Rangers’ return to training; who came back and who didn’t?

Rangers’ return to training; who came back and who didn’t?

Rangers’ players returned to pre-season training yesterday, after the much-hyped fortnight-only summer break the players were furnished with by disciplinarian boss Pedro Caixinha, and the big news was less about the new arrivals Caixinha is attempting to sign up, and more about the players who were and were not back at Auchenhowie for campaign 2017/2018.

With so much confusion about who is and is not leaving, the squad at Murray Park yesterday shed a fair chunk of light on who is most definitely not part of Caixinha’s plans going forward, and who may still be.

With common-knowledge that a great number of existing players are surplus, there has been much debate over which ones those are, and going by training yesterday, the presences of Andy Halliday, Martyn Waghorn, Michael O’Halloran, and Harry Forrester bode significantly well for their hopes of remaining at Ibrox.

Sure, it is only pre-season and much can change, but at least two of those were said to be as good as on the transfer list, so their return to Murray Park was intriguing. Equally, Josh Windass, mooted for a departure by some, was heavily involved yesterday and if his presence in the majority of Pedro-managed matches at the tail end of the season is anything to go by, the former Stanley man may well be, surprisingly, a retained cog in the Caixinha machine.

Similarly, there has been doubt over James Tavernier, but he was very much present for the first day back, giving a touch of credence to the view that he will be a part of next season, as has started to emerge over the past couple of weeks.

However, it was the big absences which raised eyebrows. Completely absent was Barrie McKay, Rangers’ supposed prize asset but who struggled on his maiden SPL season. He has been a weak performer over the piece, of whom much more was expected, and it does lend weight to the notion Rangers are looking to get a healthy fee for him. If there was some significant reason for his absence that we are unaware of, correct us in the comments, folks.

Swiss Philippe Senderos and Clint Hill were naturally missing, and despite the bizarre lack of it ever being officially confirmed, both are most definitely gone from Ibrox. This also seems to apply to Rob Kiernan, another one who had been absent for about a month of training before the break, and again was conspicuous by his absence again after it.

He is still under contract as far as we know, but unless it has been torn up in quiet, it is likely the club and his agent are working hard on getting him a new gig elsewhere.

Lee Hodson was away on international duty with Northern Ireland, but it does seem his Ibrox adventure could be coming to an end anyway, regardless of the high regard many fans hold him in, and it seems Caixinha is in no way interested in either him or Matt Crooks, the fit-again DM who wants a switch to Scunthorpe. He too was completely missing from the session.

Beyond all these, the regulars were back – Joe Garner, some believing he was a target for PNE was accounted for, as were Joe Dodoo and Jason Holt, not to mention young David Bates and old stalwart Kenny Miller.

And last but not least the thoroughly welcome sight of Jordan Rossiter and Niko Kranjcar in full training again and fully integrated back with the squad. Not to mention the returning Lee Wallace, over which a little doubt clouds regarding the captaincy.

Some fans wish Alves to be given it, or even Ryan Jack – Wallace deserved his shot at the captaincy but in truth never really convinced enough fans he was the right solution long term.

Either way, the coming week will be enlightening about the shape our Rangers squad is taking, and with only barely three weeks till the Europa League starts, time is short!

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  1. Joe Garner was signed for around the £1.8m by Warburton, but unless we can get at least £1 for him I think we should keep him.

    Pedro wants 2 players for every position to get maximum competition from his squad and he is not a poor player. He just doesn't score enough goals, but strikers can also hit good streaks in their careers and lets see what happens with him next season. Joss Windass & big Matt Crooks has not played for Rangers as a match-fit player. He was out for months and then thrown into the team too soon after coming back from a long injury. I would like to see him given a proper chance with us.

    If Pedro is such a good coach and really knows how to organise his players into what he requires from each of their positions on the park, then let him work hard with the players that are still at Ibrox + all the new signings and see what that leaves him with.

    Hopefully a team that will compete for everything this season.

  2. I have a worry that a break of only two weeks might cost us in the new season with injuries from bodies not fully rested. Apart from that, I like Caixinha's work ethic.

    • Don't forget there will be a winter break in January 1-19. They should use that to recharge batteries and not play friendlies.

    • I agree with you Lex, but if Pedro fulfills his target of two players for every position and the winter break we should cope. My worry is, although I do doubt it, if we do manage to get into the group stages of the Europa Cup, all the additional games and travel can and might take its toll.

  3. I recall that Keirnan was signed on a 2 year deal in 2015 by MW, and I don't recall him ever getting an extension on the back of awesome performances (on the basis that there were no awesome performances) – so it's quite likely they've let it expire and he has indeed left.

  4. Wallace has been a stand up guy sticking with the Bears when others fled. I'd feel for him if he was stripped of captaincy to be honest. I know a lot will say he's not vocal enough on the pitch and which is fair enough. That said we could have 4 captains on the pitch this season Wallace – Alves – Jack and Kenny. You don't need to wear an armband to be a leader on the pitch is all I'm saying. Whoever has the armband will know he's got another 3 on the pitch also leading and organising the troops…A bit worrying that nobody has been shifted on yet as the wage bill must be sky high..That said least there will be plenty of competition for the upcoming season in the Squad. Even playing & training with a better calibre of player will improve some of the younger lads Bates – Beerman – Dodoo..

    Alistair Johnstone reports he could be back in line for a position at the Club what's Ibrox Noise take on that? Personally I think it's a positive move from King regards the Board and looking to the future..

  5. Good article Richard ..I like the way things are developing .If we get the other 4 then we will look much changed Those that turned up yesterday know their salary is only paid if they do !!!! Bring on the new season can't wait …

  6. So all in all we still have a lot of dead wood to pay for 1/2/3 years now that they know they are not wanted are they going sit on there ass and take there weekly 5k yes thank you.

    now now get them out of there and fast.

    • I made a comment a few days ago to get rid of players and cut costs, Rangers can offer players to clubs to sell or loan. Their agents who also have a say would encourage them to do so, if Rangers made up the difference in salaries, cutting our clubs costs and allowing players who want to play the chance to play football. Most, not all would not want to sit taking a good salary and never play. Hypothetically the likes of Halliday, if it is true he can leave, at 25 years old sat taking money, did nothing for two years, he'd be lucky to get a team like Livingston, Falkirk, Dunfermline, etc, with no disrespect to them, maybe even on a part-time basis and at 27/28 that might be where he ends up, but if he decides to leave on a transfer basis to a 1st division team in England on a full-time contract with Rangers paying approximately 10 to 30 percent of his salary it is a win win situation for both clubs, the player and the agent.
      We also need to make sure we don't let too many squad players leave; the likes of Holt, Bates, Beerman, Barjonas, Dodoo and others are needed as back-up.

  7. Craig' Warburton gave kiernan a 1 year extension last summer making him contracted till summer 2018

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