When the hordes of ‘deserters’ made their way out of Ibrox in that fateful spring/summer period of 2012, it became en-vogue for the club’s star players to break supporters’ hearts by leaving through the back door with Rangers receiving nothing for the vast majority of them.
Only a handful of senior players remained on Rangers’ books, including internationals like Carlos Bocanegra and Dorin Goian, not to mention Bocanegra’s international team-mate Maurice Edu. But all of them would leave not long after, and in both Boca and Goian’s cases, Rangers had to pay out their contracts to get their wages off the books.
And while veterans McCulloch and Alexander also stayed, there was one other who continued to ply his trade in Govan while at the peak of his years, a player who willingly sacrificed the best seasons of his career to stay at Ibrox. A player who could have got a cushy lower EPL gig like McGregor before him, but who chose not to. That player was of course Lee Wallace.
As such, his commitment to the cause and eagerness to give his best to Rangers at the cost of inevitable international caps will never be forgotten and yours truly will always have huge respect for Wallace and the conduct with which he has held himself in, both on and off the pitch.
However, few could deny that the past 18+ months of performance from Rangers’ captain have been patchy at best and average at worst. Indeed, I should assert the guy has never been rank rotten, but more and more fans in the past couple of years have accused him essentially of sleepwalking, of not being a great leader since gaining the captaincy and crucially not producing his best form, especially in the SPL.
As such the emergence of youngster Myles Beerman has come at a very interesting time for Rangers fans, our new manager Pedro Caixinha and Lee Wallace himself. The Rangers Academy youth product has broken through at the tender age of just 17 (just like the defender next to him did all those years ago in 2009) and has benefitted from Wallace’s month out with abdominal issues, and has gained widespread acclaim for his accomplished debut at Rugby Park, followed by an even more assured display in Aberdeen.
The fact Rangers simply have not missed Wallace and have been infinitely more robust down that side since Beerman and Danny Wilson joined forces really is the wee shake Wallace maybe needs.
Whether Beerman is ready for long-term selection in the left back slot is a matter of debate, but Wallace’s generally underwhelming displays since promotion have opened an unexpected door for the youngster, who really has impressed.
Many fans have observed the rigid nature of Rangers’ down the left with Beerman rarely out of position and Wilson closing any remaining doors shut down that side, and Wallace surely faces a bit of a battle to regain his mandatory starting slot.
This is healthy for Rangers, and in no way a slight on Wallace – this site is on record many times as praising his contribution and legacy; but a Club as big as us needs this kind of competition, and frankly Wallace does too – he has never had a valid competitor, aside Steven Smith who was only used sparingly and did not really set anyone’s heather on fire when he played.
But Beerman has garnered praise from all, and if his emergence into the first team gets Wallace to up his own game, it can only be a good thing.
Rangers finally have a good selection headache in that position.