murdoch to the unders. Rangers’ new boss could tell immediately the youngster was too green and was not ready to play at this level; this may surprise many fans impressed by him last season, but given the player he replaced was the abominable Ian Black, anyone would have impressed them as an alternative. And the reality was that he struggled during the playoffs. A decent reading of the game, and some good covering, but lacking the physique, pace, and sheer strength required for a defensive midfielder and needing further development. One for the future, and sources have him as exiting on loan to Cowdenbeath.

Marius Zaliukas.

Like McGregor, cited pre-season as mere depth and no more, the Lithuanian has never been a consistent first-pick, except in the playoffs where he impressed more than expected, and looks certain to leave before too long. He simply is not part of Warburton’s plans, and like McGregor is not the manager’s preference of defender. At his age it would not be a loan, but a permanent departure. Kilmarnock have been linked, and given their absolute atrocities in defence, his ability and experience would certainly be more welcome there now than Lee McCulloch’s ineptitude.

Nicky Clark.

Some may be surprised to see his name here, but at age 24 Clark would perceive himself to be in the best years of his career, and despite one start under Warburton and a goal at Ayr, he has otherwise been a permanent sub and may see his future as lying elsewhere if he is not to be a first-choice for this regime. Being blunt Clark, an honest enough pro, just has not impressed in his time at Ibrox. A lack of quality in front of goal while not having the off-ball or support game to compensate, the former Queen of the South striker may have had over 40 goals during his final season for the Doonhamers, but that has not been replicated at Ibrox. However, sources do claim Warburton believes he can improve Clark, so perhaps he will receive a reprieve.

Dean Shiels.

Another in Clark’s shoes – has struggled at Ibrox to assert himself, and like Clark came to Govan with a big-scoring reputation which he has failed to emulate. Been re-shaped into a link man in midfield but has had to do so mostly from the bench. At his age he may see himself as more than an impact player and might want a switch to a Club he is likely to start for more often than not.

Other possibilities are David Templeton (currently out injured) and Nicky Law, but the latter has been a first pick under Warburton despite not being a fans’ favourite, and who are we to question the boss’s judgement given the stellar start?

We shall see.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Sad to see McGregor go but manager knows best.

    I am surprised they didn't ask him to find a new club (anyone except Hibs) and then agree a free transfer when he found a club rather than just releasing him, potentially allowing him to go to Hibs.

    As long as they freed him before the window closed he could choose his own club so he wouldn't be in limbo…

  2. Why did we let McGregor go for free? surely we could have picked up a transfer fee for him, even 100k would have been better than nothing, even more so when we look at the likes of Zaliukas, Sheils, Aird and Templton (these are my suggestions for the chop although Aird might stay to cover RB) these 4 would all be worth something? granted not a lot but collectively the 5 players could have pulled in a decent transfer fee.

  3. Clarke shiels law Murdoch aird Crawford bell temps zaliukas can all go ..all allys lads all flops …..none would be missed

  4. aird could nae cross a road never mind a ball get him away but a would send Murdoch out on loan the rest we should keep until at least the end of this season.

  5. I am disappointed to see McGregor go, especially since it seems that he will now go to Hibs and for me it should have been part of his agreement when his contract was severed that he did not go to that shower because McGregor will improve that Hibs team and personally I wouldn't give Stubbs and his lot fresh air! As for the others mentioned I agree that Zaliukas should depart, (albeit that I am yet to be fully convinced by Rob Kiernan). As for the players that you mention going out on loan I agree on Murdoch who definitely needs game time and also needs further development since he like all our other players was starved of coaching under McCoist and McDowall.
    I have been encouraged by the displays of Law since Warburton arrived but he still needs to up his game, (which he is capable of doing), and he has only probably had any proper coaching in the past six months! As for Shiels and Clark I am struggling to see either of these guys make it. Shiels has football ability but seems to lack concentration and I am not sure that he has the killer instinct that is needed. Clark has failed to show the goalscoring ability that he possessed when at QotS and I can only hope that under Warburton's guidance he can reproduce this. He gets the benefit of the doubt right now because his development has stagnated since he arrived at Rangers and it is only now that he will be receiving proper coaching and motivation. With players departing I am concerned that we do not have the back up needed at full back and if we lost both our centre backs we could again have problems. We continue to have problems, defensively, in midfield and I would hope that Eustace is fit enough to sign and take up a position in defensive midfield. I would also like to see us sign a Ralph Brand, Jim Forrest or Colin Stein type striker; we are making the chances right now but not converting nearly enough of them.

    • I don't know what games you are watching but you are lucky to see Law for 10 15 minutes in any game I have watched the lase three years . Shite

  6. Can't believe we let McGregor go, I rated him. What's pissed me off even more we let him go to hibs especially after that prick Stubbs screwed us right over, we have just made hibs slightly stronger, poor decision by board very poor indeed.

  7. I hope we only lon Aird & murdoch out as i think these boys will come good, mebbe we could play them in cup games etc, I dont think we will miss Mcgregor he was honest but not good enough, As faor the rest, Zaliuskas,clarke,law,templeton [christ how much sh*te have we got] I would be glad to see the back of them, Its only now they are slightly [very slightly] raising there games now tat they feel threatened, I have faith in Warburton & I think he will do well for us

  8. i think they would have been better off keeping mcgregor, and let keirnan go, dont think he is a good as mcgregor, zaliuskas is a donkey, he will cost rangers points {if he ever gets another game

  9. I hope zaliuskas goes as I am not a fan. The boys Murdoch & Aird willhopefully get better on loan [look at McKay] Shiels,Temp,Clarke,Law etc Can go now as i really dont think we need them & it would be nice to save a few bob off the wage bill & maybe get somebody else in or another loanee, I cant actually believe im writing this as this time last year I woulda bit your hand off for TAV,WAG,ODUWA etc.
    It is indeed a good time to be a bear

  10. Sorry to see McGregor go but obviously Warbs. doesn`t see him as fitting in to the new style of playing from the back.It would be a bit hypocritical to stop him joining Hibs though …………if he is not good enough to play for us why should we worry about playing against him .Anyway maybe we don`t regard Hibs as a threat with or without McGregor.

  11. i like McGregor, but against celtic, Hearts, Hibs and mostly Motherwell, he was awful. W and W know what they are doing, although Keirnan will not do I know it's early etc but he is rank

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