Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Graeme Murty has given himself a massive problem

Rangers manager Graeme Murty has created one heck of a nice headache for himself. With the impressive rebuilding job going on down Govan way, Rangers are developing, slowly, a squad much more befitting of what we need to push Celtic.

However, one of the more efficient areas of the pitch was defence, with all four main men looking extremely impressive; James Tavernier, David Bates, Danny Wilson and Declan John have all been in imperious form these past two months, and while extra players are always welcome, Norwich’s Russell Martin has given Rangers’ boss a real problem.

I mean, it is the kind of problem we deserve to have, but no matter what, one or two players will be left unhappy.

In short, who plays central defence?

Danny Wilson has been excellent since Murty took charge, and David Bates has equally risen to the challenge with a couple of MOTM displays. Meanwhile, Fabio Cardoso looks to be surplus albeit Estoril’s interest seems to have faded, and Portuguese Bruno Alves has failed to live up to expectations, and equally failed to retain fitness for any length of time.

Enter Russell Martin. The Scotland international has not come to Ibrox to fit a space on the bench, the 32-year old stopper expects to play. Naturally he must earn that place, but the simple acquisition of an alpha defender like he does suggest Murty is likely to select him from the off.

Which leaves his partner. Would it be Wilson, who in no way deserves to be dropped, and indeed looks to be getting a contract extension? Would it be Bates who is also reported to be getting extended? Or could Alves pull a rabbit out the hat and establish himself back in the first team – the 36-year old has claimed he has no intention of leaving. Last but not least, is it time for Cardoso to shine at long last?

From nowhere Rangers’ options at the back have gone from hideous to downright solid. Three alpha defenders (theoretically) and Bates and Cardoso.

It seems to us, to start with at least, if it is indeed a four at the back and it is likely to be, it would be Martin and Wilson together. If either of them fails to deliver, there are plenty of options to replace them.

The kind of backline more in tune with what Rangers should be.

We are getting there.


  1. Martin and Wilson with Bates and Cardoso as back ups. Alves is still a very capable player but time is not on his side and he won't be prepared to warm our bench so he has to be let go really

    1. Totally Agree Mate! :D
      Also Hope That Cardoso Stays with Us

  2. It's a nice problem to have and I think Murts has a similar 'problem' in midfield. At centre back, however, I think it's relatively clear cut i.e. the defensive pairing should be Martin and Wilson. I wouldn't discard Cardoso and, personally, I prefer him to Bates. Bates is very much a squad player; confirmed by his performance in Florida; where he was awful. Even against Celtic - where he, impressively, played his part, no-one, apart front he guys in the Sky studio, thought he was man of the match. Tav, Cardoso and Wilson - were way ahead of Bates. Looking at all the players available for centre back, I would put them in the following pecking order: Wilson, Martin, McCrorie, Alves and Bates.

  3. Yes nice headache, but really hope we can move on more Pedro Le Guens signings this month. Too big a squad just now what with players returning from loan too.

  4. Much better problem to have than a couple of weeks ago when fielding a decent back 4 was a real worry. Hopefully we can move a couple of Pedro's boys off the book. That will help financially but also the problem you describe. Seems a much happier place though !

  5. I could not disagree more with regards to Wilson and Bates. They are both average players, playing against other average players, and we are still only 3rd place in the league!! If we were a close second in the league and a more superior goal difference, then your argument would come close to being valid to say the defence was extremely impressive, but they are not. They are average.
    When Rangers lose the ball, I immediately look to see where our defenders are. Tav is usually in no where land up front, giving a half hearted jog back. Wilson and Bates play far too deep, rather than pushing up, therefore play the opposition onside every time, they just don't do it. Don't get me wrong, the midfield such as Windass, Jack, Nico etc, do not mark any runners coming through on attack, leaving the opposition with loads of space and options to score against us. This have been going on since we came back to the SPFL!
    How many players have scored against us from the 18 yard box this season?! The man marking is awful in defence.
    Wilson loses more headers in the box than any other defender I know. He is very slow on the turn and his challenging is poor. He let Kris Boyd score twice against him, and cost us the game FFS!!
    We are in 3rd place for a reason. If you look back to the Corinthians goals, we had 7 Rangers players marking fresh air, leaving opposition at the back post unmarked. Again, ball watching, school boy stuff.
    I'm afraid I do not accept mediocrity at Rangers, and what we have in Wilson and Bates is just that. They are not better than any other defenders in the SPFL.
    My choice would def be Alves (if fit) and Martin, with McCrorie in front of them. Tav is still an awful defender, good at going forward, but mince in defence.
    Only time will tell if the new players offer us a different dimension to our game, I really hope so, but my feet are firmly on the ground until they start producing what a Rangers team should be producing, and earn the right to wear that jersey!

  6. Jimbo.
    Couldn't agree with U more.
    My namesake's as slow as a week in the jail.
    Bates is way way off the finished article.
    Alves & Martin CH's defo best option by a long long way.
    As U say Tavi couldn't Mark a bingo card, put Jack to RB and Tavi RM.John LB.
    McCorie & Goss CM with Murphy on the left.
    Cummings & Escobar both up front.

    Leeds in for Windass 1M more good news, this windows bringing me more than Santa did!!!

  7. Robbie and Jimbo are spot on. I actually think we are weakest defensively.

    Putting McRorie DM has been the best tactical move from a defensive point of view.

    I'd go with Bruno and Martin as first choice pairing. I also wish Tav and John (or Wallace) learn how to stop crosses coming into the box. And I'm a big fan of Tav, but I'm convinced he only defends in big games

  8. Given the arrival of Martin and Wilson's recently improved performances it would seem likely they will be the initial starting centre backs. The problem is neither are particular great at attacking headers and both prefer to sit off and pick up the pieces. That might open the door for Alves if he stays. Failing that McCrorie may find himself back there to accommodate other midfielders, though I think he has done very well and may have a future in there. Bates as back up but can't see any future for Cardoso.

  9. It has now become clear that Murty has not been given the hard cash but was only to bring in players on loan?so a new Manager is on his way for the start of next season.

    1. Might have a point John, is our Jimmy Nicholl keeping an eye on the team for Michael Oneill?,,,, we shall see.


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