So we’re getting this a lot, not just today but in recent times, and it’s time to address it directly. With Ross McCrorie gone, Greg Docherty nearly gone and Jamie Murphy following them, three players are marking a bit of an exodus out of Ibrox as manager Steven Gerrard refines his squad.
However, all three of these players have a major bond in common – their nationality.
Readers keep on asking us what Gerrard’s problem with Scottish players is, be it young or indeed old.
The only two to survive the Gerrard era are Jack and McGregor, with every other one rejected. Rangers’ bench, other than Jon McLaughlin, Nathan Patterson and Greg Stewart, features zero Scottish players aside a few of the Auchenhowie graduates.
Indeed, among a 32-man senior squad, just 11 are Scottish, and only Jack and McGregor are really installed as mainstays of the first XI.
However, before we start to veer towards conspiracies, other players of other nationalities are also unfavoured at the club. Katic, Barker and Jones, of Croatia, England and Northern Ireland respectively aren’t truly part of the first XI, when fit. They’re all fringe and bit-part players and none of them are Scottish.
But, let’s also be fair – youth also has no chance at this club. It doesn’t.
Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, Rangers’ last successful youth player was in fact McGregor himself, and that was 14 years ago. 2006 he broke through and never looked back.
Since then we’ve had pretenders, contenders, but nothing that stuck, and it’s been left to imports from other clubs.
But the commonality between Murphy and Docherty is Gerrard didn’t sign them – he also wasn’t part of McCrorie’s rise from Auchenhowie. Perhaps Gerrard is the kind of manager that only trusts the players he actually picks, that he signs, that he is with from their breaking through.
We really don’t know, and we can only posit.
But one thing is absolutely true and not even the most blindly faithful Rangers fan can argue otherwise:
Rangers’ record with youth, both Scottish and otherwise, is an absolute disgrace, and youth stands basically no chance of breaking through.
Up and coming kids today (An Ibrox Noise family member at 14 is a promising player on the rise) really aren’t advised to become part of Rangers’ youth academy, because they’ll end up bumped out on loan at Alloa before being freed.
Nathan Patterson is the one young player who could be the exception, but of course, all the platitudes said about him are the same things our manager said about Ross McCrorie, before he effectively turned his back on him.
We can’t pin this one on the manager either – our record since McGregor, well before the days of Stevie, is shocking, and that the only ‘successes’ since the goalie made it are Barrie McKay and Lewis Macleod rather says it all.
For whatever reason, Rangers have an entire academy that is failing, or a management structure that doesn’t allow the kids to bloom into the first team.
Is it a Scottish thing? Is it a youth thing?
We don’t know, but it’s sad.