The three men who can overhaul Rangers


With an underwhelming season drawing to a much-needed end, thoughts have turned in earnest to next season and the changes needed at Ibrox to produce a more credible challenge at the top end of the table.

Already we have seen countless players linked with Rangers, with reports last night suggesting Aberdeen’s Ryan Jack was a done deal and manager Pedro Caixinha’s first signing for the new campaign. Indeed, Caixinha has subsequently moved to strongly big the Dons’ captain up, admitting he has scouted him and he hugely admires him.

But what of the existing squad? Many fans want it ripped up and started again; and who could blame them? With atrocities like James Tavernier, Martyn Waghorn, Joe Garner (yeah yeah he had a decent match against Hearts) and Michael O’Halloran blighting the group, it is no wonder a mass clear out is sought.

And yet there are three completely forgotten men in Rangers’ squad who have a serious bet of being part of a ‘new look’ midfield for next season, if, that is, all three can stay fit.

Jordan Rossiter, Niko Kranjcar and Matt Crooks are the intriguing three, three enigmatic puzzles to add to the Rangers equation that never really got any true chance to show their real worth, be it for injury or lack of favour, and, depending on how Ped views it, it is very possible all three could become critical parts of Rangers’ assault on the new campaign.

Rossiter’s career has been a stop-start injury malaise but then Steven Naismith had similar issues at a similar age at Ibrox – in reality he was out injured for more or less three years but finally gained fitness and became a massive component of the early part of the 2011 season. There is no reason a player of the quality of Jordan Rossiter cannot go on to have a similar impact next season – Caixinha is on record as seeing him as a big part of next year:

“Jordan has just started training again with the first elements of the session. He is clean. The imbalances are gone. It’s something for him to return to and have the confidence levels to be with the other guys. One entire season just seeing our physio Stevie Walker in front of him is not very pleasant but now he is returning with us and I hope he can start the season with us as well. Now that he’s back with the other players, even if it is only light work, it allows him to get the confidence levels, the rhythm and to be able to return to us for pre-season on June 5. He’s a good player so we are counting on him for next season. It will be like a new signing. With Jordan, Niko Kranjcar and even Lee Wallace, who has only played a couple of matches with us, we will restart the next season totally clean, which means it’s like new players are coming in.”

And as hinted, Niko is in there too. Kranjcar’s talent is undeniable. He is of the quality Rangers signed in yesteryear, if used properly. His vision and intelligence can be a huge asset to Rangers, with creativity a huge problem this season in his absence – like his colleague he is now completely fit again and ready to go and there is no reason why, if Rangers can keep him fit, he cannot become a huge player for the Club in the new campaign.

And last but not least Matt Crooks. Treated like absolute dirt by his ex-manager, then dumped out to Scunthorpe where he was showing his true worth before injury curtailed his season, the ex-Accrington man is a colossal player – a man-mountain who can surely do a job for Rangers. He just needs a bit of a chance and the belief from his manager. Maybe he will get that from Pedro, who knows.

Add the potential arrival of Jack and you would have to argue Crooks, Rossiter, Jack and Kranjcar feels a decent step up from Toral, Halliday, Holt, Hyndman and Windass.

But as with it all this window, time will tell.


  1. Rossiter would be a massive plus for us if he can stay fit, Krancjar has ability and Crooks, who knows, the guy has been jinxed with injuries at the most crucial times. Hopefully all three will be available and will prove their worth since that will only require us to sign another three or four first team players and then some squad players for next season!

    • Tom these three have cost us a fortune…time tae cut our losses me thinks. Out of the three I'd maybe hold on tae Crooks… for his height and physicality.

  2. Definitely spot on with this- all three need a platform. And surprise, surprise, I'd love to see Garner get a real shot at leading the line.

  3. Big question marks to be asked about all of them. Rossiter is a young player and nobody has seen enough of him to be able to say he will to make it as a first team player. Kranjcar needs to be fit and there must be questions marks over him having the legs to last games at any sort of speed. Crooks in his limited game time looked lackadaisical and did not appear to have the heart or mentality to play for Rangers

  4. Tav is a great player….just not a great defender, play him in midfield and he would do damage as he is good going fwd.

  5. I would like to see Tavenier pushed up to right midfield where he spends most of his time anyway. He is comfortable and creative on the ball and with a decent full back behind him he will be a player. Mark Warburton was so unfortunate with the injuries to Rossiter, Kranjcar and Crooks and the shifting of Barton. If those four players had remained fit we would be looking at a completely different Rangers today and with Warburton as manager. If Warburton had the players just being a little more direct at the right times we would have been fine with his pre season players all fit. We played teams off the park but had no end result. Before anyone jumps on the defence I am talking about the players pre season with a fit mid field.

  6. Yes all three have been off the pitch and never realised their best. This could also be said for Garner and Dodoo. They simply don't receive the ball in front of them and frequently have two opposition defenders breathing down their necks having to get past them to see the goal. Tactics are laughable for Rangers strikers. Too few goals scored and I don't blame Garner and Dodoo.
    Slightly off topic but why does Caxinha blabber on about Jack and get into McInnes's face before playing Aberdeen? Talking about another club's players should be a no no.He should stick to naming Rangers players or keep his mouth shut.

    • Agree entirely about Pedro keeping his mouth shut. Why is he riling Aberdeen players before the match. It kills me to say it buy I think Aberdeen are a shoo in to win at Ibrox tomorrow night. Hope I am wrong

  7. So, let me get this straight, our intention is to ask us fans to front up our season ticket money, allowing the club to spend around £1M at most, based on your article and possibly a reduction the wage bill, exactly right, if you are a business that is on the edge of being totally broke. Of course Mr King will be very supportive, he will free up some of his promised millions, even if it is just to pay some of the hefty bills coming our way, of course he will have also sorted, as promised , our merchandising issue, which will directly benefit our club, meanwhile our development sqauds will have been transformed from pretty abysmal results to world class because we are playing elite clubs in Europe, these hopeful articles are totally optimistic which I applaud, but come on, we need drastic action and it aint coming with Mr K in charge.

    • What bills are these? Are they not budgeted for? As for the development squad I hope these games against the elite are not glorified friendlies and are competitive or the prospects will learn very little.

    • Who the f*ck are you? Timmy in disguise?
      Nobody is talking about reducing the wage bill, except you.
      Most, not all, of King's promised millions have already been used.
      Merchandising issue depends on breaking Ashley's dodgy contract
      Development squad results have not been great, but squad is much younger than competitors, Do you want to win youth league or bring players through? Playing Europe's best will improve them
      What is the drastic action you want? Money spent that we don't have

  8. I think Crooks was treated very unfairly the boy was hardly fit and then thrown in against Hearts at Tyncastle . I think he deserves a wee break and given a proper chance to see what he can do or us

  9. Have a general footballing question that I can’t find an answer for. We’d all agree that Albertz’s hard shot terrorised defences the whole time he was with us; in the tunnel ahead of a game, the match was already part-won for us when teams saw him in our line-up; a hole appeared in every wall no matter how many players lined up to stop a free-kick; and every goalkeeper’s face told us that 90% of penalties were already scored before Jorg had touched the ball. That kind of shot is a massive physical, tactical and psychological weapon for any team to have. It also sells shirts like few skills can. So why do so few players have it? Is it a talent/natural ability or a learned skill? If it’s innate (personally don't believe it is), what is it about a person’s physiology/anatomy that gives them the ability to hit the ball with that force? Bone structure? Off the top of my head, the only players of note that I can think of in my lifetime who had this crazy power in their shot were Albertz, Ronald Koeman, Branco, Roberto Carlos and Jon Arne Riise. It’s interesting that all of them, bar Koeman, I think, were left-footed players. If it can be taught, why are there so few players coming through (around the world) who have this skill? Is it regarded by coaches as less important than e.g. dribbling?

    A reminder of what it can do –

    • Jorg.

      Der Hammer – what a player and yes you're 100% bang on with that statement. The big mans goals were vital to the Gers success. How many times that mob had outplayed us but the Hammer would bury one in the net. Not just against them but games we won 1-0 all down to that left peg..20 goals for a midfielder was unreal even Beckham never had that many..

      Getting back to your original question mate, my thoughts are that it's physiology but honed with hrs of practice hitting the sweet spot so to speak. I would like to think if any coach worth their salt would hone a player with that ability. It would be criminal not to promote a player whatever position they're playing – remember the GK from Venezuela he took the Teams set pieces penalties the lot..

      If you don't have that raw power it can never be taught if you don't have it. Just like a boxer some are pure KO merchants. Others can punch and can improve there power to a certain degree but raw power is a different level altogether.. Just my humble opinion Jorg

    • Jorg

      Your namesake Mr Albertz did indeed have a thunderous shot ad he had a quite unique technique as to how he struck the ball, but others also had an amazingly powerful shot, I'm sure many will remember the sublime left peg of Davie Cooper inflicting some irreparable damage to goal posts, bars and nets on occasion.

      The are of striking a ball so hard and so consistently falls to two things, but the most important one is the one you would not even consider….your standing leg, or the plant. The plant is critical to striking a ball correctly, planting your foot enables the body to turn and swivel on a firm platform ensuring the striking foot goes through the ball while your body does not waver from the intended plane, keeping your balance is key to it all and probably the most important thing, and something very few practice correctly.

      The other key to a sweet strike is the snap….or the movement in the ankle, similar to the wrist cock in golf. The timing of this is the second most important thing in the striking of a ball, and like golf, if its out a little it goes nowhere or not nearly as sweet if struck properly. Perhaps Jorg was gifted in both, or he had flexible ankles and could really snap through the ball, but it would be useless without a strong secure plant

    • 73 and Gordo, excellent points as ever. Can definitely see the connection with the boxing KO and golfing wing/strike. For sure Mike Tyson's success in the ring wouldn't have been possible without the natural strength he had; even at 14 he was knocking out adult pro sparring partners. The technique for striking the ball is also very interesting, Gordo. If only more of our youngsters would practice and perfect it. Watching big Jorg's free-kicks still makes the hair stand on the back of my head and brings a tear to the eye. Feel honoured to have seen the likes of him and Coops in Rangers shirts.

  10. Rossiter is worth holding onto as we've never saw what he is capable of doing fully fit with a good few games under him. Put it this way if he's a star turn next season then he's worth a good few quid because of his length of contract – good resale value. Crooks is worthy of a chance at least the Hearts game he was hung out to dry and made a scapegoat..He has the chance to improve and he's got a good shot on him too, something Rangers have been lacking for yrs..

    As for Kranjcar he's got one yr left on his contract even if he does get fitter no resale value at all..Free his wages and ship him out as we need fit young players to move the Club forward..
    The signing of Kranjcar not fully fit just shows how shite Warburton was, as he thought an unfit Kranjcar would coast it in the SPL.. Garner has shown glimpses with the right deliveries he can score, and yes one of the guys on here said if given the right ammo he'd come good – he was correct 👏🏼👏🏼 I still don't like his attitude and his wreckless challenges – Souness he ain't end of…

  11. What a load of RUBBISH…… Kranjcar and Crooks have been HORRENDOUS when playing…. Rossiter I hold back judgement because of his fitness/injury status….. Liverpool got rid of him because he did there what he is presently doing at Ibrox. We need a 90% CLEAROUT if we are serious about closing the gap with Celtic.

    • Crooks only played two games, one as a dm (which he is) and if I remember correctly got man of the match. The 2nd he was played behind waghorn as a striker… not exactly fair to judge

  12. Hae ScotsWhaHae, thanks for taking the time to read my post, your reply, well let me explain or ask you where, when and how much has Mr King given us, how much does he intend to give us this year, so far in the early dealings with players our wage bill is down do the sums, who have we let go or returned to other clubs and who have we bought, as for the dodgy deal (I agree it is bad for us), but a deal it was and is, unless I am mistaken, Mr King is on record as saying we will be out of the deal before the end of this season (great, he still has time), so perhaps I am wrong on this point, With regard youth, agree we need to develop as resutls at present do not appear to represent a good strategy, so the idea might work, however it is at best a few games, not sure it will improve our youth dramaticallt, which brings me to your drastic question, sorry if it was not clear to you, MR KING NEEDS TO GO hope it is now clear, oh by the way, thaks for your opening remark, really thought provoking and I applaud your incredible deduction, insight into my post, perhaps you will actually understand my post in the days to come, I only want one thing, to be enjoying watching RFC and looking forward with optimism, not wishing for good times based on false promises from our chairman. I WON'T LOWER MYSELF TO MY PROVIDE MY THOUGHTS TO YOUR OPENING SENTENCE. J

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