The forgotten few


On Sunday Rangers elected to start only four of the summer recruits, a number itself second only to the corresponding league fixture’s record which preceded it, when five of the new recruits took to the field that day in Glasgow’s East End.

At Hampden Rangers overlooked eight of the chosen signings acquired during the summer influx for various reasons such as injury, banning, or out of favour.

12 signings came in during this period, including the dream midfield Rangers fans were genuinely excited about in Joey Barton, Jordan Rossiter and Niko Kranjcar, with Accrington’s Matt Crooks also arriving at the Marble Staircase. Once again, for whatever reason, these players were absent or benched for Sunday’s clash.

Completely missing from the match day squad, Harry Forrester posted a cryptic snap to Instagram highlighting a train trip – was the creative midfielder (secured in January) trying to say something?

Just why is Mark Warburton sticking primarily with the players he already had from last season and using the new signings so sparingly?

One has to spare a huge thought for Joe Dodoo, Michael O’Halloran, Philippe Senderos, Matt Crooks, Lee Hodson and Forrester to name but six who just do not seem to appeal to Rangers’ manager enough to start them regularly.

Let us start with O’Halloran. Few would deny he did not have a great first season at Ibrox – arriving in January, he lacked a pre-season, and this was given as a great excuse as to why he was not being given a run. Many fans assured the rest of us his time would come and he would be a big player for Rangers this season. Alas, despite his impressive cameos (he is no Messi, of course, but he has been useful and managed to force two different defences into own goals) he cannot get a game. He arrived this year after months of hype, months of fanfare and a big transfer fee, but simply does not seem to be able to break through into this team regardless of his contribution.

Next there is Joe Dodoo. The lad has a great deal of potential, with surprisingly good movement and positional sense for such a young man, and has decent pace and undeniable strength. Sure, he is not Luis Suarez, but he equally finds himself on the bench every match.

Then we have Matt Crooks. Rangers are crying out for a big strong defensive midfielder with Rossiter perennially injured and Barton perennially Barton, and here is a giant, tough, aerially dominant ‘unit’ wasting away on the bench having been match fit for around two months. Warburton elects to stick with out of position Andy Halliday there instead.

Next up Lee Hodson. Quite simply the Northern Ireland international has been excellent in his few appearances. He is as good on the left as he is on the right, and was one of Rangers’ performers in Mount Florida. Yet despite his quality Warburton is not interested in using him frequently – instead sticking with the sadly out of form Wallace who increasingly becomes a liability with every passing match. And I love Lee Wallace, admire him greatly, and have nothing but praise for what he has given to this club – but starting him over Hodson is now a sentimental decision and not a football one.

Last but not least Philippe Senderos. Yes, he had two idiotic moments at Parkhead, but this is a 50+ Swiss cap with experience of Europe’s best leagues, not to mention its best competitions and that of his country, yet he barely features other than on the bench. Rangers fans cannot truly judge him as he has not yet started two in a row (unless one counts Linfield then Celtic). He must be wondering why he fought so hard to win a deal.

This is the squad Mark Warburton has built, and it is dysfunctional. He is not interested in half of the players he signed, and his judgement is questionable having brought in three injury-blighted players (Rossiter, Kranjcar and Windass) not to mention Barmy Barton and his ill-conceived pursuit of then-Villan Joleon Lescott.

This site has had a lot of stick for ‘negativity’ and being ‘run by Mutton’ – last season it got attacked for being so positive. See the pattern? Last season was mostly great, and there was much to work with. Things were going in the right direction. This season there is no sign of that, and we are calling it the way we see it.

Many ask what we expected. That Rangers could not have gone for the title, and even a top three slot would have been a challenge. Well, the mistake was then splashing the cash on players who Warburton clearly believed would propel Rangers to those heights. Are fellow fans really telling me we signed Swiss international Philippe Senderos, former England international Joey Barton, former Croatian international Niko Kranjcar, Norn Ireland international Lee Hodson and England U20 captain Jordan Rossiter to finish fourth?

To all those who try to reduce expectations; I partially agree, I did not previously see Rangers beyond around midtable this season – the problem is putting out big wages on big players who artificially inflated those expectations and made us all believe we might actually be top two. As many have said, the second biggest wage bill in Scotland really should be reflected in performances and the league position.

But it is not. We are seeing bad calls on signings, players not being used, players injured, out of form players continually starting, and essentially using last season’s team all over again.

It all feels very directionless.


  1. When we played Aberdeen that was the worst Aberdeen team I can remember and we still got rolled over and that is going to be the pattern for the rest of the season.A team with second highest budget for players should be competing for at least second place.Who in their right mind after this summer signings shambles would trust him with a anymore money to spend?There is going to be a simple equation for the board soon and it's going to be stick or twist on the manager and that will depend on results up to Christmas I hope he proves me wrong starting with tomorrow night

  2. Barton should never have been at the Club and no i did not cheer wher he arrived.Rossiter has played more for England than Rangers and i have no idea what the hell is going on with that one.Crooks had a more serious injury than expected but if he is not fit now he never will be.Senderos was a panic buy….enough said.Nico may not play again this year.If you are suggesting you have Mystic Meg balls and could have foretold these events then the entire medical and fitness teams might as well go home.I dont think you are.I think you are just having a pop at MW.why dont you kick a man when hes down.Support the Team

  3. I like this article it's asking questions most rangers fans are thinking. The matt crooks one is a real mystery to me harry forester too he started the season probably our best player. Now can't get a game where as Barrie McKay is playing every game when he is playing crap lee Wallace also this is starting to look like old pals act

  4. One of the best articles I have read since the new management team came in. I would like to add that if Gilks is missing from tomorrow night's game, then add his name to the above mentioned. Why are many of these players not given a regular place in the team. My preferences are Gilks, Hodson, O'Halloran, Dodoo and Garner, the last two as a similar McCoist/Hately pairing.
    Warburton can never get the best out of these guys if he can't use their strengths. Players love playing in what they think is their best positions. Many who are in the team are obviously not doing so.
    And before anyone has a pop at a Garner/Dodoo pairing through the middle, quite simply, why not? What on earth have we got to lose?

  5. Mr Warburton is not shrewd enough, not experienced enough and not good enough to be associated with the managers post at Rangers. OK last season was good but this was 2nd division. This season he has brought in a lot more rubbish than good players, OK he has to work with the finances he has, but he is drowning in the position of manager and it is noticable that his 'helper' Davie Weir, trys to dodge/stay out of match day pictures, probably aware that he is serving up rubbish. Really we would have been better using Ryan Hardie than spending 2 million or whatever on Garner….Think we need a change cause 4 3 3 every week is not working and the manager refuses to change to 4 4 2.

  6. I agree AMcC.When Dodoo was being brought on on Sunday I thought he was going to go up front through the middle with Garner.At that stage in the game with us tiring and the chances Selick missed it was a no brainer,but no,stuck out on the wing and done nothing.Body language doesn't lie.Warburton spent most of the game with his hands in his pockets when normally animated on the touchline,the players heads are down and Warbs after match ravings are becoming more outlandish.He's starting to look a bit Delia-esque for me.

    • The article doesn't really mention dropped players. The one's mentioned have not been given their chance.So let us give them it and for a few games to gain match fitness.Then we can compare performances.

  7. Great article glad Ibrox noise is back,on Sunday we were trying to play on the counter it was a game that was crying out for a forward with pace ie Moh we didn't get him what we got was a dreadful performance a team that could not pass the ball to each other and we were then told we are catching celtic.I will always support Rangers but I don't like being conned with pathetic soundbites we are honest when we front up for sea on tickets etc we should at least have honesty from our club.

  8. People watching the match on Sunday with me who weren't biased Rangers supporters like myself, pointed out how not up for it and lazy some of our players were. Dodoo was one of the worst offenders. We were lucky old diehards like Miller etc. played out of their skins that we weren't stuffed. We can hold our in that league at the moment, but that's where it ends.

  9. I agree AMcC. Dodoo and Garner playing as a strike partnership is worth a try, but it won't happen because Warbs refuses to play two up front. I'd like to see us sign Callum Paterson and a dominant centre half who clears his lines in the Marvin Andrews mould in January. I'd also like to see Hodson get a run in the team at right back until we hopefully bring in Paterson and then I'd move him to left back if Wallace hasn't regained his best form by then. I'm sick of hearing Warbs excuses, Tam Burns is right, he reminds me of Delia more and more with every interview!

  10. It's time to drop the useless,gutless mackay,questions need to be asked about Warburton and his signings,why are o'hallaron,dodoo,garner not getting games,why are rossiter, windass,crooks always injured,what's happening with Barton,where's Forrester and sendeross disappeared too,the performance against ceptic on Sunday was embarrassing and Warburton is becoming an embarrassment.

  11. Too many slow players. Too many in the starting eleven.

    All the nominal centre backs are slow. So we start with two slow players at the back. Warburton then plays the full backs up the park, exposing our slow CB's on the flanks.
    He then exposes them further by playing ONE slow defensive midfielder in front of our slow CB's. Barton or Halliday. Barton can tackle and is robust in a tussle for the ball, but quick players just hit the ball past him and leave him trailing. Halliday is slow, can't tackle and is a total lightweight who is hopeless in a tussle for the ball. He is useless.
    Dominic Ball was brought in to cover for Halliday last season. When he missed the SC final Halliday was back on his own and the old problems returned.
    Barto replaced Halliday and was ok with Rossiter playing beside him. Rossiter got injured again and Barton was left on his own. Celtic's quick players ran him ragged.
    Kranjcar is really slow. Could be ok with quick players all around him. It is utter stupidity to play him from the start, instead of off the bench. It is insane to play him with slow players behind him and beside him (Miller ON THE RIGHT SIDE, FFS).
    It is lunacy to be playing Kenny Miller on the right or left. he has no "tricks" and has no pace. Should be through the middle and off the bench or not at all.

    We must go 4-2-3-1. At least until we have some good quick CB's. Then we can go 4-4-2. When we sign Barca's two CB's we can try 4-3-3 again. Not before.

    All of the CB's must go as soon as we can find replacements. Halliday must go IMMEDIATELY. He has gotten away with it because he is "a Rangers man". Crooks, with Rossiter or Hodson must play as the DM's and the full backs must stay back and tuck in a bit.
    O'Halloran must play on the right. Forrester, our best player, must play on the left. We should give Windass a run in the middle until January. Then bring Jordan Thompson back from his loan period.
    Dodoo up front. Garner as sub.

  12. our summer signing spree was a disaster- garner 1,8 nae playing, barton 25k a week out of the club, krancar 15k a week injured till the end of the season, rossiter??? dodoo nae playing, crooks nae playing, only windass brought sth to the game..

  13. After every dismal display I hear "we need to learn from it…we always do"…So can someone tell me what Warbs is learning? Because as far as I can see it is the same predictable keep ball with no visibility or movement upfront in or around the box and bomb scare defending when they are actually in defensive positions and not caught upfield. Losing patience fast here!!! Was googling Big Eck into that what you will

    • Not sure Big Eck is the answer, he signed a lot of duds e.g. Fanfan and Bernard! Maybe Terry Butcher would get us defending as a unit instead of bomb scare defending, every time we have to defend a high ball coming into the box? If we don't win tonight we should change the manager, I'm losing patience fast as well

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