Has Scott Wright actually achieved an astonishing renaissance under Rangers manager Philippe Clement?
The winger, for so long a ‘limited’ attacker who had ‘big heart’ but lacked polish and quality and was on the precipice of a move to Pendikspor in Turkey before it fell through and he ended up back in Auchenhowie for training.
And now suddenly, from nowhere, Rangers’ new boss has started to mould something completely new out of Wright, with the flanker starting to eke his way into being a first choice under this manager.
If we look at his performance alone v Dundee, 4 shots (ok, none on target), 3 key passes, with an admittedly modest passing accuracy of 67%, Clement was seeing something in the ex-Aberdeen winger that pretty much no one else was.
But that goal at Hampden seems to have earned him a whole host of accolades, including an 8 rating from Ibrox Noise who was impressed with his industry, drive and pace, not to mention that quality finish.
We are not getting ahead of ourselves – Wright is 26 and is nowhere near a call up for Scotland, never mind cementing his place as a deserved starter at Rangers.
He has been subpar many many times in the past and it would be foolish to assume he’s suddenly Arjen Robben all of a sudden. But there is a difference in how he is fitting in with Clement’s system compared to any previous manager he’s ever played under at Ibrox, and there’s been three of them.
The main differences are the pressing and synchronised movement – Wright always worked hard but usually it was headless chicken running and a lack of technical quality. Under Clement, as the manager has explained, his system is about units of players moving together and opening up space, pressing together, finding pockets of room to run into and altering the shape of the game itself by movement.
Wright is thriving on this, because he’s quite simply got support from others – he’s not headless chicken any more, instead his boss has given him a system to follow, a coherent strategy.
Clement has been clear that this system can take time to work right, but already we’re seeing the benefits of how it’s being implemented, and Wright is one of those who is absolutely soaring from it.
He is not a technically-gifted player – but he is very quick, and he knows how to follow instructions and when and where to run.
With Clement’s strategy, it’s bringing out the best of Wright, that no other manager really was able to tap into.
Whether Wright can now truly develop into an international-class winger that is worthy of Rangers’ shirt time will tell, but for now, he’s doing alright by Big Phil.