Defence in place – Mark Warburton, it’s over to you…


All summer long Rangers fans, myself, my colleagues and everyone connected with the club screamed for ‘a new centre back’. It became something of a running joke on social media, with fans patiently waiting for news of anyone being signed to shore the backline up.

Finally, at long last, on August the 31st, Rangers secured the services of 50+ Swiss cap Philippe Senderos, a 31-year old World Cup, European Championship and Uefa Champions League veteran with experience of three of the best leagues in Europe, namely England, Spain and Italy.

It was what pretty much every supporter wanted – a top class defender, an alpha leader with bags of high-end experience as opposed to an ancient past-it fogey who could not lead sheep.

In the end, Rangers now have a pool of four defenders; Philippe Senderos, Rob Kiernan, Danny Wilson and Clint Hill. It is not exactly an embarrassment of riches – Senderos is a certain starter, and the debate is now who partners him – Ibroxnoise is on record as advocating Danny Wilson as the man who deserves the run alongside the new boy, given Hill’s evident weaknesses and Kiernan’s obvious mediocrity.

However, whoever Mark Warburton selects as the permanent duo, therein lies the conclusion – the Magic Hat now has the tools to work with, a top class defender and the potential for a reliable partnership with Wilson – and from here on in Rangers supporters will complain a lot less about the quality at the back and expect the tactical system to finally do its job.

And that, ladies and gentleman, rests solely with our manager.

To date Warbs’ system has basically failed at every level at the back – no organisation, no cohesion with midfield, and no protection. It was far less exposed last season, and indeed many thought that defence would be adequate for the leap up to the SPL. Clearly it was not, and evidently thought has been required to upgrade it – and that is where the former Arsenal stopper comes in.

At least on the pitch, anyway. Otherwise, it is down to Mark Warburton to now properly organise his tactics, his system, keep the shape, and avoid his XI being sucker punched every two minutes – he has two defenders with Champions League experience, two defenders who have played for their countries, and there is now the potential for a partnership which can do Rangers justice.

But it needs the system to support it.

Only time can tell if Warbs can adapt his tactical approach to help out the defenders, to give them protection, and make Rangers look like they can actually withstand pressure.

Or will yet more defenders end up looking silly by a system which leaves them permanently vulnerable?

Senderos certainly has a baptism of fire in eight days when he will surely line up at Parkhead for the Old Firm clash, and there is certainly an aspect of slack to be cut him – but given he has experienced the Milan derby, the North London derby and international football of the highest level, he should be able to cope.

It is whether Warbs’ system will, that is now the question.


    • "To date Warbs’ system has basically failed at every level at the back – no organisation, no cohesion with midfield, and no protection" Oh aye, iforgot that teams have been putting five past us every game!!
      Whay is there so much negativity in your atrticles? He has not 'failed', we are doing ok for a newly promoted team. We are undefeated this season, granted we have not played well, but i do believe the fans need to choose their words more carefully. Four year ago we were almost extict, lets get behind Warburton once again and enjoy the fact we are back in the top flight.


    • Iain that is in 4 matches against probably the 4 worst teams in the league though – a bit of context does no harm. As an aside did anyone hear that twat McLeish last night on BBC?

    • mcleish is a honest man he.s only saying what ally and walter said also sir david lets put this behind us and look to the future in king we trust

  1. I'll wager he won't play against celtic. It will be Wilson, Keirnan and Hill. A more defensive approach playing all 3. Just watch…

    • You're having a laugh. Hill is a waste of a jersey. Playing Hill would be like handing Celtic a two or three goal lead. He is about the slowest player I can recall, more like watching a McCoist player! He turns his back on the ball and his cowardice in facing teh ball risks a penalty every time. I don't understand why he is at Ibrox but I can't see him playing except in a dire emergency. There is absolutely no logic whatsoever to him being chosen ahead of our other three centre backs!

  2. i dont think we are going in the right direction, transfers at five before midnight are not well thought over, neither getting 30-something guys really pays off. barton, hill kancjar senderos are guys for one, two seasons not any more, we should focus on long term building up the squad. this season we have no fecking chance fo the title, next year as well. those who think otherwise are deluded. celtic spending power and their squad is beyond or reach. this is a sad truth, but this is the truth, we should come to terms with it. id like warbo to focus on long term evolution of the team. guys mentioned above dont have legs to compete, simply. ofc there is dodoo rossiter, but warbo prefers 37 kenny miller anyway. thats a shame

    • He has brought in more young players and done more to organise a Youth Team than any of our other managers in the past 30 years. Warburton, unlike most of his processors does not have the luxury to sign pretty much anyone he wants. Would you really rather have us do what Walter did and waste silly money on donkeys like Lafferty and Prodan!

    • Who was the last minute signing? The guy on trial for 2 weeks? The guy who is out of contract so can sign next month if he likes? Rossiter, dodoo, mckay, holt halliday ohalloren forrester… I see what you mean about all these old guys pmsl.

    • My team against the old firm – Foderingham, wallace , senderos , Wilson , tav , McKay , kranjcar , halliday , Forrester , garner , waghorn . I predict a riot and the mighty bears victorious.

  3. It is possible that 6' 4" Matt Crooks could partner 6' 3" Senderos, after Matt gets his full fitness back in a few weeks, but too soon for the Celtic game of course. Matt has played in the last two U20's games at centre back, so Warburton is looking to see if he fits the bill in that position. He usually plays in the holding midfield role, but I really like young Rossiter (who is a player), in that position. As you say, it is up to MW to make all the right decisions, as that's what he is paid for.

  4. I can't understand Warb's thinking. Our defence was clearly the area that needed the most improvement yet we signed Hill – who is as bad as Kiernan & Wilson, Hodson as full back covér and finally Senderos who was struggling to find a new club. Surely he should have made building a tough, defensive unit a priority. On another note, have Barton & Rossiter – 2 supposed, quality, defensive midfielders actually provided the back-line with substantive cover – seeing Barton stripped for pace at Killie's goal was as lament able as Kiernan & Hill's positioning to cover Boyd- surely the slowest centre forward in the league. You've got to ask – Davie Weir, what's his role? Can't he impart some of his vast experience onto Wilson & Kiernan or are they just what most fans believe- beyond redemption!

  5. I don't think Warburton or Weir have a clue when it comes to defending. Giving Kiernan a new contract and signing Hill clearly shows their lack of understanding what defending is all about.
    The midfield is also a worry, Barton should be dropped and a more energetic midfielder should be utilized. Warburton should practiseing what he preaches and give youth a chance in this area.

  6. If Hill is anywhere near the team v Celtic we are in for a real hiding.How we ever signed him is a mystery to me.
    The WORST CB we have EVER HAD

    • don.t u remember big amo come on son hill is a player warbo knows what he.s doing have we been beat with hill in the team no so can.t wait to see hill and seneros on sat in king we trust

    • Willie I do not agree mate , hill is a good player , he has hit a wee low . Give the guy a chance . As for the other comments on here about him have you all forgotten he scored twice this season already ( that's right he is a centre back ) . I am over the moon with the signing of senderos top class defender and will help this defence big time , Wilson should be his partner in crime .

    • If Hill starts next weekend we will be rag dolled by the Tims front line………Hill has no pace, Griff will be running g past him as if he's not there.
      Will be another Ricksen type sub at half time with us already four down!

  7. The difficulty for Warburton is that during his Brentford days he played a counter attacking style of football that got him into the championship playoffs unfortunately going out to Middlesbrough. His defence was set up to soak up pressure.

    At Rangers Warburton has come in realising counter attacking football isn't what the club or fans want. He's struggling to set our defence up in a dominant football style…

    Senderos, I have my reservations but I sincerely hope you you do well!!

  8. as a blue nose living in London and having a keen interest I arsenal I would warn that senderos is not the class act that some of you guys seem to think !!!

    • If the manager gets the team sheet right and they play to his instructions and play to there best ability we will destroy the scum .

  9. Agree Gerry that xactly wat I think we shud play against the manky mob, gk anyone of the two, LB Wallace RB hodson CB Wilson & senderos, LM windass RW tavenire CDM rossiter,CM Halliday, CF waggy & garner. Wud have liked a bit of height in CM position in crooks but he won't b fit. Push tav up cos that wer he really hurts opposition n can put in dangerous crosses into box for 2 forwards. Waggy can always drop bck to CAM if needing a Wee bit extra in middle of the park.

  10. I think we have to take anything Warbs says in future with a large pinch of salt.

    Repeating the Level 5 lie about Lescott ' s family being the reason behind him walking away and two days later signing for a Greek team has been shown to be a total fabrication.

    DJ will be lucky if Lescott doesn't sue him for once again repeating the failed medical lie.

    There is no transparency.

    If the £5m loan taken to repay SD was secured against ST sales, then we are in a bigger financial mess than anyone thought.

    Where is the money coming from after Xmas to keep the lights on?

    The fines due to the SFA and SPFL remain unpaid, unless the SPFL have deducted their's from the first tranche of TV monies paid in August.

    No transparency, no Nomad, no listing , no investment.

    Level 5 and King have filled the media with good news puff pieces which the fans have lapped up.

    That will stop abruptly next Saturday if we come away from the East End with a hiding…………..let's face it even a narrow defeat will put us 7 behind, they will win their game in hand, with Aberdeen away later in the month.

    It's a scrap for 2nd, 3rd or 4th and Europa Cup next season and with no coefficient we will get a higher rated team in the first qualifying round……………if the Tims get another £30m boost with CL qualification next season 10 IAR will be staring us in the face.

    It's going to be a long, hard winter.

  11. No matter the result, no matter if we lose by 5 or win by 5 we will still be Rangers with the best supporters in the world who have followed their club through the good and very bad times. The other lot showed their loyalty prior to the McCann years with more empty seats than you could could shake a big stick at just like last season.
    Trust in Warburton and give him time. WATP

  12. In benidorm to watch this i think we can win but its all down to who comes out fighting hardest on the day and the guys just need to keep the pressure on the unwashed half. keeping their heads up and good fast passing will win the day.

  13. Hill is a liability and Senderos hasn't played a competitive game for months…….Griff, Forrest, Roberts, Sinclair and Dembele will have a field day.
    If we concede early it will be a cricket score, especially if we don't keep 11 players on the park…..are you listening Joey?
    A defeat next week and other results could see us drop to 5th place with an away game to Aberdeen next up……….league challenge over, 6 IAR a certainty and the Tims with enough money to improve again next season and qualify for CL again.
    They will be out of sight financially for ever.

  14. Go to yur own manky mob supporting site Sean . Wat would yur team b prob start way Craig Gordon in goal. Aw I the weakest team cos am Putin people in cos of ther name in Barton n kranjcar n its strongest bck 4 n front 2, middle of park well its all about opinions but u obv don't have one Timmy Sean !!

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