Rangers v the SPL – in numbers


When trying to assess Rangers’ present squad’s chances next season in the SPL, the most useful data to take is previous results against opposition of that level.

Naturally this data is liable to a boatload of extraneous variables and none of it is absolute, but looking at the results since 2012 is probably the best way to actually measure how the team would stack up against that quality of opposition week in week out.

And having looked at the overall results, it is far from inspiring. Naturally the disclaimer is that fans would envisage further signings being made in the summer, to boost the team somewhat, but many supporters would have this present team fighting for a top four spot when the reality of results suggests such an achievement would be more than impressive.

Looking at the numbers, oddly enough the post-admin Rangers team’s best result and display was curiously enough its maiden one. The performance against then-Motherwell boss Stuart McCall’s second-placed high flying Steelmen really did give cause for optimism. That 2-0 result actually made both Kyle Hutton and Ian Black look like footballers, and it still remains far and away the most impressive match Rangers have had in three years versus SPL opponents.

If we look at the results and displays since then, it has been scrappy, unconvincing, and overall mediocre. And sadly that could include Mark Warburton’s efforts, for as much as his side play prettier football than previous managers advocated, the results remain underwhelming. And it is a results-based business, not a sexy football one.

Taking the results one by one:

Rangers 2 – 0 Motherwell win; Rangers 0 – ICT 3 loss; Dundee United 3 – 0 Rangers loss; Rangers 1 – 3 Dundee United loss; Rangers 1 – 0 ICT win; Rangers 1 – 0 St Johnstone win; Rangers 3 – 0 Kilmarnock win; Celtic 2 – 0 Rangers loss; Rangers 1 – 3 Motherwell loss; Motherwell 3 – 0 Rangers loss; Rangers 1 – 3 St Johnstone loss; Rangers  0 – 0 Kilmarnock draw.

Overall: four wins, seven losses and one draw.

Breaking that down further:


Four wins, six losses.


One loss and one draw.

The football has been night and day, but until Warburton manages to actually win against that level of opponent, questions have to be asked about this team’s capabilities against SPL opponents on a weekly basis.

The pressure is certainly on come the trip to Rugby Park – Killie were absolutely horrendous at Ibrox yet Rangers just could not breach their rearguard. They are likely to be a tougher prospect on their own patch even if domestic results have them equally as poor at home as they are away.

We can only hope all those shots from the Magic Hat’s side finally start finding the back of the net.

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  1. What is the point of this article? We will do just fine in the SPL we have proved against hibs that if teams want to play against us we will tear them apart our defence is actually starting to look good,the future is looking good WATP

    • I would say the point is that the McCoist teams fared better against top flight opposition that Warburton and I reckon this is because while being mercenaries they had the know how to deal with top flight opposition. Warburtons team on the other hand is enthusiastic and able to deal with most Championship teams but are found wanting at a higher level.

  2. Forget last year comparisons. Present team needs to be more direct and quicker to penetrate and shoot for goal. Far too much time given to opposing defences to rearguard in numbers. Zelalem , a young player yes, but out of his depth at fast, direct play setups. Should be making much more out of Barry McKay's speed and lay offs.The ball is played backwards and sideways far too often from forward positions. Very frustrating to watch. I hope O'Halloran and King show more determination to dig harder for goals instead of the present backward bias of possession football.

  3. when killie sets out to put 10 men in defence and play counter attack speaks volumes for the fear they have of attacking this rangers team. every team that has attacked us and not sat in a defence counter setup has been torn apart from our team. it is not easy to break a team down when the only time they leave their box is when the pump the ball up the pitch hoping to hit a lone runner!

  4. In MW I trust and everything we think about this present team that we are finding out about – well he knew already. If Martyn Waghorn is having another poor performance in the first half against Alloa or Kilmarnock, please don't take him off, just drop him into midfield where I think is actually his his best long term position, as he has dig, can see a pass and he can also make that pass. He can also score goals from midfield. I would also like to see both wingers getting into the penalty area more often and taking players on and getting penalties when the defenders mistime their tackles. Of course, we will get a lot of bad refs not giving them all, but it does give them something to think about and bring defenders yellow or red cards into the bargain. Some new, better players, should also become available for our return to the Premiership, to help this Rangers squad get much harder to beat and challenge for the league title. Hearts are third this year without buying a lot of better players than they had last year.

  5. Agree w magi. We need a striker though. Waggie is good and a great worker, but not clinical enough. Miller same but older. Let's hope we get a striker in the summer. Its all we really need, except Ball to sign for us!

  6. The premise of this article is a bit silly. We won't have this team come next season, so jumping to conclusion about what this squad will to in the SPL seems premature and ill-advised.

  7. Let's wait and see what our squad is like next season before we make predictions. I would be confident that Warburton and his barroom staff will identify the players we need and as long as the Board backs him to sign his first picks I reckon we will do very well

  8. There is no SPL anymore. When will you stop using the now defunct top league? It is the SPFL Premiership.

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