Friday, 2 February 2018

The growing 'double pivot' dilemma at Ibrox...

An unexpected and slightly strange conundrum growing at Ibrox has become the ‘double pivot’ scenario.

The double pivot of course is simply the term for the pairing in a defensive midfield two, usually deployed in a 4-2-3-1, as Graeme Murty has elected to choose.

Wednesday night saw captain Jason Holt partner Andy Halliday in it, while Holt’s previous recent chums in that slot have included Greg Docherty and Sean Goss.

And it is that word ‘captain’ which brings the ‘double pivot’ to a ‘double conundrum’ as well.

In short, right now, Jason Holt is captain. It was not envisaged, and it surely is not long term, but the Wee Angry Man has the armband – he has also started the last circa 20 matches.

This unexpected promotion has created a bit of a headache – is Jason Holt now an absolute first-pick? Is he now captain? If yes to either;

Is he in front of the back four or will he get shifted into the three behind the striker?

It is a strange one that few foresaw. Rangers now have quite extraordinary depth in defensive midfield – ok, half of them are injured, but even now, many would have Docherty and Goss as the first pick double pivot in terms of those available.

If so, the attacking trident is throbbing at the rafters with options and quite simply there is not space for Holt. Surely?

Graeme Murty has spoken about how the new signings have to earn their places, and yet evidently only Cummings and Docherty did not start against Ross County, so we are not sure how much water that comment truly holds.

You sign better players to build a better team, and it seems the manager is integrating them into his XI slowly, which is fair enough.

But what of Holt’s long-term future? Some might dismiss it as a non-issue, that over time Docherty and Goss (and Jack, and McCrorie) will swallow up that zone regardless, but we sense the beginning of a small issue should Holt continue to play while the ‘superior’ players make do with bench time.

We should affirm we have respect for Holt – he has been one of the most honest players we have had over the past couple of years – what he lacks in quality and composure he makes up for in work ethic, pace, nuisance factor and the increasing number of free kicks he wins for the side. He has carried himself extremely well and while he probably is not quite at the level Rangers aspire to, he can hold his head extremely high nevertheless.

But fans will want their best players on the pitch. Ryan Jack, Ross McCrorie, Sean Goss, Jordan Rossiter, Greg Docherty, and in front of them, Jamie Murphy, Daniel Candeias, Josh Windass, Michael O’Halloran etc etc.

Jason Holt, bless him, probably cannot be classed as a ‘best player’. But that said, the results with him in the team over the past two months have been undeniable and he seems, inexplicably, to be an integral part of Graeme Murty’s Rangers.

Quite how the new signings and Ryan Jacks of this world will feel about that should it keep up is something Murty will just have to manage.


  1. I’d expect holt to get the armband soon. With his man of the match performances recently plus his work effort I think he will be 1st team for the rest of the season if not beyond

  2. Jason Holt- Stuart McCall, very similar type players, and wee Stuart done well for us, every team needs their grafters

  3. Fods.
    Tavi Cordoso Martin John

    Docherty Goss

    Candias Windass Murphy



    That has to be our best XI the now!!

    Go smash the spoon burners good and proper.

    Morelos on 7K a week fuking joke when Herreras on 22K.
    Glad player and agent are meeting Mark Allen next week to talk about his present contract, give him 25K and add 2 years on to his contract.
    16M buy out clause with 10% sell on fee.

  4. Agree we're overpopulated in this position. I had hoped to see a few more players leaving in January. The number of players we have competing for a CM position is not sustainable. Especially if Rossiter is truly on the mend. McCrorie can maybe fill the gap left by Danny though. Would like to see 10 leave and 2 arrive in the summer!

  5. Yet, Jason Holt has won every game as Captain thus far?!
    Yet to see Ryan Jack as an asset, he has cost us more points getting needlessly sent off several times and he has had more sick leave than working hours!
    As for most of our new signings, they have played little game time, thus still to get match fit. This is probably why our team is blowing out its erse in the last 15 minutes of each game.

  6. "bless him" ?? Get a grip, could you be anymore condescending?? He is there on merit. The benefit of a big squad is players having to perform at their best or they will be dropped for someone else that has been pushing for their place. Holt has performed brilliantly and embraced the captain duties. If you want the "best" players in the team then you should have Mexico internationals both playing with the Croatian international in midfield....I'd rather have the best performing players and right now that includes "the wee angry man".

  7. Holt won't be at Ibrox after the summer.
    He's never Rangers class, only thing he's got is a engine.
    Can't Pass.
    Can't Header.
    Can't Tackle.
    My wee girls stronger than him.
    Captain my arse,

    All miles better.
    Bless him not far off he's like a lovable wee Smurf, that will win us FUK ALL.

    The departure lounge at Rangers will be very very busy come summer time.
    Deal with it!!!

  8. Most Rangers winning teams of the past have had whipping boy who was never viewed as good enough to play regularly in the famous royal blue by a large segment of the Rangers support. But these players like Willie Mathieson, Stuart Munro and Kirk Broadfoot outstayed many more illustrious and highly rated 'stars' because their manager and team mates appreciated and recognised their true value. Wee Holt is a decent, committed team player who is only 24 and is young enough to improve and flourish. He has not been appointed captain, whether simply short term or not on a whim - he deserves the jersey and has been Rangers most consistent player over the last few games. We have more acclaimed players that have barely kicked a ball since they signed and others that are out until the end of the season so let's appreciate the job he is doing as a modest. unassuming Rangers player.

  9. I bet you if Holt had come through our academy and a bluenose we would be singing this guys praises as a first team pick.
    Had you asked me as a fan to pick my best eleven individuals to watch then he might not make it. But if you asked any player who they'd want I bet they all say him.
    I'm fortunate to still play intermediary football and he reminds me of a valuable player in our team who is no way as talented as the other centre mids. But he is essential to the way we play and was very close to winning individual player awards.

    Jason Holt should start, based on form. Perfect team player. And competition for the jersey is important at Rangers.

  10. I like Holt. I admire and respect his commitment and effort. But as long as he is getting into our first 11 it's a clear indication that we are not where we need to be to get back to the top of Scottish football. Sad for the wee man but we have to face reality to move to the next level.

  11. Murty and all the coaching staff must see something the rest of you don’t it’s that simple. Not everybody in the Team is a show pony you need donkeys to do the hard graft.. Stuart Munro & McCall are what won the 9iar just as much as Gazza & Laudrup...

    First it was Halliday now it’s Holt no pleasing everybody is there. We are winning that’s all that matters surely? I bet Jimmy Nicholl had a big say in Holt getting the armband too.


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