Rangers Women completed a historic 21/22 league season undefeated which signalled a significant season for the club. Interest in the team is rising with football on a whole embracing a revolution amongst the Women’s game.
Rangers have a host of well known faces throughout their team, Nicola Docherty, Lizzie Arnot, Tessel Middag and Jane Ross to name but a few. But like any team they have had some transfer activity and big names like Brianna Westrup, Chantelle Swaby and Kirsten Reilly have departed.
Katherine Hill, Dina Orschmann, Victoria Esson and Colette Cavanagh have arrived with more players set to imminently arrive also. Rangers have also invested heavily in youth development with three more academy players being awarded contracts to join the emerging talents of Emma Watson, Jodi McLeary and Kirsty MacLean.
Such is the talent of those three, Rangers held off advances from top English clubs including both Manchester giants to keep hold of the girls. But it speaks volumes for the club that the girls turned down big offers to stay at Rangers.
I will keep a regular eye on the side with monthly updates and I took in my first viewing of the team during the 0-1 friendly defeat to Charlton. The much changed Rangers side tried lots of combinations as they aimed for match fitness over any result.
I was delighted to sit down with manager of the year Malky Thomson and ask him on all the latest news from the team.
Malky, thanks for joining me, what do you make of today’s game?
“Really enjoyed it! A fantastic challenge for us playing against a top English championship side. What was most valuable for us today is we got the right load on the players and the right amount of minutes which we managed to achieve”
You managed to experiment quite a lot with some players playing in unnatural positions, does that give you an idea if you need to do that when it really counts?
“No! When we get into the league campaign, for example when we look at the back four that finished the game there (vs Charlton) only Eilidh, the youth player, was playing in her natural position.
What it does do though is offer an education there and it’s two fold because we bring in Nic Docherty to play centre back and it gives her an appreciation so when she does go back to her natural position she’ll understand it more.
Again Chelsea (Cornet) was simply to get her 30mins in fitness, didn’t matter where she played it was simply to get her on the pitch no matter where she played”
Manager of the year last season, how did you enjoy your summer and how do you motivate yourself for more?
“It was great! Extremely proud of the effort the players put in first and foremost. To go the whole season unbeaten was a great achievement.
Playing at Rangers football club there is massive expectations that you have to deal with and I think the players gave a right good account of themselves right from the first game of the season to the last.
The experience we had utilising all the players was great, from the experienced players to the youth players that got used throughout the year. For me getting manager of the year is testament to the players and staff for the diligence they done throughout the year.
The job now obviously is we tick that one off and we have to prepare for a new season”
Big departures in the summer came as a surprise to the supporters, Kirsten Reilly, Chantelle Swaby and Briana Westrup. How much of that was club led or was it player choices?
“In any season, not just in the womens game but also the mens, there is going to be a turnaround of players, there’s going to be a turnaround of staff as well. So what was important is we knew that every year we have to compete, we have to improve in certain aspects of our game and we have to improve certain aspects off the pitch.
But it has to be right for the players, it has to be a fit for the players to continue playing at Rangers. For their journey, not only for the club, but better for the players that they move on and seek a new challenge.
Every year we’ll always be looking for talent, we’ll be looking to strengthen the squad but we’ll also be looking to marry that into options for youth players to come through. We’ve signed three academy players and you seen them grace the field today, the combination of those players coming in with the experience we have and hopefully the players we have coming in is going to bode well for the club being able to achieve what they did last season”
Big question, Brianna was captain, have you decided who is taking over?
“No not yet! There is a lot of candidates in there and we’ve lost Jane Ross, which was unfortunate, but what I think we have in that dressing room is when we select a squad we have eleven out there that are happy to use that and one of them will be the captain in the moment”
Demi Vance, any update on her situation and will she return to the club?
“I think with the Demi Vance situation, we spoke to her at the time and she wanted to wait and see what was right for her, she wanted to go and play in the European Championship then she would make a decision on what she wanted to do.
As it stands right now, at Rangers, we will always move on and we will always seek to bring in talented players of which we have not stopped. There will still be additions to this squad which will come in the next few days or in the next week when the club are ready to announce.
So we are always looking to advance and make the squad stronger”
Jane Ross has suffered a terrible injury, does that alter your plans and is there a possibility to maybe get one extra to cover that?
“No, there will be in the next week or so the club will decide when to announce it and it will be out there. There will be additions to the squad.
We have Kayla McCoy who is a fantastic striker and last season unfortunately she struggled to get the run of games due to the fact she had some injury problems. She’s been away for international duty, she was away for 35 days, she’s got herself married in that time as well.
She’s more than capable of being a big player for us and leading the line”
To push you a little bit more if I can, how many more can we expect in?
“There will be a minimum of three coming in”
Would you be able to divulge any positions?
“No really! I think that the way we scout and when we look for players, we look for players that play in our style, our principles, our style of play. We’ve certainly got players that can play in numerous positions”
I Had to try and ask! Finally Malky, we had a brilliant season last year, how do we better that?!
“I think we just have to maintain the standards we set for ourselves both individually and collectively as a group, for the staff and players.
Those standards won’t drop.
The enormity of playing at Rangers is well documented, the players are well aware of it. So we are really looking forward to it, different challenge going into this season as Champions and the dynamic changes a wee bit in we have to try and retain that”
My thanks to Rangers manager Malky Thomson for his time and Rangers for organising. Special thanks to Louise Shaw for her help.
Interview with Nicola Docherty to follow in the coming days as we get a players view on the season ahead.
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