Rangers have confirmed a major overhaul of the scouting system at Ibrox, with major implications for how the club will earmark new players in the future.
Speaking at the recent fan forum at New Edmiston House Director of Football Operations Creag Robertson explained that the system for finding new players has changed significantly, with an emphasis on data and evaluation BEFORE live scouting takes place.
In short, Rangers now focus on data and video analysis first of potential new recruits, and systematically evaluate that player’s potential to forensic levels BEFORE the decision is made that this player is looking appropriate for the club.
Only THEN will live scouting take place, where the club will send a scout or two to watch the player in action, whereby 90% of the data and video scouting has already taken place.
In other words, if Rangers send a scout to watch someone, it’s not to learn whether this player is of the right stuff to play for the club, it’s to confirm that they are.
So, when you hear of scouts from Rangers at whatever match, it means the player they are watching is close, and it’s not a case of Rangers just trying to unearth new talent when they go scouting.
It marks a change from, as Robertson said, the old way, which was to watch live first, get a feel, then start to look into the player via data and video etc and see if it works.
Now, the groundwork is in place, and by the time in person scouting takes place, the work has already been done. All the player has to do is fit what the data said.
Is this the right approach? Well, time will tell at the next few windows. The implication is that a tonne of work has already been done, which means if the player DOESN’T nail it on live scouting, that’s time, energy and money wasted into a player whose data didn’t quite match up in person.
On the flip side, that’s the risk the club is willing to take, and the due diligence on the player would suggest the majority of these cases the player will match the data’s report, and live scouting is just to finalise the whole effort.
As we say, we will see over the next 24 months how effective this approach will be.