Summer signing – why waste him?


If there was one signing that absolutely united Rangers fans this summer, it was the capture of another one of us in the form of Graham Dorrans.

A former Scotland international, this was a classy midfielder with bags of top-flight English Premier League experience and still only just scraping 30 years of age.

The saga to get him north lasted for some time, but every Bear to a man and woman were overjoyed to finally clinch it and we were certain we had a real midfielder to compliment Ryan Jack perfectly.

Unfortunately, while far from poor, Dorrans has been unable to execute himself in matches in the way he would have wanted, and many fans argue he has played far too deep in midfield for the style of player he is.

And if we look at the best he has produced at Ibrox, that seems to be backed up – Dorrans most vibrant matches have seen him produce three goals – Motherwell on the opening day in which he grabbed two, and Partick recently with that 25-yard scorcher.

Therefore why is he playing so close to Jack?

It is true the guy is adept at playing in any position in the front two thirds, but his strongest slot is in the free-roaming area behind the attack where he gets to support the strikers in front and the midfielders behind, while getting into great positions to finish off with goals.

In short, Dorrans is a ‘Frank Lampard’ type, and does his best damage the more advanced he is.

So why is he so close to the guy who does the other side of midfield, the harrying, the blocking, the pressing, the holding? Why is he closer to Jack than the number 9? It seems a little puzzling that we spent all summer chasing Dorrans, getting Dorrans, only to now play him slightly off his strongest position ergo not getting the best from him.

We surely knew what kind of player he was – we spent long enough chasing his signature, so if this team is to getting firing on all cylinders, that is at least one area surely we need to look at?

If Pedro is to succeed, whatever we think of his chances, he needs to look at his players, deploy the best ones, and put them in the slots they will do the most damage. It is pretty basic stuff – if you run a 4-4-2 you need two wingers. You need one DM and one CM/AM. And to play all four of these exactly in their positions.

Pedro has admitted that in the cases of both Niko Kranjcar and Josh Windass as left wingers it is about letting them cut inside to where they are comfortable. Which is a problem – he essentially confirms neither are happy on the left wing and need to alter their own position on the pitch in order to do damage.

Such management is a bit confusing at the best of times.

And if Graham Dorrans is to play at his best, he needs to play in his best position.

It is not rocket science.


  1. Every player MUST play in the position he is happiest to play in. It applies to every footballer, professional or amateur. All the greats stayed put for the same reason. It was to the most benefit for the team. Look at all the great teams throughout history. Very little tampering from week to week.

  2. A couple problems:
    (1) we don’t have a decent LW in the squad right now. We’re plugging a square peg into a round hole so we can play 4-2-2.
    (2) that system can work with the wingers cutting inside in the final third, but adjustments need to be made elsewhere to make it work. While Celtic doesn’t employ a 4-2-2, both Sinclair and Roberts (though usually not Forrest) like to cut inside as well. They make this work by having their full backs advance into wingers and have a midfielder (usually Brown) stay further back to provide defensive coverage. So okay, what about Rangers? Well, Tav is more than capable of doing this on the right side, but our options on the left are again limited. Wallace is a great LB, but he’s nobody’s definition of a great winger even when he’s fit. Injuries right now make this setup untenable in my opinion.

    For my 2 cents, I think the players should be playing the position they were recruited and signed to play. If the manager plays someone out of position, there ought to be a very good reason for it (and cover for injuries is a good reason). However, generally speaking, it speaks to a organizational misalignment whenever players are asked to play out of position more than a game or two. Quite simply, it shouldn’t happen, and the manager has to be held to account for it unless there are extenuating circumstances.

    • We've seen players played out of position for a couple of years now. Halliday as DM the most glaring, but Waggy as a right-winger also springs to mind and Miller playing wherever the hell he felt like it. Windass, Kranjcar, John- whoever it is out there, we don't have a natural left-winger that I've seen, but surely there must be one in the Development Team?

      Hodson as LB is terrible. I thought at the start of the season Jordan Houston was it? Who was put in the first team instead of Myles Beerman, but either of them are left-backs to trade before Hodson. Even Danny Wilson is left-footed.

      I know we aren't privvy to what goes on in training etc. but I do feel it is unfair to play a player out of position and expect their best ability.

  3. Agree with article, Dorrans is not being utilised to his strengths.
    The fitness and pace of our players is very poor. We are playing like a bottom 6 team. 8 points behind the beggars, beaten twice and drawn once at Ibrox, draw with Partick. No bottle, no fight, no character, no leadership, poor team selections.
    We are a joke and teams continue to fancy their chances against us. Hamilton game is no where near a given. We need to win all of our games at home at the very least to challenge even second place, but the current stats do not make good reading to even make 7th place. Please someone tell me I'm wrong and explain it to me how I'm wrong? I'm sick to death giving the opposition valuable points needlessly, that's what bottom six teams do!!

  4. If we are to play two holding midfielders with a number 10 supporting Moreles, then, when fit Rossiter and Jack the holding two with Dorrans the number 10.
    I also agree with fellow fans here that we need to play natural left footed players in the left side of the park.

  5. A clueless manager results in strange decisions. Why is this or why is that? We will always be asking these questions because Pedro simply does not know how to manage a top club like Rangers. If we are saying we dont have a decent LW then its because pedro never bought one. If the team plays crap then the system set out and the players instructed to carry it out was wrong, again Pedros fault. When its not going our way he has no idea hiw to change the system, I cant think of many occasions when his subs have made any positive impact, yet there has been loads of opportunities. Poor manager and plent of evidence to back this up. If Barry Ferguson was getting these results he wouldve bn sacked as he was not proven. Pedro is not proven as a good manager and it is clear to see he is not!

  6. Doug I totally agree with your comments and the posts in general regarding playing players out of position, that left wing problem was glaringly obvious during the transfer window, and could've been fixed, still can't believe that wasn't resolved, maybe says more about Pedro that he thinks he can play players out of position. Anyway Doug another player to chuck in there we played out of position is MOH. Pedro sort it out or get out!!!

    • Of course! I am sure there are more. It seems to blatantly obvious that I can't help thinking I must be missing some bigger issue.
      Doesn't help that I am reading Jock Wallace biography at the moment and how he put together a team with specific players in very specific positions and ended up with two trebles in three years.
      Playing a 4-5-1 long before it was fashionable….

  7. The players wearing our famous blue jersey are no doubt trying their best but for some of them their best is not and in my opinion never will be good enough for our wonderful club ,I believe Pedro has improved the level of player brought in but sadly the level we had was rank rotten and although we have improved we still have a lack of guile the ability to play passes that mediocre players just don't see . I would also add that Lee Wallace was a very big miss on Saturday although he has had his critics some justified some not so, he would not have allowed Roberts to run him ragged like hodson did . surely most can see that standing off a player like Roberts is inviting trouble,Lee would have used his physicality to at least try and hinder his progress .The bottom line for me is we have some decent players but lack real quality players who can get games by the scruff of the neck and change them when the pressure is really on .We have cleared out most of warburtons duds and replaced them with better quality now wee need a couple of real quality game changers watp

  8. We all know that Kranchar and Windass are not left wingers. We should have recruited in summer and everyone believed it would happen. It didn't and this is perhaps nothing to do with Pedro. Injuries to Wallace, Kranchar, Rossiter and John have only exposed our lack of depth. But that's the way it must be at present. We cannot pay huge sums to have people sit on bench even if we could persuade such players to join. Other clubs will have injuries too. Only Celtic have real depth. Everyone fit and younsters on bench should be our strategy for this season. And remember all the clubs above us have to play each other and we have Aberdeen and St Johnstone to play so we could be in good position in about 4 weeks.

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