What’s the real reason for surprise Rangers omission?


The big surprise about the squad for Gibraltar was the exclusion on a pure ‘numbers’ basis of stalwart Daniel Candeias.

It was billed as a big surprise, the reliable Portuguese being ditched based on homegrown numbers, but let’s have a look at the exact rule:

It stipulates that Rangers (like any other side) must limit the squad to 25 players, and at least 8 of them must be Scottish-developed. No more than 17 to be from non-SPL. But this is reduced to 22 overall if the club lacks enough club-reared players.

So, Stevie said it was a numbers game – the Scottish developed players he chose were McGregor, Docherty, Jack, Hastie, Arfield, Stewart, Jones (3 years at Killie makes him eligible we believe), and Halliday. And up to half of the homegrown must apparently be Rangers’ own youth product – which is McGregor, Halliday and Stewart. Only three. And that’s why Gerrard was restricted to just 22 – because Rangers didn’t have enough Rangers’ developed players.

That’s eight players.

However, the rule is the rest are 14 non-Scottish developed players (so, 22 players total). And looking deeper only one right winger was actually selected, in Sheyi Ojo. So, Stevie calls it a numbers game, and yet selects Hastie and Jones for the left wing, and just Ojo for the right. But because Rangers lack those club-reared players, it’s less.

If we break it down further: three goalies, which is already overkill. Only need two. But let’s go three.

The rest, excluding Ojo, is 12 non-SPL players. And those were three CBs (Katic, Goldson and Ed), three FBs (Polster, Tav and Barisic), 3 midfielders (Kamara, Jack and Davis), and 3 attackers (Defoe, Morelos and Aribo).

Which, messily, all totals 22. Now the issue we have is why select Andy Firth over Daniel Candieas?

While we hardly rate Candeias as the greatest winger and he’s not a patch on Ojo, he’d still provide excellent depth on the right wing, and that was the only position Rangers didn’t have a second real option for, beyond Jones or Hastie switching side (in fairness Hastie has played plenty on the right wing). Instead, just three wingers, and an unnecessary extra goalkeeper – and we’re unaware of any rule stating you must select three keepers. St Joseph’s did also submit three keepers in their selection as well, but we’re not furnished with that as a mandatory. Indeed, we’re led to believe you must have at least two, but no mandatory third.

So, why was Candeias ditched? If you only need two goalies, we’re certainly puzzled at his omission. Perhaps Stevie decided three wingers, whatever orientation, was enough. Or perhaps he just didn’t want to select Candeias. It’s telling that all the new signings went into the squad and the omissions weren’t Gerrard’s, bar, sort of, Jamie Murphy.

Indeed, he even selected a body he couldn’t use for the first leg in Scott Arfield, and who may not even be ready for the second leg, depending on recovery.

We cannot help feeling Gerrard is slowly trying to weed out as much of Rangers’ existing squad which underperformed so drastically the past few seasons, and while Candeias is no slouch, he’s part of the era which was absolutely horrible for Rangers fans. And the only other Pedro two to survive are Jack and Morelos, and in fairness to them, they’ve delivered mostly on the pitch.

There was no real reason to exclude Candeias on a numbers game – Firth and Arfield’s selections suggested Gerrard had a little leeway. And Jake Hastie was frankly preferred as a right wing option over Candeias.

But he chose not to use his leeway. And, in truth, Rangers, we feel, were stronger on the pitch for it.


  1. Perhaps he just had no need for Candieas(and the young lad in game terms) but decided to take the lad to let him feel part of things. Perhaps a more dangerous game Candieas would have been added?

    Is Candieas out for all the qualifiers now or can he be swapped out even for this second leg at Ibrox for instance?

  2. I feel the writing has been on the wall for some time for Candeias, and until now Gerrard just hasn’t had suitable replacements. Candeias does a decent job on the right and his work rate is good too, technically though we need better on that side and from what we’ve seen from Ojo so far he is what we have been missing. I thought Candeias was excellent against Oxford but leaving him out the squad for the first Euro game looks bleak for him, looks like he’s not even second best for the right wing berth now, would not be a surprise to see him go in this window, probably QPR!

  3. I think we are making something out of nothing here . Candellias will probably stay with suad . No issues.

  4. Candeias sums up our last season – too inconsistent. For every flash of brilliance or decent cross into the box he has too many WTF moments and stray balls to nowhere / no one. I just cannot fathom out why we even took Firth on let alone take him to Gibraltar, if we needed a 3rd keeper then surely Alnwick was the man.

  5. Hastie is included as part of the home grown numbers so he was always going to be in the squad so if you add him to Ojo , Jones and Stewart we had 4 people who can play wide. We have to name 3 goalies just in case one gets injured between naming the squad and playing the game .As for Arfield again he counts as a home grown player so its a no brainer to name him and he is likely to play in the second leg now . I still expect to see Candeias contribute this season , he adds to an extremely strong squad and is very handy if you need your wide men to do a shift going back the way ,tougher away games in Europe perhaps.

    • Stewart is far more a 10 or 9 than winger, and your comment on the goalie is odd given the squad was named the day before the match.

  6. There is a need for 3 keepers, if Mcgregor got injured in training or a match then we would be left without a substitute goalkeeper for the following game, no team goes into a match without a substitute ballbag blocker.

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