League Cup – what second rate amateur cobbled together this third rate format?!

 Article by Richard Fillingham

At last, Rangers received a proper pre-season friendly game, which turned out to be a very disappointing, but highly competitive 1– 3 defeat against newly-promoted English Premier League side Burnley, who were far too well organised in defence, and much too strong in attack for us at this stage of our pre-season matches. It comes just seven days before we welcome Hamilton Accies to Ibrox for our long-awaited return to the Premiership, on 6 August at home, and the game will be televised on Sky Sports with a 12.30pm kick off.

The new League Cup concept was a huge flop for Rangers, playing four games in a downright brainless nine-day period. Which second rate decision maker put this third rate new format together? Mark Warburton was very scathing about the way everything was planned out and immediately it was revealed what was in store for his Ibrox side. He knew his club could do nothing to change it, as the decision was made and Rangers just had to get on with this ludicrous arrangement. Hopefully the powers at Hampden will see clearly that their ill-thought-out set-up MUST be changed before the start of next year.

I’ve got a good idea, why don’t we let a first-year primary school come up with a much better system, ‘Oh goodness’ – it appears that is what they did this year! Well I suggest that we try the second-year primaries to improve next season’s structure to the League Cup. Let’s be serious – you couldn’t possibly come up with anything so appalling as that fixture list they came up with this year. Who exactly is making the excruciatingly useless football decisions in Scotland, and should they hold on to their job? Scottish Football is a joke and bad enough without clowns in office making it worse. The only thing missing is their painted faces (see what I did there)?

The first foolish mistake was allowing Celtic, Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibernian first round byes, because they were appearing in European competitions. What was wrong with starting the League Cup campaign after their ties were played?! Was this move too clever for the bad planners? It would also have allowed every team in Scotland to prepare their pre-season games so much better. This year they were forced into a knock-out situation of four competitive matches, over a ridiculously short period of time, and it was also far too soon in the season to be eliminated out of one of only three major competitions in the season.

The second nonsensical decision was pairing Motherwell v Rangers for the first game of their League Cup campaigns, as it came far too early in their preparations, and then both sides were playing inferior teams after the two Premiership teams had met each other. This game certainly didn’t suit either team, which tells you that it was not the right way to plan it. The crowd was also very disappointing as it was at the start of the Glasgow Fair fortnight and lots of fans were abroad on holiday.

Playing against lower league sides, Stranraer, East Stirling and Annan Athletic, was not the ideal preparation for Rangers to be ready for their first appearance in the Premiership for four long years either. This was all due to the incredibly spiteful ban from SPL clubs who should have known better, and almost drew the SPL to its knees, and financial disaster – which really does serve them right, for being so short sighted!

That said, Rangers (and every other team of course) should have been allowed to find first-class opposition to play in pre-season meaningful friendlies. This way both managers can agree to play as many substitutes as necessary to enable as many of his new squad to get bedded into the team and more players involved in the various matches. Many English sides would have relished pitting their wits against this very talented new Ibrox team, and Rangers would have benefitted much more from playing against far superior outfits.

This would have left them so much better prepared for this highly competitive season, where let’s be honest, Rangers have to try and win the league from 1/4 favourites Celtic. Anything less than second place would not be accepted by Warburton, Weir or McParland after all the hard work they have put into signing all these new players. The least the fans will accept is reaching next season’s European placings, which would earn them some much needed money, for the still cash-strapped side.

This is perhaps the type of pre-season preparation that Mark Warburton would have preferred. An away game against Falkirk who gave us a whole lot of trouble last season would have made a decent start. Then another away tie against Tav and Waggy’s old team – Wigan. Followed by two Premier League matches like Everton and Burnley (or similar) at Ibrox, all before any competitive games were due, and without much travelling involved.

The current squad has seen nine first-team players added so far, and it looks to have much more strength in depth than last season. Warburton has stated that it’s not about his best eleven because, for him, it won’t matter this season. He plans to use every first team player during this new campaign. This means that he expects everyone to understand their role in the team, and to maintain their high level of fitness. With another centre back and striker, hopefully still to come, we a have a talented, manageable sized squad to deal with injuries and suspensions. We also have many versatile players in the side, and at last, after all the new signings, they all have a comparable quality. But they would have been better prepared for this season had the league cup format not been so poorly conceived!

What do Ibrox Noise readers think? Was the League Cup change a shambles?



  1. If we had beaten Hibs in the Cup final then it wouldn't have been a problem! That is where the problem lies, not with the Mickey Mouse set up of the competition. That will alwayys happen with the clowns that are in charge of Scottish Football

  2. The Scottish premiership is totally unfair as well… home and away fixtures aren't equal.

    Scottish football is genuinely very entertaining, sometimes more than the tactical crap we see down south but our league and cup formats are unprofessional.

  3. I have to disagree, I enjoy the new format, I woud rather see competitive matches no matter how mismatched than meaningless friendlys.
    Despite Mr Warburtons comments, the feedback has been mostly positive, I say give it a chance for a few seasons to see how it evolves. Personaly I would rather our manager concentrate on our defensive frailties which have been apparent to most through last season…… In truth, apart from the wrong line up in the cup final and to me at least a haphazard approach to signing defenders for the new season I am mostly happy with Magic Hats decisions and am optimistic for the season ahead

  4. What would have been the pre season build up have been without the league cup games to bed in the newbies……..a 10 day jaunt to the States with one game against a semi pro team, flights paid by NARSA and the players living in student accomodation….is this the best we can do?

    What second rate individual organised this third rate trip?

  5. So Clint Hill, heading for 38, will add experience and nuance to the back line…….unfortunately although the mind might be willing the legs ain't!
    I guarantee you he will be on the bench, at best, after having a new one ripped in the early games.
    Do we really want to see him and Kiernan lining up against the Tims in September?

  6. Mark and co only get one chance at this beat celtic too the number one spot
    or your out no more dreaming no more running no more hiding if we lose 6 games
    then it is gone the dream that is then Mark and co find a new job.

  7. 'At this stage of our pre season games'………ffs what pre season games?

    A kick about in the States with a semi pro lower league team, is that the best we can do?

    If you want to blame lack of games for Clint Hill's legs being done then I can hear this excuse being rolled out throughout the season.

    We will now have to bring in another centre half, Bosman of course, to replace the one who was brought in to replace Kiernan or Wilson.

    The age profile of the team is now completely warped so much so that half of them will need to be replaced for next season.
    Bear in mind if Celtic get through to CL proper, and a windfall of £20m plus, we will never bridge the financial gap. This time next year they will be setting off for 7 IAR, King will have vanished and in all probability so will Warbs taking his pensioners 11 with him.

  8. Half the squad will need to be replaced for next season….more Bosmans because we have no money.

    This season is our last chance before the financial gap becomes unbridgeable.

    If Celtic qualify for CL proper this season it's another £20m plus in the bank…..our turnover in the last published accounts was less than that figure.
    They can top up their squad in January whilst we will be looking for future soft loans to get us to the end of the season with not a replica strip in sight, nor a share issue as there is not a Nomad in the land who will do business with someone with King's rap record.

  9. I just read Celtic U20's took an easy 5 off Annan with the majority of Annan players who we faced and beat 2-0 a few weeks back.

  10. The reality is that this is similar to the section based league cup of many years ago which was always at the start of the season. The problem for Rangers is that they didn't have a properly organised pre-season.

    Celtic started their European campaign BEFORE Rangers and have played 3 European games as opposed to Rangers 4 League Cup games. I also assume that the Monday game was arranged to suit the Rangers v Burnley pre-season game otherwise the final league cup game would have been the Saturday – 4 games in 15 days.

    In the run up to the European games, Celtic played 3 friendlies against decent enough opposition but Warbuton chose to take Rangers to the US and play 1 game in that 2 week period against a 4th rate team. So this isn't the fault of the schedulers, it's the pre-season planning by Rangers that is inadequate.

    Next season, Warbuton can get some pre-season games against Celtic Colts – after all they trounced Annan 5-1 after 1 pre-season game whereas Rangers could only manage a "magnificent" 2-0 win against the same team.

  11. Heaven help us if Celtic play their under 20's against us in September!

    This is what happens when you have a sycophantic media extolling the virtues of Barton and Krankcjar against 3 teams of part timers and worse still the fans have fallen for it.
    As the earlier poster said we will have to bring in half a dozen players next season to replace the squad of oldies that Warbs has assembled…..and don't start me on Clint Hill.
    There is no money to spend on transfer fees and the rumours on the stands roofs won't go away and, of course, there is no end in sight to the various merchandising deals with the most likely outcome being having to defend breach of contracts claims from SD, Puma and 32 Red.
    Well done Dave.

Comments are closed.