It’s been a week of headlines for Rangers but that’s absolutely nothing new. Friday’s progression in the Scottish cup was straight forward and welcomed minutes for plenty of the squad, but beyond the result and brilliant cameo’s for the youngsters, it highlighted one real concern: Rangers really need a fresh body or two for the team, in fact it’s almost a necessity.
This is a huge crunch moment for the squad and more importantly for Ross Wilson. In recent times he’s passed the appointment of a new manager with relative assurance, which breeds confidence, but there is no doubt question marks still hang over his overall performance. First of all, the contract situation for several first team players is ticking down, most notably Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo and Alfredo Morelos. This urgently needs rectifying immediately and whilst we have time that time is now months, there isn’t much give because come the summer those assets drop in valuation which we can’t afford to happen.
That urgently needs attention.
He has implemented the much discussed player trading model, with our first big sale, and he deserves huge plaudits for that work. But, here’s where it gets tricky because there is question marks over our transfer business, in at least the last two windows, and that is where ultimately he will be judged. The squad now requires a half dozen to be removed because they aren’t good enough, Friday showed that the likes of Barker and Simpson will never be Rangers class but this is nothing we didn’t know.
The fact is though, not since the arrival of Kemar Roofe and Ianis Hagi, almost eighteen months ago, have Rangers strengthened their starting eleven.
Now there is context to this which is important.
Ross Wilson hasn’t had millions to spend and we have had bargain basement arrivals. Simpson, Bacuna (arguably) Lundstram haven’t quite made the impact we have hoped but a small output for Scott Wright aside, Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten remain our last money signings.
What we need in this next week is a minimum of one, ideally two, first team players capable of quality straight into that first eleven. Whether that’s a signing or a loan, or both, then Rangers should have a few million to make that happen. Nathan Patterson sale brought in £9m instantly (with the rest to follow) and add that to the best part of £4.5m for the management team then it’s fair to hope even around £3-5m to be available for the manager. That’s more evident when Ross Wilson and others have said money from sales will be reinvested where possible.
A winger and a midfielder could really spark life into the squad which is needed and would lift everyone in what is a crucial title race. I don’t think anyone is demanding we spend ten million and realistic where we are as a club, however it is ok to expect some money to be available because this is the model we were told would be implemented.
Ross Wilson has to get it right and the board have to make funds available because what happens next may just shape our season and club for seasons to come, it’s that important.
I think we will act and I think we will get signings in, they have to be right and they have to make the difference, that is ultimately where Ross Wilson will be judged.
It’s a big week or so ahead.
Rangers were right to ask for clarity and an explanation into Kevin Clancy’s performance last Tuesday, but it wasn’t the reason we didn’t win the match. Rangers were poor and the tactics were questionable but let’s face it, once again, it was an uphill task with Clancy in charge.
Clancy has had a number of high profile and woeful decision making moments involving this club. From Steven Gerrard’s first league match in charge when Alfredo Morelos was wrongly (later rescinded) ordered off, he failed to produce a red for Aberdeen for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity for a pull on Windass.
He was in charge when Rangers won at Parkhead on December 29th 2019 but it was in spite of his performance that day. Some of the most inept decisions I have seen from an official which makes you question his motives throughout.
Then there was Tuesday. I’ll repeat it again, Rangers were poor, but several decisions again question his officiating. Ryan Kent’s sending off was absolutely laughable and Clancy couldn’t wait to put him off. If that’s a red then how Ross McCrorie, Jonny Hayes and Scott Brown stayed on the park is extraordinary.
The Jonny Hayes situation is the real one. Two elbows on Borna Barisic, which drew blood from both nostrils, were missed from ten yards away. What is more worrying is, Borna immediately began to bleed and asked for attention and was told to play on. In fact if you watch it again he goes to sit down for treatment but is told to get on with it. Moments later and when pointed out to Clancy, by Scott Brown, he orders Borna off for treatment due to the blood.
Now this is correct but given it’s as Aberdeen have a dangerous free kick and he refuses to let Borna on after quick treatment, they face Rangers defending with just nine men. Why ignore Borna himself asking for treatment for the situation to unfold as it does? Rangers asked for clarification on this and are right to do so.
It isn’t one decision or even two but a pattern of behaviour which really makes you wonder. Reportedly, Clancy is a Celtic fan but so is Nick Walsh apparently, who is a very good official, it shouldn’t matter unless you can’t officiate without applying the laws of the game fairly.
Is Kevin Clancy incompetent or is he calculated in everything he does?
Rangers are right to ask.
Last Tuesday did highlight some tactical decisions by Giovanni Van Bronckhorst. There is no doubt that he is very much controlled and dominant at Ibrox and likes Rangers to play on the front foot, away from home has raised some questions.
We seem happy to allow teams to dominate the ball and spring on the attack, in fairness and again for context, that has worked well. We saw it against Hearts who missed a lot of chances and we in turn created quite a few, but when it doesn’t work we get what we got on Tuesday.
It’s going to take a lot to get used to this philosophy and as a support if we are winning then largely we won’t care, but if we slip up like Tuesday then people will ask more questions. Personally, I don’t think anyone should be dominating against us in Scotland and I don’t think we need to sit in either, but I am not the Rangers manager.
Gio has the right to set Rangers up however he sees as the best way to do it but we shouldn’t need to be so defensive in the league.
In fairness to the manager we have a lot of players out and a lot of players unavailable. The ultimate incentive still remains that if we can push on then our gap will extend to perhaps a level that can not be breached.
To do that would be fantastic and no one will be asking on tactics or anything else, but with squad starting to get numbers back, a few signings would most definitely help and lift everyone further.
That simply highlights the very first point of the blog and the importance of the next few weeks both on and off the pitch. Be passive and we might just count the cost, attack and be positive and the results could be everything we want.
On and off the pitch.
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