Can these four men be the difference for Rangers?

 Article by: Ibrox Noise

After the earlier flurry of transfers in the summer window activity, Rangers were dealt a bit of a blow with the untimely Europa League exit. However, that coincided with the latest incoming capture, and he, along with three others, could be pivotal this season in making Rangers seriously competitive again.

I am referring to Graham Dorrans, of course, but in conjunction with defender Bruno Alves, midfielder Ryan Jack, and striker Kenny Miller. While few would make a strong case that Rangers as a whole are ready to really push at the top of the table, there are grounds that these four men are the difference between midtable obscurity and a serious fist at the SPL summit.

In each player, Rangers have a critical and relatively ‘marquee’ name for each position of the pitch, namely defence, defensive midfield, attacking midfield and up front, and that crucial spine, while not a certainty for success in itself, is certainly pushing in the right direction.

Last season Rangers’ defensive woes were laid bare as countless teams got joy against the likes of Rob Kiernan and James Tavernier, woes which had been hinted at in the Championship but rarely truly exploited.

But in the SPL Rangers were far too open and few can deny the potential influence a guy like Bruno Alves can have there. For a start, he is fluent in both English and Portuguese, the only player in the squad who is, and that gives him a bridge between both the British players in the squad and the Hispanics – a rarity and a useful commodity.

His communication skills will be essential this season. Add to that his glittering CV of playing experience at the highest levels football has to offer, a level he is still entirely comfortable at at the ripe old age of 35. Just ask Arturo Vidal, Carlos Bacca, Alexis Sanchez and Paolo Dybala not to mention Gonzalo Higuain and Dries Mertens. Fans less familiar with him certainly saw what is on offer when he eased his way through this summer’s Confederations Cup.

Then we have in front of him a player with the best years still ahead of him. Ryan Jack is the leader Rangers’ midfield has been lacking. With questions over Lee Wallace’s influence on the pitch as a communicator, and a complete lack of genuine captains in general in the middle of the park, ex-Aberdeen leader Jack is a strong, hearty, genuine midfield anchor who at only 25 has plenty of potential for further growth and is proven to be a player others will look up to and lean on. While not exceptional (who was?) during Rangers’ tie v Niederkorn, the DM was one who was able to hold his head high after putting in a good shift in the first leg followed by a reasonably decent one in the second. He is mentally strong enough to play for our club.

In front of him though is another piece of the jigsaw. With Niko Kranjcar’s fitness a huge concern, and his consistency another, Rangers needed a strong and reliable creative outlet – something we have not had in that area of the pitch at all since 2012. Kranjcar simply does not have the lungs for it, while Graham Dorrans is just primed to fit in there. Rangers were in dire need of a robust and mobile creative man, and the Scotland international is a fantastic fit – he has easily been this summer’s most welcomed purchase.

And last but not least Kenny. Everything has been said about him so we will not waste your time repeating, but like the other three, he is a leader, and in his case like Jack and Dorrans, and in time hopefully Alves, understands what playing for this club means.

In three slots, right down the middle of the team Rangers now have at least three genuine leaders – four if we do indeed include Dorrans, and I think we can. Five if you want to add Wallace albeit some might not. But the inescapable point is that last season’s abysmal lack of voices on the pitch has now been addressed with some really high calibre recruits.

Given the right coaching, Rangers could well turn this UEL disaster around into a fine recovery for the season.

We certainly hope so.


  1. Whilst there is definitely a lot of truth in the article that these four players should make a difference, and are, likely to be the best performers,there are, regrettably, 11 players in the team. We still badly lack a cutting edge, as we do not have a forward (apart from Kenny) who even looks like a goalscoring threat. With the regrettable and unnecessary loss ofMcKay, we have NO GOOD WINGERS, NO GOOD CENTRE FORWARD IF KENNY GETS INJURED, and we are still weak in the full back positions. We are STILL A LONG WAY BEHIND CELTIC, and CAIXINHO HAS PROVED HE IS USELESS AT TACTICAL MOVES. Put your money on Celtic for the title–even at very short odds–as they are cets to win the league once again.

  2. Four men do not make at team. We still have many weaknesses–at full back,no good wingers,and NO CUTTING EDGE YET. We need a further 4 good players in these positionsbefore wemay be ready to challenge Celtic.

  3. Caixinho MUST GO OR WE HAVE NO CHANCE OF WINNING THE LEAGUE, OR EVEN FINISHING SECOND. McInnes at Aberdeen has quietly been strengthening his squad to makeup for those he lost,and you will note that he managed to sign Greg Stewart who scored goals for fun with Dundee two years ago. Aberdeen have much more of a cutting edge than Rangers and could again finish second in the league.

  4. Hi Jackobyte. No–I did not see the Eduardo Herrera interview, and I don't think that it matters a jot. We do not need any more players (or manager) who are FULL OF BIG TALK OFF THE PARK BUT CANNOT BACK IT UP ON THE PARK. You might as well say that you could beat Vladimir Klischkov in a fight–but if you got into the ring with him , he would probably half kill you with just a few punches. Likewise, Pedro's stupid comment that we have the best squad in Scotland was a joke, for which he was severely punished by a 5-1 beating by Celtic–and we were lucky that it was only 5.

  5. How do you know we have no good centre forwards? On the evidence of 2 games where they were severely lacking service? Come on, not very sage like!

  6. Miller should be a bit part player in this team, not a starter. I don't rate his leadership at all; he should have been in the box waiting crosses from the wings, not being on the wings unsettling the wingers.
    Until he sticks to what he's supposed to do, he is no centre forward for me.
    We only had one player leading the line up front last year- Joe Garner. Usually on his own.

    I have been on here a lot talking about any good team having a solid spine. Alves is definitely spine material. Foderingham is not. Jack has potential to be, but I think Rossiter will develop into a better option.
    Miller is not- he doesn't stay in one place long enough.

    I don't know enough about Dorrans- I was never too impressed with him in a Scotland shirt, but he seems to be highly regarded.

    Pena, Herrera, Morelos… not a clue what they're like.

    A confident team takes its cue from the back- I don't trust Foderingham, as I did the likes of Goram, Klos or Macgregor, but hopefully Alves will help.

  7. Just while you were talking about kenny miller ibrox noise,i was told a wee piece of info this morning,in regards to king kenny!It was relayed to me this morning,that a lot of our players for which kenny acts as the father figure spokesman for,have complained about not knowing or understanding what caixinha wants them to do,as regards to tactics on the football field!They are supposedly baffled!It was also relayed to me that if caixinha doesn't win his first 4 games of the season against motherwell away,hibs home,hearts home and ross county away,he'll be relieved of his duties with kenny miller becoming the new rangers head coach/manager,working alongside our new DOF mark allen!This i'm told is already in the pipeline!Just sharing with all my fellow bears,to what i was told this morning!I personally don't see this happening this early myself,as its too early for kenny miller,to be thrust into,the glasgow rangers manager's job!Kenny i'm led to believe,wants to continue playing,for at least another 2 seasons!Kenny is in remarkable shape for someone almost 38 years old!The guy is a model pro and total thoroughbred!He undoubtedly deeply loves the famous glasgow rangers and is a total leader of men!Whats our thoughts on this ibrox noise and fellow blue noses??Should be very interesting in all the different opinions,out there,on this subject!

    • If this was true , do you think it would be out there for public consumption ? Loada bollocks mate . Why take another chance on someone untested . If Walter wont come back then it has to be big Eck .

    • Robert, if what you are saying is correct , then if we don't win the first game against Motherwell Ped will be packing his bags. Somehow I think that he'll get longer than that. However, nothing would surprise me these days. Mon the Gers

  8. We do not need to hear any more big talk from people who have not yet made any meaningful contribution to Rangers. We have had Pedro shooting his mouth off and saying that we had the best squad when everyone knew that was rubbish. We have had players saying how keen they were–but it did not show on the park. People can say what they want AFTER they have proven themselves–but NOT BEFORE THAT.

  9. I am not interested in watching interviews with players or the manager saying how much they want to play for or manage Rangers–AND THEN FAILING TO PRODUCE THE GOODS. Let ALL THE TALKING BE ON THE PARK, WHERE IT REALLY MATTERS. ANY IDIOT CAN TALK BIG—BUT YOU NEED TO BACK IT UP!!!

  10. Everyone knows the full backs are not good enough and Wallace is NEVER a captain. I think we still require another centre half.

  11. Many many years ago I became chairman of an amateur football club. I recruited a well known professional player as manager.He taught me, and demonstrated it to me, that the best and most talented players were of no use in the long term if they did not put in the effort or had no heart.He dropped the guy I thought was our star player, as did the fans. When I questioned him about it he said the other players will not enjoy playing with him. He was 100% correct. The players who were retained would walk through a wall for the team. Like everyone else I enjoyed Barrie McKay but I also saw he didn't have heart when needed. Hopefully new players have the heart.

  12. Hi Robert Millar. I'm interested to hear what you have said, and I have to say that it has more than a ring of truth about it. Kenny is a good communicator, and we all know he is the real leader on the park. I would not mind if what you are saying is true, but, as it is just a wee bit early to takeover as manager, why not give the manager's job to Graham Murtry (and give him a pay rise!!) and get Kenny to be Murtry's assistant who will be his voice on the park. That would be a winning combination, and I would be much more confident about Rangers if Caixinho was sacked and immediately replaced by these two. Hope what you heard was correct–but it sounds as if it could be.

    • Yes I agree that Murty should be given the managers job. If the signings are in fact better than last years squad then his encouraging tenure last season could only get better? Pedro unfortunately is not the man and his would be visionary appointees need to take a good look at themselves.

  13. I hope that what Robert Millar has heard is correct. getting rid of Caixinho and replacing him with Kenny would certainly improve our chances a lot. However–what might be even better would be if we replaced Caixinho with Graham Murtry as manager and Kenny as the assistant manager who made sure that all instructionson the park. We all know that Wallace hardly communicates with others–but Kenny does –so would be ideal for that role. I see some criticism ofKenny from Doug Young, and I think that heis beingtoo harsh. Kenny scored goals, whilst Garner couldnot–and wasalways very close to getting a red card. I admit that, at 37 years of age, it is not fair to expect that Kenny will play 90 minutes in every game–so I would expect others to step up to the plate, and, indeed, I have said that we do not have enough cutting edge, so I would like to see another forward who could score regularly, so that we would not be relyingfar too much on Kenny. In any event, I will predict NOW that other managers will increasingly be telling their players to hurt Kenny, as he is Rangers main goal threat. So he WILL MISS some games through injury. So–take your point, Doug, but I still believe that Kenny has an important role to play–both on and off the pitch.

  14. I agree Kenny has an important role to play, definitely- he is coaching material and his workrate is untouchable. His strength always was and still is his effort. But I still think he was at his best playing on his own upfront for Scotland- he was amazing. He still has the workrate, but he is supposed to be our goal threat and is very rarely where he needs to be.
    Look at the games towards the end of the season where Garner was winning 99.9% of balls flung up to him and flicking them on. Supposedly flicking them on to Miller, who was still out on the left wing, or on the 18 yard line of his own half.
    Maybe he doesn't trust the other players to do their jobs, I don't know, but playing him up front as the main striker is lunacy.
    I agree too that Garner was a bit of a nutter, but it doesn't matter who it is up there, be it Garner, Morelos or Herrera- they need to be the focus of the attack, supported by Miller, not the other way round.

    We should not be starting him every week in an ideal world and my criticism of him is purely based on our attack and the misuse of him as an out and out front man. He just isn't that.

    Too early for him to be manager, definitely, although if the news about the players not understanding what Pedro wants is true, I would be completely unsurprised. It shows on the pitch and I'll be buggered if I can understand what he's on about half the time and I probably, not to blow my own trumpet, have a slightly wiser outlook than most young footballers!

  15. As I see it we have Alves and Cardoso in the centre of defence.
    We have Jack and Dorrans in midfield. And… Thats it really! Or at least at the moment until others prove differently.

    Pena is still an unknown quantity so fingers crossed he comes in and is a revelation. Kranjcar may benefit from Jack/Dorrans. Rossiter for me is still work in progress so roll the dice and hopefully it comes up double-six and not snake eyes!

    Full back on both sides especially the right is a problem. As much as I love Tavernier's attacking ability I want a defender in there. A right back who can stop wingers in their tracks and he is simply not up to it.

    The goalkeeper simply does not command his box sufficiently (Alves may help here and give Wes confidence to do so). Also making Alves captain wouldn't be a bad move either. We need a leader and the fact our so-called Captain has not had a word to say about last weeks debacle does not impress me at all. Leaving a junior member of squad in Rossiter to be the spokesman, for me, was a disgrace!

    Up front, for the love of god, we cannot be relying on a near 38-year-old as our main striker. Our achilles heel is not scoring goals (well other than set pieces) and Herrera and Morelos are a pairing that simply MUST work.

  16. Unfortunately I honestly suspect that all those hours we bluenoses spent scouring Ibrox Noise forum, and every other Rangers updates source known to man, re- transfer activity and all the bullshit hype that went along with every single signing can now be basically described as much ado about nothing.

    Sure, we now have Dorrans, Alves and Jack added to squad who can reasonably be expected to supply an improvement in the level of team performance from last season but lets face it, that wouldn't be difficult no matter who we signed

    The rest of the signings, on what I have seen, all be it very little but probably enough and based on experience over too many years to remember, look like the usual very average footballing journeymen you can get anywhere for thirty bob except they have fancy sounding foreign names

    Reality is that next season, as far as we go, is all about challenging that minging shower from the north east for second place as we are still a mile behind the manky mob and multi quality players (wingers, goalie, forwards, FBs) away from anything like the finished article.

    And even then we would still be led by a nugget who thinks that tac-tics are wee white mint sweeties in a wee plastic box but enough said on that score as I am confident that he will hit a brick wall sooner rather than later and be a distant memory before too long

    If we can get the right players on the park, a Glasgow Rangers minded footballing brain in the dug-out and do it before they get 10 I personally will be content to take the pain


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