Ibrox scouts were reportedly at Tynecastle on Saturday for Aberdeen’s visit to Hearts and tongues are wagging over who it was for.
Naturally the easy conclusion is to assume Lawrence Shankland, who scored again, as usual, but this is just guesswork.
The big thing here is what Creag Robertson (Director of Football Operations) said at the Fan Forum in November, which was that in a change to the recruitment system, scouting would only take place after deep data work and searching was complete of the player under interest.
And specifically, the decision on the player had already been made based on their data and videos etc.
In short? Scouting only now happens when Rangers are 95% sure already the player in question is the right choice and fits, meaning wasting a lot less time watching him only to decide weeks later of watching that he’s not right or isn’t good enough.
The data found gives that answer already – scouting is the final stage of acquiring a player, and by it getting to that stage, Rangers are very sure on the player in question.
Which could strongly hint that Shankland might actually have been the player they were looking at.
Some would argue ‘what’s the point’ in scouting such a well-known player, such a talked-about player.
Well, just because the fans all want him doesn’t mean he is definitely right for Rangers, and the club still has to do the full due diligence of data analysis then scouting to make sure he’s the correct fit.
Whether it was Shankland or not, Rangers were watching someone at Tynecastle yesterday, could have been Barron of Aberdeen as well. Miovski?
Either way, there was a lot of talent on show, and whoever it was, Rangers are already 95% sure he’s the right player.
We’ll find out if the scouting trip confirms that hypothesis.