Scotty Arfield has resurfaced to speak directly to Rangers fans for the first time proper since leaving, and his comments demonstrate his dignity, discretion, honesty and integrity in abundance.
Talking about Michael Beale’s decision to let him go, Arfield was incredibly kind to the manager, lavishing praise on Beale as a boss and indeed as a man, without a hint of criticism, which is the kind of conduct we expect from someone who is as pro-Rangers as Arfield is.
The reality is Beale dumped him, dropped him, and only used him very sparingly – like so many of the current/departing squad, Arfield simply didn’t fit into Michael Beale’s vision for Rangers, and he only got wheeled out now and then.
The decision they made together was based on Beale essentially admitting that, telling him he couldn’t promise the midfielder anything, and Arfield conceding he needed to play (more).
The catch, of course, is that besides a small number of Rangers fans who reckon Arfield was past his sell-by date and had nothing to offer, the majority believed the ex-Canada international was very much still capable of giving to this club at the highest level. And indeed, Arfield himself confirmed he believed that too – he said he has years left in his legs yet.
But Beale wasn’t interested, to put it bluntly. He wants the kind of player he wants, and that’s that – that is also fair enough, and if Rangers have a great season next term, Michael Beale will be getting all the plaudits and rightly so.
But if signing Sam Lammers, for example, doesn’t work out, and Arfield tears it up in the MLS (as he already is, incidentally), it will Beale the target for major and justified criticism for dismissing such a good player in Scotty and replacing him with a strange choice of addition.
We hope it’s the first one – we love Scotty, but we love Rangers more, ergo no man is bigger than the club and it falls on the manager’s vision to build his team and make the best Rangers he can.
And if he reckons Scotty wasn’t in the zone to be part of that, we must all take it on the chin.
But Scotty has handled it so incredibly well – he’s shown grace, dignity, integrity and honour – he’s shown zero bitterness, and has only those lavish words of praise for both Beale and the club.
He is welcome back any time, and like the rest of us, only wants the best for the Rangers.
Hopefully next season we get it.