As we revealed yesterday Ladbrokes bookmakers had closed all betting markets on the next Rangers manager, Alex McLeish was red hot favourite and they had stopped taking bets. In their eyes it was a foregone conclusion. As I woke on Monday morning the swirling opinion was that Big Red was indeed in pole position to take over, coupled with the statement from Ladbrokes it seemed that we were finally set to name Pedro’s successor. Within an hour of Ladbrokes statement Alex came out and said the following ;
‘I’d like it to be known, there has been no contact from anyone at Rangers and it is important the speculation is put to rest’
With the big man very quickly and decently putting the rumours to bed it seems Rangers are no further forward, that we know of for certain. News of McLeish’s potential return wasn’t met with the fondest of reactions from fans on Social media and it is understandable. I will always be thankful of the job Alex done and he indeed gave us some wonderful times, I have nothing but respect for him but safe to say I am glad he has ‘distanced’ himself from these rumours, Alex McLeish’s time was over ten years ago.
So with that said and McLeish seemingly ruling himself out of the picture, it doesn’t leave a lot to choose from that is in the public domain. Even last night Derek McInnes had once again moved to clear favourite with bookmakers and as social media went into overdrive once more, it seemed he was back in contention. The volatile nature of the betting world easily manipulated by the smallest of bets means we can most likely read very little into that, especially having seen what happened with McLeish barely a day earlier.
Graeme Murty said in his pre match presser today ‘I have discussed with Mark Allen and Stewart Robertson that the process is ongoing. There has been movement but we are not quite there yet’. Having seen Murty’s interview after the game on Friday, it is clear he will be as relieved as the fans are to finally see some movement. But what movement remains to be seen, whether it’s McLeish (granted seems highly unlikely now) Derek McInnes or a name from left field yet to be mentioned, what is promising is that it seems like the wait is finally coming to an end.
Club 1872 has vowed to grill the club at the upcoming AGM on lack of communication and as the clubs second largest shareholding that is most certainly needed. They pointed out that they challenged Stewart Robertson way back in March about a lack or contingency planning prior to Pedro Caixinha being appointed, nine months on they correctly pointed out that history is repeating itself. This has then manifested into a lack of trust of the board and they are asking for more accountability and transparency around the appointing of the new manager. I think that it is vital as the fans representative on the board, they do exactly this and hold the board accountable for every decision they make. We can be supportive of this board and the people that run the club but we can also ask the correct questions, history shows that we should always hold those in power accountable. So Club 1872 have done the right thing here and I hope ask the right questions at Thursdays AGM.
So with the AGM upcoming it is fair to say that a number of questions will be asked of our board especially concerning the search for our new manager. Strong questions should also be asked regarding future funding and how any new manager will be helped in terms of players and budgets. It should be an AGM where the board are pressed into answers on some difficult questions and as above, that is something that we should be doing. Recently there has been criticism of our board and as Club 1872 pointed out, lack of transparency leads to distrust so it’s in the boards interest to try and give out as much information as possible.
So with that said we have the small matter of Aberdeen at Ibrox tomorrow night, a massive match normally but under the circumstances a huge one. We face a real uphill battle given recent performances and Aberdeen probably find their selves favourites as they seek to win back to back games at Ibrox, an almost unthinkable prospect. Early team news suggests that both Fabio Cardoso and Bruno Alves are fit to bolster a much maligned central defence, however that is tempered with the news that Alfredo Morelos seems to be struggling after his injury in Dundee. Morelos would be a huge loss and although not scoring, he adds so much to our team.
With Alves and Cardoso seemingly fit it raises the question whether they go straight back into the side so Murty certainly has a dilemma in that respect. For me both would go into the team from the start and I would be tempted to move Ross McCrorie forward into the midfield engine room next to Ryan Jack. Jason Holt could be the third midfielder pushing further forward with his energy to press and get close to our main striker, who will hopefully be Alfredo Morelos. That would provide a decent spine to the side and plenty of pace and energy in the midfield in Holt and McCrorie, it will be a battle tomorrow and that would tempt me to play as above. Candieas and Windass would fill the wide berths hopefully both finding form to provide the chances. Kenny Miller would drop out for me unless Morelos doesn’t make it, in which case he would start as my number nine with the clear instruction of staying as number nine and not wandering as he has done to the detriment of the team recently. It’s clear to me Miller has had a poor season but he is more than capable, he isn’t however a winger or a number ten so if he is going to be used it should only be as a striker in his correct position. But that is only my own thoughts and ideas as I search for answers, let’s hope the one man that counts Graeme Murty gets it right tomorrow.
What is clear in my mind is, we can’t go again with the same eleven that failed on Friday night and almost same eleven that failed the week before, it isn’t working so changes must be introduced.
Team news received suggests Rangers will line up, although not definite –
Foderingham, Tavernier, Alves, Wilson, John, McCrorie, Jack, Holt, Windass, Miller, Morelos (if he doesn’t make it then Hardie starts).
No place for Fabio Cardoso or Daniel Candeias perhaps surprisingly. So my above suggestion of McCrorie in midfield seems to be true. I’d expect Rangers to line up a diamond 4-4-2 formation and it’ll be interesting to see how they do.
Aberdeen come to Ibrox six points better off with a swagger and confidence they really shouldn’t have at our place. A victory from them would almost certainly make second place an uphill struggle especially with Rangers then having to go to Pittodrie on Sunday, the scary thought being Aberdeen could be out of sight come Sunday evening. It is up to Rangers to put in a performance befitting of our shirt and get the three points that are so badly needed. Aberdeen are a strong side and have options that can hurt the opposition so we need to be up for it from the start, the prospect of defeat really shouldn’t be an option.
It’s a vital two games in the clubs season, second place very much up for grabs at the minute and we have to ensure by Sunday night we have grabbed the bull by the horns and taken the momentum. Defeat tomorrow night will leave the board in a very uneasy position come the AGM on Thursday, which will be exactly five weeks to the day since Pedro was relieved of his duties.
Call it eternal optimism but I think we will come through tomorrow night and get a result. For some reason, call it blind faith, I have faith in the team and I am backing them to get the result needed.
One thing for sure with so many questions around Rangers at the moment, in the coming week or so we will get the answers both on the pitch and off it. Never a dull moment being a Rangers fan and certainly doesn’t promise to get quieter any time soon.