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  1. 13 points
    On Thursday we welcome Villareal to our rebuilt fortress Ibrox for the next game in the oh so exciting, or is it stressful, Europa league game. These are the games we have been looking forward to since 2012. And what a group this has turned into. Only two points split all four teams so every team can still survive after the winter stop. There is no point in crying over spilt milk but we really should be sitting on easy street after the two games against Spartak Moscow. Although I never saw the game in Moscow I can pull my hair out to think we scored three goals away from home and still came away with "Nul Points". That was even magnified if you see the, perfectly good, chalked off goal from Alfredo Morelos. That goal would have put us 4-2 up and changed the whole complexion of the game. That said the defending on that evening left a lot to be desired. Due to the resulting 4-3 defeat that result means if we want to keep qualifying for the next round in our own hands then a win is a must against Villareal. If we don't win then it means we are depending on some favourable results from the other matches. A win for Rapid Vienna over Spartak would keep it mathematically possible to qualify even if we lose, but it would playing Russian Roulette in the last set of games. Villareal would also not need to play their first team against Spartak as they would be group winners already. If we lose and Spartak beat Rapid then the game's a bogey. Villareal have been having a pretty torrid time this season and are currently lying in sixteenth position in the Primera División. Before last Sunday's win against Real Betis they were actually lying seventeenth, just one place above the relegation zone. After that win they will have picked up a bit of confidence and their European form has not been too bad as they are currently unbeaten in the last ten away Europa league group stage matches. They have won three and drawn seven. I always say though runs and records are there to be broken. I actually watched the first-half of their game on Sunday against Real Betis and I can say that they do look dangerous when they are attacking, but they really look very shaky when defending. Although Betis didn't capitalise on it they got in behind the full-backs on a number of occasions. Looking back on our match in Spain, that is also where our two goals came from. Getting in behind the full-backs is a particular strong point of ours with Tavernier and Candeias linking on the right and hopefully Baricic and Middleton linking on the left. Grezda may also be called to take that left wing position but Middleton has been hitting some fantastic free-kicks and corners and that will probably just give him the nod. So what will Gerrards tactics be. I certainly don't think we will go Gung ho right from the start and I also think it will be wishful thinking to think we will be able to dominate for the greater part of the game, so I think we will set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. We definitely need the defence to be far better than they were in Moscow. Alan McGregor will also probably have to play an important role in that as the Villareal strikers love to shoot on sight as we learned in Spain. I have heard a lot of people say that they would bring back Joe Worall for the game but I have no idea why we would drop Gareth McAuley after his performances of late. Yes, he may be thirty-nine years old but his positional sense and strength in the tackle make up for any loss of speed he may have. Don't forget Davie Weir took us to the UEFA final in 2008. I don't see the defence having the same difficulty with dead ball situations or having to make many headers in this game as the villareal game is mainly on the deck. McAuley made Conner Goldson also look like a far more confident player with his constant instructions. Big Conner was also breaking into the midfield far more on Saturday probably because he trusted MçAuley to mop up at the back. Villareal are a completely different class to Livingston of course. As I said earlier think the team will be set up in a 4-2-3-1 and I am going for the fact that Borna Barisic is fit and will be making his re-entry. If Ejaria does get the nod over Coulibaly then he will need to play a lot better than he did on Saturday. What a shame it would be to throw away that excellent start to the play-offs and go out like a damp squib. I really do think we can get in behind the Villareal defence though and come away with a 2-1 win. C'MON the Gers!
  2. 9 points
    The Cry was No Defenders. The nameless, faceless PQ Producers have a responsibility. Of course, they have responsibilities, each show has both presentation and content. Thus, Presenters, contributors, social media platforms, .... etc on one side; and technical staff, IT staff, engineers, business and commercial management too. The real responsibility is, 'Balance'. Ensure both sides of a discussion are aired and allow the listener to make up their own minds. The aforementioned phrase, 'on one side' is important because as license fee paying Rangers supporters, we know with PQ Producers, we are very much, 'the other side'. The Presenters and contributors are on message and are allowed free reign to get as comfortable as can be with their preferred prejudice. There is an ongoing process of cleansing, it is reckoned Kenny McIntyre is the last remaining football relating staffer? There are some like DrStu'(resident Witch Finder General) who find that position too galling, he has spent five weeks painting a target on the poor guy's back. I saw a list of three dozen names, all regular Presenters and contributors and other than McIntyre, two names are up for contention for Rangers leanings. Billy Dodds has enough trouble towing his EBT, but he went public a decade past in a Sunday broadsheet, he no longer considers himself to be a Rangers supporter. In fact, most Bears would argue that Billy is a mainstay of BBC Scotland's football output because of that published statement? Chic Young, despite his long and weary protestations of St Boo allegiances; is such a necessary prop of thirty satirical piss-taking years, no one takes him seriously. No, balance left PQ at the same time as satire. What would all those satirical shows make of Chris McLaughlin? What would be their take on a series of Justice Ministers sitting in the North Stand at Sellik Park? Anyone for 'Four Men in a Boat' on the Panama Canal, they could manufacture a sail from Dermot's papers. The PQ Producers must be seen/heard to be going through the motions; thus, we want to hear from Rangers supporters, the odd, very odd VoxPop with Bears passing PQ on their way to Ibrox, and a few occasional(Producer written) e-mails/texts read out on air, is more than enough to satisfy demands of balance. The reality for license fee paying Rangers supporters was Sunday's noon kick-off at Tynecastle. Big Dick(Dandy) introduces from Hampden, asks questions of commentator at Tynie of Paul Mitchell(Jambo), interacts with co-commentators, Allan Preston(Jambo) and Billy(I no longer consider myself to be a Rangers supporter)Dodds, then goes pitch side to Brian McLaughlin(Hibby). It's predictable, Hearts start well, score first, and everybody connected to PQ, is happy. Rangers equalise, then go ahead before half-time, and the air waves darken. Allan Preston is critical of the Ref', the Linesman, and Morelos. Big Dick reinforces those thoughts, and Billy Dodds contributes, "it's a cracking game". At this point, let's congratulate Allan Preston for his monthly standing order to the Foundation of Hearts. Allan is also a licensed football Agent. I am positive he would never publicly talk down a player not on his books to favour one on his books, and vice-versa. We call that a balanced approach, and I am sure the PQ Producer has a wee reminding word in his ear every now and again? It's important to retain balance. The second half sees a red card challenge from Arfield on the Hearts Keeper, Rangers not taking numerous opportunities to notch a third, and a ten man Rangers comfortably hold off Hearts for twenty-five minutes. Preston's frustrations boil over, he loses balance and obviously reminded of the danger, offers, "this is not sour grapes". Encouraged, Billy goes further, "none of this detracts away from Rangers performance". Big Dick, remember he is at Hampden; wades in, calls Arfield's challenge, 'shocking, disgraceful, and outrageous' in turn. Reminds the audience of Rangers seven red cards this season, "obviously, there's problem". Both the Ref' and Linesman get it in the neck again. Now, a Rangers supporter might mention that the Ref' and his officials are the same for both sides, why no yellow cards shown to Hearts players? Further, why was Clare's shocking, disgraceful, and outrageous flat booted, studs showing, assault on Coulibaly's upper thigh not a red card? Even further again, why did Paul Mitchell, Allan Preston, Billy Dodds, Brian McLaughlin, and Big Dick deliberately NOT MENTION this challenge at any point during the broadcast? See how balance can be awkward and inconvenient! Finally, Craig Levein's post match outburst to Brian McLaughlin was well received at PQ, they would have called it, 'balanced'. He knew what he was doing, he did the very same as Dundee United manager, at Ibrox ten years past. He was flanked by his then club Chairman, Eddie Thompson. After a 3-1 defeat, he proclaimed, "we were never going to be allowed to win that game". Craig always sounds balanced when he is pushing at an open door. More PQ balance to ensue, when the Dandies visit Ibrox tomorrow evening.
  3. 9 points
    If there's one thing worse than these modern two week international breaks, it's losing the game immediately before it. Fortunately, in our last game against Motherwell, not only did we win, we routed the Lanarkshire side 7-1 so, despite the fortnight's holiday since, confidence should remain high in the Rangers camp. And, given this week's return to SPFL action is against Livingston who beat us a couple of months back, what better way to start a run of 11 games in 35 days than with another decisive Ibrox victory? Of course, despite our excellent home form this season, it's not always as simple as that. First and foremost, Livi deserve a lot of credit for their campaign so far. Yes, their style may not be easy on the eye from time to time; yes, their artificial pitch is very poor, and, yes, they may have dropped down the table since we last played them but to come up from the Championship and do so well after losing two managers since then, says a lot about the character and belief in their squad. Defensively they are very good (with former 'Gers Liam Kelly and Craig Halkett leading the way) but they're also well organised in midfield and work hard throughout the rest of the team to not only concede few goals but to take any chances they do get in attack. As such, Saturday's match is by no means a foregone conclusion and it's unlikely we'll see another seven home goals. The good news for Rangers fans is that since that last league defeat in West Lothian, we've only dropped two points in the league and, despite some indifferent form, have climbed the table ourselves back into third place just two points behind Celtic and Hearts. Moreover, with almost a full squad of players at his disposal, Steven Gerrard will be keen to consolidate and improve upon that position over the winter period. Indeed, with Celtic at Ibrox in five weeks time ahead of the winter break, how good would it be to go into that game, knowing a victory would take (or even keep) us top of the league? Obviously there's a lot of football to be played before that match and Rangers have a hugely demanding run of games. Not only do we still have two vital Europa League games left which could see us progress from our section against what seemed unlikely odds, we have nine league fixtures to complete: including two against Hibs as well as matches versus Hearts and Aberdeen before Celtic visit at the end of the year. It couldn't get any tougher really and we'll see exactly what our players (and manager actually) are made of physically and mentally during the rest of 2018. In that sense, our inconsistency this season has perhaps been understandable. Wholesale changes - not just in our playing squad but in the management/coaching team - means patience has to be a byword for, well, often impatient fans. Of course dropping points against teams like Livi or Killie the other week is disappointing but neither do we have the right to win every game and play well also. With that in mind, the chances of us winning every game between now and the start of 2019 are rather low so whilst we rightly demand the best, it's important we remain behind the team and manager no matter what happens going forward. That's not to excuse bad performance just to understand we have to be realistic in terms of the bigger picture. Even so, realism tells us we should win this weekend. Although these breaks are never good for squad continuity it will have allowed Gerrard and his players time to work on their play and those two weeks will be invaluable as we go into a period of games where rest and recovery will be just as important as actual training. As such, this will mean every player playing their part given it will be impossible to play the same team in every game on this run. This Saturday though demands three points so Gerrard will be keen to play a strong team even if he'll be tempted to keep some players back for the visit of Villarreal on Thursday night. As such, I'd expect an XI along the lines below to start this Saturday. Aside from any likely changes in defence, the way we cleverly handled a physical Motherwell side, should allow for the same attacking players to get the job done against Livi though niggles for the likes of Middleton may now permit that. Luckily, it says a lot about our squad, that guys like Middleton, Lafferty, Katic and Barisic (who could be a key player if he can stay fit) may not start this weekend. Indeed, for the first time in a long time, we could easily start a second XI to do the business in most SPFL games so every player should consider themselves capable of getting into the team at some point. Such competition for places will go a long way to deal with the schedule and deliver the kind of points tally required to offer a genuine title challenge. Is talk of a such a challenge realistic? Perhaps not, perhaps it's too ambitious and certainly premature given the discussion above but at some point we need to believe again and there's no time like the present. Possible team (4-2-3-1):
  4. 8 points
    "Toto, I've a feeling we're no longer in Kansas anymore". The production of the Wizard of Oz in 1938/39 is best remembered these days for bacchanalian depravity on and off set. The film had five Directors and ten screenwriters. The Munchkins were regaled as, 'pimps, hookers, and gamblers', the police regularly attended the hotel accommodating the actors to extinguish drunken violence and take statements on alleged sexual assault. A teenage Judy Garland was hooked on both uppers and downers, was touched up by a couple of members of the Lollipop Guild, and suffered regular bouts of violence from one of the Directors. The continuing willingness of folks to slip their feet into Dorothy's sparkly red slippers indicates their attraction to a certain darkness. The phrase, "Toto, I've a feeling we're no longer in Kansas anymore" is both an acknowledgement of change in circumstance and a celebration of arrival on the cusp of pernicious darkness? I remember reading a piece a dozen years past, it was an interview with the last surviving member of the Lollipop Guild. He opined the tremendous difficulty of shooting the long sequence of Dorothy's introduction to the Guild. It's a crowded scene requiring fixed smiles, dialogue and singing, choreographed movement amid changing long shots and closeups, and timing had to be on the money. There was an ever present threat and administration of violence, the cast were both punched and kicked. You could argue with the Director and his Overseers but there was no point, they had the Bullhorns, their amplification intimidated everyone. Simply, the Wizard of Oz is a homage to the Hectors in life. The biggest Bullhorn in the country resides in Pacific Quay, BBC Scotland is the NATIONAL broadcaster. The Lizard of Ouse resides by the river, brooding and soaking up the weak winter sunshine. She allows her Overseers to broadcast with impunity, the bullies are in control. DrStu' utilised the megaphone to name Jim Traynor for the third week in a row, and to ridicule a PQ colleague, Kenny McIntyre for the fifth week in a row. Cowan read out an e-mail from John of Uddingston(the show's Producer) proclaiming the biggest cringe was listening to McIntyre presenting a nightly version of Rangers greatest heroes, or Sportsound as it's formally known. DrStu' supported the drama by theatrical guffawing, culminating in, "absolutely"! It sounded scripted and rehearsed. Why is Donalda MacKinnon allowing DrStu' to continually bully a colleague? DrStu' does not allow his own vanity to be impinged. On Saturday, another e-mail from an Aberdonian was read, it identified DrStu' as a constant critic of Alex McLeish, the national coach. Further, this criticism was personal and to the detriment of the national team, finally asking for DrStu' to consider his position at BBC Scotland. Clearly, DrStu' does not see the responsibility that comes with access to the megaphone. Anyways, DrStu' came back to that particular e-mail twice in the next five minutes, he was concerned he was being isolated and he has a right to a different opinion. He supported Jum Spence's view that McLeish should not be appointed because he has an EBT(how does he share a studio with Billy Dodds and Steven Thomson) and voices off regularly about Big Eck's big house in Fulham. This all goes to prove that DrStu' has a first class ego, and a second class mind. BBC Scotland celebrated forty years of specific broadcasting last week, DrStu' has been at least a weekly fixture for two thirds of that time. He has survived a lot of changes because he is a Toadie. When Donalda MacKinnon was appointed, he announced, "I've met her once, I like her, I like her a lot". In his sixty-seventh year he has learned to hate more carefully. In 24 years he has gone from sneering at license fee paying Rangers supporters or, "h-u-ns and typical orange wankers" as he called us; to rocking his maternal Donegal born grandmother's name as a nom de guerre on the RTC Blog for five years. DrStu' no longer has to claim Rangers supporters ransacked Barcelona's cathedral in 1972, preventing a Rangers supporting colleague from sharing access to the microphone is sufficient to achieve his aim, 'a cleansing'. Accusing DrStu' of bullying will be met with his tell all retort, "not at all" but he remains consumed by hate, why is he intolerant of Kenny McIntyre? DrStu' views Bears as Munchkins and he knows the value of holding that Bullhorn. Another colleague, Chris McLaughlin has been a long term fixture at Beeb Scotland, he has never appeared on 'Off the Ball'. He refuses to do so, and has been promoted twice. DrStu' also knows the value of the off button on that Bullhorn.
  5. 8 points
    Talk about a quantum leap of epic proportions... Who needs enemies and all that. He's been charged, how about we actually let the case run its course before we jump to condemnation ? Innocent until proven guilty and all that, no ? I am not defending him if he has done this - but we have seen plenty of examples of false accusation - just look at your own neck of the woods where it is now known that at least one of Kavanaugh's accusers admitted to fabricating the allegation.
  6. 7 points
  7. 7 points
    PLG's greatest signing. After signing a couple of dud centre halfs, PLG bought Papac to try to shore up a very leaky defence. But it was when Papac moved to left back that he made the position his own and grew into the affections of the fans with consistency, effort, heart and talent. A model pro to boot. All fans, and certainly all Rangers fans, have favourite players and some they dont rate at all. The biggest compliment I can pay Sasa is that I never heard anyone who didnt think we was worthy of wearing our shirt.
  8. 6 points
    Just when you think it is time to stop for a breath you realise the next game is tomorrow already. Villarreal have come and gone with a 0-0 draw and poor Daniel Candeias undeservedly getting sent off for the second time in a few weeks. Again a referee invented a story to cover up the cock-up he himself conjoured up. Funnily enough Rangers have ended up with a one game knockout fight with Rapid Vienna and our mission is clear. We must win or the Europaleague will be in cold storage until next season. Anyway that is for another day the Europaleague has to take second place as we have to fly into preperation mode for our big game against Hearts at Tynecastle. What a massive match this game has turned into for us. Due to Celtic playing Aberdeen in the League cup final Rangers have a fantastic chance to go top of the league. Yes, Celtic will have a game in hand but it is points they have to win and it puts just a little bit more pressure on them to do so. It will be great to see all the grudging headlines on Monday pronouncing us league leaders, We will of course have to flick through three pages of Aberdeen v Celtic and use a magnifying glass to see the headline. Their game in hand will also be well highlighted you can put your bottom dollar on that. Before we are that far though we have the difficult task of getting a winning result at Tynecastle. Hearts have been in poor form of late only taking just one point from their last four matches, losing 2-0 in their last game against relegation fighters St Mirren 2-0. When Rangers stride into town though all the form books go out the window. Teams seem to find a bit of extra fight that they had lost in the games running up to our game. In Hearts favour, they have had some reasonable games against Celtic of late beating them 4-0 last season and 1-0 this season at Tynecastle. They have since lost their two main forwards in Kyle Lafferty, who was transferred to us, and also Steven Naismith to in jury. The ex-ger was the leagues top scorer before he was injured and was also first pick striker for the Scotland team. The Hearts manager Craig Levein, is a manager who builds his teams on being hard to beat rather than a full out attacking machine. I don't think anyone will forget his 4-6-0 formation when he was the Scotland manager in a must win game. I doubt he will play that on Sunday but he will certainly have his team organised and well drilled. That does not mean they will park the bus in a ten man eighteen yard block, just that they will play out from a solid defence. With the Rangers players having had that difficult game on Thursday in their legs, Steven Gerrard may look to freshen things up a little. In his press conference he emphasised the point that Daniel Candeias would at least have fresh legs for Sunday, so I would imagine that makes him a starter. I think he may bring back Eros Grezda and give young Glenn Middleton a rest on the bench. Grezda looked to be starting to show some good form and scored two goals in the 7-1 thrashing of Motherwell before being dropped back to the bench for the last two games. Strangely he has not even appeared as a substitute as he was starting to show some good form. I doubt Gerrard will drop the fantastic in form Alan McGregor and I will guess that Tavernier and Goldson will keep their places. I expect McAuley to return to the team in place of Worrel and with Borna Barisic fit again after a two month lay-off he will come in at left-back. Left-back has been a problem position for us of late with Halliday and Flanagan being pretty shaky to say the least. Flanagan almost gifting Villarreal a goal on Thursday if it was not for McGregor making a wonder save. The other position worth discussing is the central midfield role. With Rossiter,Jack, Ejaria, Arfield, Coulibaly and McCrorie all with their hat in the ring. I would be surprised if Gerrard dropped Ryan Jack or scott Arefield for this one so that leaves a choice between Coulibally or Ejaria for me as I don't think the others will start. Ejaria missed out on Wednesday while Coulibaly excelled against Villarreal so that is a really difficult choice to make. I think Gerrard may go with the slightly more attacking Ejaria to try and play in the Hearts half but my own choice would be Coulibaly as I feel Ejaria flatters to deceive and slows the game down by his twisting and turning on the ball. We saw how Villarreal can slice through the midfield with quick one touch passing and that is what I miss with Ejaria. I think Gerrard will go with Ejaria though. The team I think Gerrard will play is: McGregor Tavernier McAuley Goldson Barisic Jack Ejaria Candeias Arefield Grezda Morelos. I personally would go with Coulibaly. We have not been top of the league since 2011. It has been a long wait so hopefully that wait comes to an end on Sunday and we return to where we belong. Onwards and upwards. C'mon the Gers!!!
  9. 6 points
    Then, I am utilising the nut to crush their steam hammer. A couple of the guys behind Gersnet will know what I am referring to here. It was over a dozen years ago, we were attending the weekly RST Board meeting. Colin Glass and I had been at another afternoon meeting with Martin Bain in Argyll House and were reporting to the rest of the Board. After relating the depressing events, I was of the opinion we should find a way to keep Bain mindful of the supporters' concerns reference the club's position. One of the Board asked as to the placement of Bain's office? Telling him it overlooked the car park at the back of the Govan Stand, our young Thruster fae Ershur said, 'his office overlooks those billboards, I'll check availability and rates, get back to you next week'. We hired the centre billboard and put up an invitation to join the Trust and protect Rangers' supporters' interests. Every day, the former catalogue model sat at his desk and was reminded of our concerns, every time he turned his head. A later meeting with Murray revealed Martin hated that particular month at his desk. Good! I suppose it's the Three Billboards outside Ebbing thing that has brought it back to mind. What are the thoughts on Rangers supporters crowd funding the hiring of a billboard in view of PQ, and posting a message that will continually remind them of deliberately failing to provide license fee paying Rangers supporters with the same service provided to other fans of other clubs?
  10. 6 points
    Yes! Yes! Yes! The international stop is over for a while and it is back to the main course serving of club football. The international stops seem to last longer and longer every time they come around. Two weeks feels like a month. I will congratulate Scotland for winning their group but to be honest I have no idea how the who;e competition is built up and no interest really to spend any time investigating it. I will say though that I had classed James Forrester as a bit of a cartoon character but he is proving even the staunchest Rangers supporters wrong, as he is a pretty good player. Anyway enough of that international tasteless plate of soup and back to the five Michelin star serving of watching the Rangers. Well maybe we are only two star at the moment but it is a million times better than the slops we have been served up for the last few years. Firstly Warburton's bread and stutter pudding, which tasted the same week in and week out. It felt like one of these dishes that tastes great when it first hits the tongue but after a few servings tastes dour and stodgy. Then came Pedro Caixchinha. The British food critic Giles Coren once said ”Portuguese cooking is the worst on earth.” Well that comes across with the management skills Pedro Caixchinha showed at Ibrox. If I think what he cooked up at Ibrox then I can only come up with the Swedish chef in the Muppets. Kitchen chaos and saying words that make no sense, yes there was a very big resemblance between Pedro and the Swedish chef. Thankfully it looks like steven Steven Gerrard has us on the à la carte menu and is not always palatable but you can see his game plan and we do seem to be getting stronger as the players get used to each other. On Saturday we get a visit from Livingston. In our last game against them you could say we were black balled as their plastic pitch filled with all those black balls stopped rangers playing the technical football that we are used to seeing. They beat us 1-0 but I believe the pitch beat us more than Livingston did. They are used to playing on that surface on a daily basis and have developed their style to suit. In fact Livingston have won four games at home and drawn two while they have only won one away game and drawing two. Their only away win being against a lowly St Mirren team. I suppose you can say the draw with Hearts at Tynecastle was a good result but given Motherwell's form this season, their draw at Fir Park was a stand out for a draw on your betting slip. All in all, after our 7-1 win against Motherwell, Rangers should be approaching the game with confidence. Livingston will play their normal game of sitting in and trying to get a goal from a set piece. The long throw-in is also a valuable weapon in their armoury but hopefully Rangers will play the high press and have Livingston pinned in their own half. Steven Gerrard held an interview with Rangers TV and said that Ryan Kent is two weeks away from fitness and Borna Barisic may only make the bench for Saturday but should be fit for Thursday's game against Villareal at Ibrox. All other players are fit except for the two long term injured players, Graham Dorrans and Jamie Murphy. He also said that Jordon Rossiter was also fully fit but would need to fight for his place in the team. One thing the 7-1 win against Motherwell and the international stop let us see is that we do have a good player in Eros Grezda. Eros scored two goals against Motherwell and gave Callum Paterson the run around in Scotland's 4-0 win against Albania. Scotland won easily but Grezda was by far Albania's best player and looks to be gaining in fitness and confidence. I think we will see a change in our defensive line-up with Connor Goldson returning and I think we may be surprised with a start for Gareth McAuley. I am a big Katic fan but he is not the player we signed and played at the start of the season. He looks to be carrying an injury or has just lost confidence. I have never been that impressed with Joe Worrel. He stands at a tall 6'4in, but jumps to about 5'10inches when trying to head a ball. We talk about some players having extendible necks but Worrel's seems to retract to James Forrester proportions. I think Gerrard will stick with Middleton Morelos and Grezda in the forward positions and keep Candeias fit for the game on Thursday against Villareal. I think the team will be: McGregor Tavernier Goldson McAuley Halliday Jack Grezda Arfield Ejaria Middleton Morelos I doubt it will be a high scoring game to be honest as I think Livingston are too well organised in defence for that, but I will pluck for a tidy 2-0 win. I didn't think Motherwell would be a high scoring game either mind you. Anyway! C,mon the Gers!!!! I had written a preview before Frankie put his up. It is a shame to bin it maybe someone will enjoy the read.
  11. 5 points
    We have a tough game on Thursday no doubt, I can see us getting a draw at best. We have exceeded expectations in Europe this season and played really well giving us fans great nights while also gaining great exposure, however the league is priority, especially this month! and if we beat Hearts this weekend we will go top of the league, so if I had my choice of which game to win it would the Hearts game. It would be excellent if we could win both though!.
  12. 5 points
    Improvements off the park will maximise the chances of that.
  13. 5 points
    So there was a crush at Celtic park nearly ending in catastrophe and he is worried about fan safety at Ibrox!!??
  14. 5 points
    If his accuser had to declare her identity you can be sure this case would never have come to court. Either both should enjoy anonymity ... or neither
  15. 4 points
    I can't stop looking at the League table.
  16. 4 points
  17. 4 points
  18. 4 points
    This is a huge match for Rangers, bigger than the Villarreal match, a chance to go top is a massive incentive and our players should take advantage of this opportunity. If Kille beat Hibs today at home they will jump above us in the league so this is a must win match, if we are serious about challenging for the title then it starts here.
  19. 4 points
    Why not both, simultaneously?
  20. 4 points
    Michael Stewart is a stupid person's idea of a clever person.
  21. 4 points
    The league title in the trophy room from that seasons efforts
  22. 4 points
    sherbrook_loyal Administrator Staff Member Joined: Sep 4, 2017 Messages: 2,841 Trophy Points: 113 Location: Summerisle New
  23. 4 points
    Gareth McAuley is an absolute beast in there. Not much game time so far but very quickly will be our 1st choice starter IMO.
  24. 4 points
    It had become a routine trip for Jonatan Johansson. As Finland's assistant manager, surveying the nation's top sides was simply part of the day job. His remit was to keep tabs on homegrown talent but it was as 2016 drew to a close he first became aware of a young Colombian U-20 striker by the name Alfredo Morelos. Plucked from obscurity in Medellin, his goals had fuelled HJK Helsinki's tilt at the Finnish title. And although they eventually came up three points short, Johansson struggled to recall a player of this ilk in the Veikkausliiga. After all, 30 goals in 43 appearances does tend to demand that kind of attention. "I thought he was different from anything the Finnish league had before - strong, a good target man," Johansson said. "He was very - maybe arrogance is the wrong word - but he had that confidence where he just wanted to score goals." Single-minded, bullish, maybe even a bit unorthodox at times - all traits now synonymous with the man known as "El Bufalo". Johannson's association with the Finnish national team was short-lived but his scouting missions to the Telia 5G -areena were to prove hugely valuable - just not in the way he'd first imagined. Over in Scotland, Rangers were on a quest of their own. Mark Warburton's Ibrox reign had just ended and the club were set to complete the ill-fated appointment of Pedro Caixinha. The Portuguese coach was a Scottish football novice and the addition of Johansson, a former Rangers striker, as assistant coach was seen as a shrewd move. Johansson, with an extensive knowledge of Scottish football, was handed a lengthy list of players to watch but there was someone else, someone off the grid that stuck in his mind. By this point, that all-action Colombian kid who'd caught his eye had picked up where he left off the previous season. Admiring glances from around Europe were turning into firm offers and it was clear Morelos' time in Finland would soon be over. Whoever was to convince HJK to part with their prized asset would have to move quickly, but in Johansson Rangers had a way in. "Pedro was trying to reshape the squad and he gave me a lot of players to watch - different leagues, different types", he said. "I felt that Alfredo fitted the profile perfectly. I had very good contacts with HJK, I knew the manager, players and the chief-executive. "I think with every player there are risks and it's about minimising those risks. "It's about doing as much research as possible, to see how he is as a player and speak to coaches and team-mates to get as many opinions on him as possible, find out what he's like as a person and everything else." Johansson set about studying Morelos and became increasingly confident he'd be a star at Ibrox. Martyn Waghorn had bagged 16 goals across all competitions in 2016/17 but Caixinha was never a fan, while Joe Garner's £1.2million move from Preston hadn't worked out. Both men were out the door before long and reliable marksman was required. Johansson said: "It's a profile you're looking for - everything comes into it, wage-wise, do you want to sell him on? Do you want to play him in different positions? Do you want to play him first striker or third striker? "All of that comes into it but I felt the price was right and I knew he had a get-out clause. "That's why I felt he was very good value for money. "I found out what he was like and brought it to Pedro. "I said, 'I think this player would be good, he fits all the boxes'. I told him of the other things we'd need to be wary of, the risks. "Pedro liked him and took it from there." The top table at Rangers were now aware of this South American livewire making waves in Northern Europe, but HJK's season was in to full swing and so was Morelos. Another 17 goals in 19 games had convinced clubs to start putting money on the table. An offer arrived from Spain that would likely have ticked several boxes for the frontman - there would be no language barrier and he'd be moving to a climate much more akin to his native Colombia. But, in footballing terms at least, the player's camp felt Rangers was a better fit and and the man himself was impressed in conversations with the club. The growing Spanish-speaking contingent at Ibrox certainly did no harm, either. A source close to the player said: "At the time Alfredo signed for Rangers there was an offer from Spain, but we felt Rangers was a much better option for the player. "We felt that the style of football in Scotland would suit him really well. He's a physical player, he works hard and obviously Rangers are a massive, massive club. "That was one of the main factors. It wasn't like Rangers offered more money or anything like that. We felt from a footballing point of view that was the best option for him. "He had a chat with the coaching staff, who obviously spoke some Spanish. He had a chat with them and was impressed with what they said. "It definitely helped that there were Spanish speakers at the club." Johansson, meanwhile, felt a move to Rangers was the right choice for a player who was outgrowing his current surroundings. Morelos was still a gamble, it was acknowledged, but the coach had the backing of his superiors. "I felt that he needed to get a new challenge from Finland because he was dominating that league," Johansson explained. "It's the same with any young player, if they become too comfortable that's a risk - you have to challenge them. "I felt the Scottish league was the next step, it would be perfect for him in a team that dominates possession in most games, like Rangers. "Player profiling and player recruitment is a big, big area. There's a lot of money in transfers and you have to be careful to get the best out of everything. "So much comes into it and at the end of the day there's still a risk, especially with young players. "But I felt confident and obviously Pedro and Stewart Robertson felt the same." Managing director Robertson hammered out an agreement with HJK and Johansson helped Morelos acquire a work permit. The deal took little over a week to complete and on June 19, 2017, he became a Rangers player for the bargain price of just £1m. Morelos finished his first season in Scotland as the club's joint top scorer alongside Josh Windass, helping himself to 18 goals. But it's under Steven Gerrard, who will be thankful the club fended off interest from China, France and Turkey before his arrival, that Morelos has flourished. He's already just three strikes shy of last season's tally and a first senior cap for Colombia has been just reward for his efforts. A humble Johansson, now manager at Greenock Morton, is happy to have his name associated with one of the club's most astute signings in recent times, but he'd rather the credit went elsewhere. He added: "I'm delighted for Alfredo and Rangers. He's a good lad and I have to give big credit to the current management team for really getting the best out of him. "He's looking really sharp, fit, confident and hungry and that's down to the manager and his team. "At the end of the day, recruitment is one part but you need to do a lot of work on the training pitch. I just want to say that's the most important thing at the end of the day. "Obviously when you put your name to a player that's great so I'm very happy for everybody and I hope when he moves on it will be a good deal player and club." https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/inside-story-how-rangers-brought-13613607
  25. 4 points
    I bought a newspaper yesterday (The Times), it's the first one I've read since I was on a long flight about a fortnight ago. It's actually fantastic. The 'magazine' alone has a fascinating article about triplets in America separated and put up for adoption, an interview with Lenny Kravitz daughter, a bodyguard, a woman who underwent pioneering stem cell treatment on her MS and an interview with Little Mix, that I'm hoping will make me look pretty smart to my 10 year old daughter. I'd recommend it to anyone, it's less than a couple of pounds too. I think we conflate a number of issues when we speak about the demise of newspapers. Firstly the problems with Johnston Group, the company who own the Scotsman, are unfortunately typical for a number of 'media groups'. I do genuinely think this is a bad thing, not so much for titles like The Scotsman or the Yorkshire Post, there are alternatives to them, but for the many, many smaller local titles like the Stornoway Gazette or the Southern Reporter in the Borders also owned by Johnston Group. There's not only still a desire for 'local' news but also need for it. Who will watch the councillors or the police or the land owners without them? Secondly the issues with Johnston Group, for me, are around ownership and expectation. The aforementioned Stornoway Gazette and Southern Reporter simply shouldn't be owned by hedge funds. They should be independently owned, ideally by person or people local to that area. A living can be made from a local 'paper', but it can't deliver the kind of profits demanded by stock market listed PLCs. The ownership model is wrong, not the concept itself. News in the press has been 'out-of-date' since the advent of the radio. Television has been a mainstay of our culture since the 60s, the press reporting yesterday's news has been the case for decades now. The internet has sped up the ability to follow breaking stories and general news, but newspapers were always much more than 'news'. Part of the problem for 'papers' is the change in advertising, which not only create income for papers but also drove sales. Jobs, cars, property, personal ads, local buy and sell, were reasons to buy papers. It's the loss of this that's been the main problem. Added to changing social habits such as fewer people using public transport and fewer people smoking so visiting a newsagent and buying tobacco, a packet of mints and the evening paper. Obviously us all carrying smart phones also takes away the need to buy a 'paper'. The great thing about newspapers for me is their coverage of other topics that I'd simply never read otherwise (Little Mix above for example). The internet in particular creates echo chambers, where too many people are drawn to people with the same views as them. I've basically left two other Rangers messageboards because anyone with a different view was simply shouted down. I watched the evisceration of Forlan's Sister and Gunslinger on a different messageboard with dismay. Their view went against the orthodoxy of the mods and loud voices there, yet even though it was clearly thought out and considered it was dismissed in an aggressive and intolerant way. The fact they were later proved correct is of little consolation. It is to the great credit of Frankie and the other admins on here that they both foster and encourage different views, but let's not pretend that's the norm for the internet. Newspapers have always had political bias. That's been part of their attraction for many readers. Some do occupy the middle ground and have columnists and articles from across the spectrum. Others very clearly nail their colours to a mast. That's fine too, no one makes you buy them. I guess the internet is the same, but on steroids. The coverage of Scottish football, for so long a mainstay of the Scottish press, draws criticism from many of us. But we should be careful about writing off the entire industry because of that. Does anyone think democracy is safer or better today than it was 10 or 20 years ago? Do you think people are better informed, more balanced and able to see different views? Or have we become more entrenched, more tribal, more hung up on identity than on rational experience? I know what I think. Someone needs to pay journalists to carry out the interviews, to follow the leads and to be able to compose prose that enlightens, or moves or angers us. If we lose that the only way is downwards in my opinion.
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