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  1. Following Bill Leckie's outrageous and xenophobic attack on Alfredo Morelos article in today's Sun newspaper, we have decided enough is enough. It is proposed that all references to the Sun and any of its articles are now banned on Gersnet. We will not give oxygen to this Rangers hating, racist rag, and I'd call on all Gersnet members to support this. We would add our support to the voices calling for the club to ban the paper and its journalists from Ibrox and for the few remaining Rangers supporters who buy it or read it to boycott it with immediate effect. Some more detail on this issue for posterity here: https://gersnet.co.uk/index.php/news-category/current-affairs/1123-dinosaur-journalist-left-in-the-past-as-gersnet-bans-tabloid-content
    24 points
  2. Overview A loss of £11.3m has unsurprisingly made the front pages but are we really in such a bad shape? I’d argue that we are not for 3 main reasons: · The loss is funded by the directors/investors who have converted most of their loans into share capital. · We have no external debt · I will argue below that the inherent loss is well under £5m and can be contained by regular European football and the sale of players after development. What is the loss? The loss of £11.3m has been heavily publicised but the extent of the loss is misleading due to relatively new accounting rules, which make it harder to understand the accounts. Included in interest payable are net amounts of £2.6m of notional interest which is only there for accounting purposes and will never actually be paid and can therefore be ignored. I would therefore argue that the actual loss for the year was £8.7m. To highlight this, we had £2.3m charged through last year’s accounts, most of which were on investors’ loans. When the loans got converted to share capital, an amount of £2.8m got added back to retained earnings. That is the main reason why the retained loss in the balance sheet moved from £38.7m of losses to £46.8m, a movement of £8.1m and not the £11.3m that you would expect. Confused? Yeah, me too. It’s difficult enough for accountants to understand it, never mind the man on the street. The bottom line is that if the accounts were prepared 10 years ago, they would be showing a £8.7m loss. Results The £8.7m loss contains at least £3.6m of legal fees which will hopefully not occur in the longer term plus some additional player amortisation (the writing off of transfer fees) of £3.3m on top of the normal charge of £4m. There would always be an extent of additional write offs but this year’s seems very high (possibly due to some of Pedro’s purchases and Grezda?). The underlying inherent loss is therefore arguably well under £5m. Revenue Revenue increased from £32.7m to £53.2m (+£20.5m), mainly due to our European run. We received £6.4m in European prize money and £7.9m in gate receipts, a total of £14.3m, which highlights how important a run in Europe is to us. Staff costs Staff costs increased by a whopping 43% in the year, going from £24m to £34m, which was a result of bringing Gerrard to the club and a significant increase in the quality of the squad. This sounds bad but the following should be taken into account: · Staff costs as a percentage of revenue have actually fallen from 73.8% to 64.8%. The average for the English Championship, League 1 and League 2 for last season were 106%, 94% and 78% respectively, so it shows that the level we have it is reasonable, albeit based on European income, which isn’t guaranteed. · Celtic’s staff costs are 63% higher than ours. Other operating expenses Other Operating Expenses increased from £13m to £22m due mainly to · the costs involved in an additional 9 home games · the travel costs for our European games and pre-season · additional legal and professional fees of £3.6m, due mainly to the ongoing Sports Direct dispute Sale of players We made a £3.1m profit on the sale of players. I assume that Windass and Gilmour would make up a majority of that. However we need more of that to sustain a break-even situation in the future. Our model looks to be largely working as I’d argue that we have at least 10 players on whom we should be able to make at least a 7 figure profit. Retail Retail income was £3.3m for the year whereas it was probably under £500K in the prior year. This was offset by high legal costs of at least £3.6m. The legal costs for the current year may not be reduced and therefore there’s an argument that we are worse off signing the new agreement with Sports Direct than we were previously as we had an end date after giving our 7 years’ notice, whereas the current agreement appears not to have an end date. The full facts have yet to come out and therefore a full assessment can’t be made yet but, although the directors should take great credit for funding the club, it seems that they have not dealt with the retail situation well and we are not any better under the new arrangement which they signed. Cash I was initially surprised that the level of cash was only at £1m, but we have £14.7m of debtors which is season ticket cash which is in respect of season tickets that are paid by supporters using deferred payment plans or credit cards so that will be converted into cash. The credit card companies are passing on the cash over the course of a season to limit their risk. This isn’t an issue as it’s only a short term cashflow problem and it hasn’t prevented us from spending £10m on Kent and Helander after the financial year-end. However I may consider paying my season ticket by debit card rather than credit card in the future to allow the club to get the cash quicker. Funding The accounts show investor loans of £11m down from £23.4m after some were converted into shares, and another loan, possibly from Close Leasing, of £3m. There were additional investor loans of £5.2m provided during the year. Dave King has committed to providing an additional £10m this season and £5m next season which highlights the incredible commitment he and the other investors have to the club. Improvements There was £4.3m of fixed asset expenditure, presumably work done on Ibrox and HTC. This highlights that the directors are investing significantly in the club’s infrastructure as well as the playing squad. Sundry The club’s bankers have changed from the Metro Bank to Barclays. This is a further example of the normalisation of the club’s operations and it’s good to see that we’re now dealing with a bigger high street bank, and also removes questions created by Metro Bank’s issues earlier this year which saw a number of other clients leave them. Post year-end The accounts do not reflect the signing of Kent and Helander and they will appear in the 2020 accounts, although it should be remembered that the £11m spent will be written off over the length of their contracts. The future The losses over the last few years are not a concern as they have been fully funded by our directors/investors and we should be very grateful to them for that. We are able to continue to make losses while the directors continue to fund them but that cannot go on indefinitely. King has committed to fund us at least until the end of next season, so the level of losses are not an issue at the moment, and player sales, with hopefully in excess of £20m being realised for Morelos in the summer will put a much brighter light on our financial position. We do need to get regular European group football, sort out the retail side once and for all and regularly make profits on player sales in excess of £5m to allow us to break even and this is the business model that our directors have been putting in place. We know from bitter experience that we need to keep an eye on our financial position and my outlook may change over the next few years but I don’t believe that this set of accounts is anything to be overly pessimistic about. The loss isn’t great but it’s been fully funded. We are in a solid financial position and there are no short term concerns.
    22 points
  3. The plan for Glasgow was very different to what we have today, the city was going to be unrecognisable in many, many ways. Some plans just don’t work out. Emerging from the horror and brutality of the Second World War Glasgow was surprisingly unscathed compared to many other European cities. Yes, it had suffered bombing in the early part of the war and, of course, nearby Clydebank had experienced extensive devastation but the centre of Glasgow, the heart of Scotland’s largest city, the industrial powerhouse of the empire, the beating heart of the heavy industry that powered much of the world, was largely intact. That was the problem. In 1945 Glasgow’s Master Of Works and the city’s Chief Engineer, Robert Bruce, produced plans that would have transformed the city centre. Not only would the majority of warehouses and markets that today make up the Merchant City have been demolished but so would Central Station, the Mackintosh designed School of Art and, arguably the city’s finest building, the City Chambers. These awe-inspiring architectural masterpieces would have been pulled down and a new ‘Modernist’ inspired city centre built in their place. Try and imagine a new city chambers built on the north bank of the Clyde, with new law courts beside them. The city would have two new train stations, one roughly where Queen Street Station stands today and new huge ‘South Station’ built on the south side of the Clyde close to the river. Literally thousands of new buildings would need constructed, business and people would be decanted, streets disappear, familiar landmarks reduced to rubble and replaced with grandiose civic centres and new arterial roads. Its scale and ambition was breath taking and it was actually given initial planning approval by the city corporation. An exhibition at the Kelvin Hall was planned for 1947 where the plans for the new city would be shown to the public. Thankfully a mixture of public concern, political influence and simple economics led to the Bruce Plan being shelved before the exhibition could take place. Whilst you could admire the ambition of Bruce, he lacked the understanding of what makes a city great; namely it’s people, and you underestimate the people at your peril. This weekend might just see another plan for Glasgow begin to unravel. Rangers weren’t meant to challenge again. The club had been dealt if not a fatal blow certainly enough hits to put it down and keep it down for a long time. Or so some people hoped. With unfettered access to the Champion’s League and all the money, profile and prestige that goes with it Celtic, this weekend’s visitors, were ideally placed to capitalise on whatever Machiavellian plans European football’s elite have next. They could hoover up all the sponsorship, corporate hospitality and public identity the city has to offer too, after all who was going to stop them? Rangers, a seeming basket case a matter of months ago, were a club unable to attract the Rangers supporting, Renfrewshire based Aberdeen manager, a club unable to win three games in a row, a club unable to defend a lead at home. Yet, here we are. Where are we exactly? Well, we’re second in the league, unbeaten in the last six matches and have only lost once this year. So we’re not where we want to be but we’re a lot closer to it than we have been for a while. It’s not just the victories that have excited the support, it’s their manner too. We’re fluid, fast and well balanced. Goals are being scored across the team, chances are being created regularly, players are linking up well, there seems to be an understanding now particularly middle to front. More pleasingly we seem to have some fight about us again. We win the 50/50s now, we’re competing all across the pitch, we’re not being bullied and put off our game. It’s remarkable to write this, as this team is really only two months old. The signings of Murphy, Docherty, Martin, Goss and Cummings have galvanised, strengthened and improved a squad that stuttered from week to week prior to their arrival. Added to that we’ve seen Tavernier and Windass emerge as important players, Bates now looks like a Rangers defender and Morelos gets the kind of service and support his superb forward play deserves. This has all been achieved under the guidance of a rookie youth team manager forced into the hardest job in Scottish football whilst the club very publically courted someone else. It’s funny how some plans don’t work out. Before I get too carried away a word of caution. This Celtic side are still capable of scoring goals and winning matches. Their form hasn’t been as good as last season but it’s still better than anyone else in the league and we’d do well to remember that. They have some injuries and some players seem to be out of form, but they’ve still only lost 2 matches all domestic season and have the experience and confidence to harm us if we’re not careful. Whatever our current feelings of renewed confidence we’ve not beaten Celtic since that glorious day at Hampden 2 years ago and a lot has changed at both clubs since. Sunday will be a stern test and one we’re not favourites to win. I’d be surprised if our starting XI is very different from the side that’s largely picked itself in recent weeks. If fit I expect Murphy to return to the side at the expense of Cummings. Foderingham should also return for league duty. Tav, Bates and Martin should start alongside the only real quandary in the side. A fit Wallace should be our first choice left-back but I’m not sure he’s as fit as he needs to be yet. A run out in a friendly against a Championship side is no preparation for a top of the table challenge. If fit John will start, if not I expect Halliday to play at left back. I expect a midfield of Candieas, Goss, Docherty and Murphy with Windass and Morelos up front. That side has four players making their ‘Old Firm’ debut, a match where experience counts and our central midfield is young and has only played a handful of matches together. Amid my expectation and optimism the realist in me is a little nervous. Despite that we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that it wasn’t meant to be this close. We were meant to be languishing somewhere between Aberdeen and Hibs, turning baliffs away from Edmiston Drive, watching our best players leave for sweetie money and our signings struggle to meet expectations. We’re supposed to be bystanders watching Celtic’s procession to another league title and potential Champion’s League spotlight. That was the plan. Sometimes even the most ambitious plans, whether well intentioned or nefarious, don’t come to fruition. Glasgow doesn’t belong to Celtic, never let them forget that, this is our city too and they don’t get to redesign it without our permission. It’s pleasing we’re not giving it again.
    22 points
  4. Since it's the club's AGM today I thought I'd spend a few mins putting together our own wee message to our members this festive season. In particular, due to losing a couple of folk over the last wee while and for another couple of more positive reasons, I'm looking to expand the admin/contributor team over the next few months. For example, it's been a real shame to see the number of match previews drop off and as much as I'm really proud of our podcast output recently, I'm also very keen to retain written articles across the site/forum as much as possible. Thanks to those who have contributed same in recent times (including @Rick Roberts, @Rousseau and @DMAA) it really does help maintain a forum like this when so many people spend time on other social media nowadays. Other stuff like MotM polls, match reviews and player ratings would all be welcome too! Please, please contribute where you can...! Along with improvements to the podcast (if you haven't already, make sure you check out the superb new video format), the main site has been undergoing a redesign over the last few months which I'm hoping to launch early next year. It looks really good and will compliment the pod and forum very nicely. As such, anyone who is interested in web design, graphics or tech generally might want to get involved in that going forward and we're very lucky to have @blueflag who does a brilliant job for us in terms of tech support. We'll also hopefully have some added functionality to all formats over the next year. We already have the odd well-received competition and we'll likely be partnering up with other external organisations to help continue to fund all our activities and software via one or two promotions we think you'll find interesting. One project will benefit both this site and the club directly which you'll know more about next month. To that end, I'm pleased to say the forum software, hosting and podcast platforms have already been funded through 2021 so, whilst Gersnet continues to be a completely free and independent website , I'd politely ask all of our members to try and help that stay the case by not using ad-blockers, clicking through the odd ad and subscribing to/sharing all our platforms where you can. Finally, to the main point of this thread, if you think you have the time and skills to contribute to the site, please give me a shout by PM. Whilst I know writing articles, working on websites, starring on podcasts or producing graphics etc all takes time, any help offered is greatly appreciated and will help keep our site in place for another 20 years and more... May I also take this opportunity to wish all our members a very merry Christmas and all the very best to you and your families for 2021. Thanks to you all for your continued support of our wee site. I hope you all still enjoying using it as much as I do!
    21 points
  5. Tomorrow evening's League Cup quarter-final against the Honest Men is an opportunity for Steven Gerrard to lay down part of a big marker. There is a similarity to Souness's first season, league draws and defeats had seen Rangers off the pace. Progress in Europe and in the then Skol Cup had fueled optimism. We were paired with Dundee at Ibrox in the last eight, the previous dozen years had seen the dark blues end our cups' involvement on three occasions. There was considerable relief to see Rangers run out 4-1 winners in front of a packed Stadium. We knew we were two games and a calendar month away from securing the first silverware of the season, and so it transpired, defeating ra Sellik 2-1 in the Hampden final on the 26th of October. It was the beginning of a quarter of a century of success. Momentum is everything in football, and Ayr United are on a roll. They were crowned League one champions at the conclusion of last season's final game, and they climbed to the top of the Championship on Saturday last, after recovering from a 2-nil deficit to run-out 3-2 winners. Their top scorer is Lawrence Shankland, currently boasting 21 goals, including three hat-tricks. The centre forward began at Rangers, leaving as a teenager to join Aberdeen. He scored regularly at youth/reserve level, was loaned to a number of clubs, arriving at St Mirren where the perceived wisdom was he carried a dozen extra pounds and lacked the necessary determination to make the top grade. His arrival at Somerset Park changed everything, he became a personal trainer, lost the timber, and honed a real sharpness. There are a number of well kent faces supporting Shankland, Andy Murdoch is no stranger to the Bears, Alan Forrest notched against us in February, and Michael Moffat's intention to fund more Bookies' children through private schooling, are all deserving of a mention. Their manager, Ian McCall is another former Ranger. His playing career saw him start at Fir Park, move to Queens Park, pin balled to East End Park, before arriving at Rangers for £200,000. His debur was at Sellik Park, his first touch a defensive header at an opposition corner, he hit the bar. In the next three seasons, he made 24 appearances, scored 2 goals, including a spectacular winner against Hibs. The Doonhamer resided in the city's west end and tales of his bohemian lifestyle quickly circulated. He missed a couple of training sessions and was transferred to Bradford City for the same amount involved in his arrival. A few years later, he was celebrated in song, "he's white, he's blue, he shat in Simon's shoe". Stainrod had big shoes to fill. McCall's managerial career has been long and varied. Began at Clydebank when the then owners were attempting to transfer the club to a Dublin base. He moved to Airdrie, Morton, Falkirk, Dundee United, Queen of the South, Partick Thistle, before washing up at Ayr. His tenure at Tannadice saw him face Rangers in a League Cup semi-final. Barry Ferguson returned from down south that very day, he was put on as a sub', Rangers running out 7-1 victors. McCall's honesty was refreshing, "it's all my fault, at 2-1 down I decided to go kamikaze"! Bohemians from Dumfries, what are they like? The decades do not change Ian, according to today's press; he is determined to attack Rangers and stick by his preferred two up front. I suspect the game will be entertaining and hopefully McCall will be walking back to Ayr in Simon's shoes. I think Gerrard will ring the changes : Foderingham, Flanagan, Goldson, Worrall, Wallace, Halliday, McCrorie, Grezda, Arfield, Middleton, and Morelos. I take the Bears to go through on the back of a 4-1 victory. In 1986, a month after securing the League Cup, we sat fourth in the Premiership. We exited Europe on December 10th, and went on a 19 league match unbeaten run that brought our first title in nine years. Win this trophy and the momentum will be ours.
    19 points
  6. Great stuff on our main site today from @Rick Roberts - make sure you check it out when you can: https://www.gersnet.co.uk/index.php/news-category/current-affairs/915-dave-king-s-statement-of-intent Dave King's Statement of Intent There’s a basic rule of thumb that wherever competition exists then you have to put effort in to just stand still, to keep your place. To stay ahead you have to adapt, react and put the work in, put more and better work in than those you’re competing against. As soon as you ease off then others will step up and take your place - especially when that place is at the top of the pile. We need to recognise that there are external forces actively acting against our club. It took a lot of hard work and no lack of talent to build Rangers FC into the great institution that we find today but with our position come many that are jealous and want to damage and weaken it. We as a support cannot take our position and football club for granted. Take the analogy of a boiling kettle - you need to put energy in to keep the water hot. If you don’t do anything then over time it will naturally cool. Likewise, it will cool quicker if people pour cold water on it. The following points are based on general observations and my conclusions drawn from them. It’s all very broad brush and there is also an element of it that may seem a bit unnecessary, remembering we are meant to be talking about football here. But to be honest it is a ridiculous situation to find ourselves in. Unfortunately I have to use Celtic and its fans as a reference point here. One, they are our immediate rivals and exist in the same space as us, and two, most of the hostility derives from their fans, or at least some of the prominent ones. This may be an unfair to many of the support but those are the ones currently directing the bus just now - and it's driven by Peter Lawwell. In my opinion there’s some fundamental differences between the fan bases. Historically the Celtic support have been fed and have thrived on grievance. Most of it either greatly exaggerated or fabrications to suit a purpose – the referees conspire against them, other teams have cheated, Thatcher stopped me passing my exams, the Israeli army stole food from my table etc. This circles the wagons and feeds their controlling identities - ethnicity, faith and politics. Ultimately these authorities are happy to have a bloc to control and that sense of grievance keeps the group pliable. Of course, particularly in recent years, Rangers FC has been set as the target for most of this grievance. Politically, in particular, they’ve been keen to paint us as the bête noir – somehow getting one over Rangers now settles scores for things never quite achieved in life. And further, when power is acquired and grievance (real or imagined) requires satiating, then vengeance emerges. This is why I believe we have seen some unprofessional behaviour from people of in positions of responsibility - even they can't hide it. The want for revenge in the name of Celtic (the vessel that often carries their wider cultural identities) overrides professional pride. Rangers fans on the other hand: we may not like Celtic, it may be stated clearly or bluntly or often, but it usually ends there. It’s contained and not all-consuming. We don't have various websites running from donations that concentrate on what they're doing on a daily basis and we don't ask people to pay for films and plays discussing how hard done by we've been. A point that’s been missed in recent years is that Rangers and its support has been condemned even whilst simply defending itself from attacks, at the same time the aggressor has been overlooked. To wit… Even the unemployable Stan Collymore was lashing out again this week. We all know that he is a bit of a joke figure, but his denigrating lies regarding Rangers (and his pro-Celtic myths) have the potential to reach his 800k followers on twitter, which is not insignificant. Pinch of salt or not, that’s a lot of cold water to be thrown at Rangers and some will lap it up. Whilst I agree that the guy isn’t worth the hassle of the club engaging, we could see this as an opportunity. There’s plenty out there who have never heard the story of Rangers humble origins, it’s a proper football story, so we should put it out there and people like Stan can be used as a springboard when they parrot their lies. The club and the support has a duty to retell the story - as it’s one of the many unique selling points our great club has, so we shouldn’t be afraid to use it. Repetition for emphasis as my old English teacher used to say! Now let’s be honest with what’s been happening. There has been a collated effort and a concerted message from some against our club. Years of tribal, cultural and professional grievances have been sowed and these have grown into fully formed agendas. Tribes at war, PR arms races, clashing of cultures, competitors vying for the top spot - it is all relevant. It also helps to acknowledge that this is now the status quo (and has been for a longer time than we probably want to admit). Now whether Rangers FC is your world or is a pastime you enjoy occasionally it still merits and requires defending to maintain its status and we can all help. We may not be able to stop all of the derision and cold water but we can at least counter some of it and we all have energy to add back into the system. Last week we witnessed the overdue and most welcome sight of Rangers go on the front foot. Firstly against the “independent” SFA Celtic fan non-executive director Gary Hughes who likes to label our fans as the great unwashed. Other than the predictable gnashing of teeth from Celtic's media attack dogs (which they would do regardless) I could see few negatives in this move. It highlighted a problem (part of a larger ongoing issue with Scottish football's governance) and at very least has increased awareness of this. Personally I don’t want Celtic season book holders being involved in decisions involving Rangers - especially when they're supposed to be independent. I’ve seen enough in six years to know that some with an allegiance and the will to get involved at that level are not to be trusted. So it puts the pressure on the SFA. And whilst the SFA and the media are busy dealing with this issue it means they have less time plotting their next charge against Rangers and will perhaps consider their options in future. Additionally, it follows that if less comes our way then the good people at Rangers have more time to deal with other matters. Rangers also released a statement on next season’s ticket allocations which was largely a popular move amongst the home support. The announcement was welcome but equally surprising as this was the type of thing that had been discussed amongst the support for years but never actioned. Our rivals didn’t need to react but Celtic did and their response looked amateur and petty. They have had it their own way for a long time and they are used to throwing mud so perhaps this is a sign that they don’t cope too well when it goes the other way. They have some very driven and capable people who have caused us great damage but perhaps behind that front-line they still suffer self-doubt. There has been a consistent and effective smear campaign against us for a long time and I think we’d started to believe their hype - probably partially comatosed by dignified silence but also some disbelieving and not wanting to admit that the game has changed so much and Celtic had taken the fight against our club to the floor. This week and another statement. Another conflict of interest. An oversight on the fit and proper test. The Chairman of the SPFL is a long-time Celtic fan, publicly no fan of Rangers and a key employee of Dermot Desmond, Celtics largest shareholder. You get the picture. The statement was justified. The questioning of his placement is justified and a review of his remit and performance is merited. Unless you're the Chief Sports-writer at BBC Scotland who apparently only seems to want the 'files thrown open' if it's Celtic doing the complaining. The narrative is fairly straightforward and very easy to glean. Celtic FC and their support and their place-men in the media want Celtic-minded and/or controllable people in all positions to help their club when they can. A fair part of this strategy also involves hampering Rangers FC. Now most clubs would probably act in the same selfish way (Rangers included of course!) but balance, integrity, the good of the game are not a requirement. Ergo, those kidding themselves on in that regard really need to look in the mirror. And a point for fans of all other Scottish clubs: you would be dealt with if you were to get in Celtic's way or call them out. It’s your football league too - surely sporting integrity doesn’t just apply to Rangers? My own personal gripe is the compliance officer position – the text book example of what needs fixed and should never have been allowed. Effectively created by the then Celtic lawyer Paul McBride almost seven years ago. A position that has since been filled by two Celtic fans whereby the performance and balance of both has been questionable. Just me seeing a pattern here? In any case, it appears our board and Dave King have said enough is enough and have taken up the fight. The last week has seen a welcome change in direction in defence of the club and our interests after the SFA once again moved the goalposts in terms of historic charges against the club. Tomorrow's arrival of Steven Gerrard, be it through a sense of duty following some poor managerial choices, is a big club move. A real statement of intent. But we need all others to play their part. That includes our influential fans, be it ex-players, celebrities, media or politicians. They got a pass through the banter years because no-one knew what was going on. A few stuck their head above the parapet and we should show them our gratitude now. Unfortunately, we have some who seem happy to pick at the club (and essentially do our rivals' bidding) presumably to assist their careers in newspapers and television. Sort yourselves out guys, you know who you are. Can the club and supporters regain a bridgehead in the media? From a union of people across the media? Create a career-safe haven for anyone brave enough to upset the apple cart and spills the beans on unreasonable editors or policy? Finally, onto the fan base. It is enough to support the club or even just talk fondly about it. People spend considerable time and money doing just that and it all deserves credit and respect. But opportunities exist and arise to contribute and do more when we wish. We need to learn to flex our collective muscle from time to time. We are notoriously compartmentalised but need to remember we share the same goals and when pointed in the same direction we should have unstoppable momentum. This could be spending five minutes to lodge objections to parking restrictions at Ibrox. It could be talking to friends, colleagues and neighbours and matching the momentum of the Foundation of Hearts or even just building Rangers Lotto into the envy of the nation again. It could be buying strips in record numbers, enough to make commercial entities sit up and make them review which teams jersey they display in the front of their shops, which kit kids wear in the playground or tourists pick up at airports. We have the buying power and online footprint to force papers and other commercial outlets to review their strategy regarding their coverage of Rangers, and where they won’t change then we empower their competitors. We can use the tools available to us to voice concerns, to correct errors, shut-down venom on comments sections and supply truth and facts on our great club where required. We have the power to put pressure on MPs and MSPs and demand fair treatment and decent, responsible behaviour from the corridors of power. We should have the power to create some noise and finally sort out BBC Scotland - hopefully sooner than later on that one. We are the majority and we can be the Establishment again. When do we say enough is enough? Tomorrow a new Rangers era begins - the time for change has never been better.
    19 points
  7. It’s Not What You Say, But What They Hear I made a mistake last Sunday. In a pique of frustration over the inevitability of much of Saturday night’s events and annoyance over some of the coverage it garnered, I sent a Tweet. As Tweets go it was quite long, and was an attempt to remind people that Rangers supporter’s who fight police officers, or themselves, on a Saturday night in town are no more representative of me, or the vast majority of our support, than the Rangers supporter’s who went bird watching, long distancing running or line dancing are. I wish I hadn’t. I’m not a prolific Tweeter and I rarely Tweet about football. If you want occasional photos of my local park, perhaps some obscure research on birds or the occasional insight into international events, maybe I’m your guy, otherwise best ignore me, I’m there to learn, not teach. Prior to Sunday I doubt I’ve ever sent a Tweet that was ‘liked’ more the a dozen times; I’m not interesting or high profile, and I’m okay with that. An hour or so after pressing ‘Tweet’ I was very surprised to learn over 100 people had liked, retweeted or positively commented on it. Almost all seemed to be fellow Rangers fans who had clearly been feeling something similar. This continued for a few hours, numbers increased and my phone battery complained. A couple of friends texted me to say they’d read it and enjoyed it, even my sister, who I didn’t know even had Twitter, called to mock me. All good so far. Then, sometime around mid-afternoon on Sunday, supporter's of the second best side in Glasgow came across my Tweet. The comments changed. I’ve not read them all, there are simply too many and life is too short, but I got the general gist and some clear themes emerged. My claim that it was a “minority” of Rangers supporters who were involved in any disorder on Saturday was widely ridiculed. Also, I’d failed to mention sectarianism, or “anti-Irish racism” as many seemed to call it. Lastly, that drunken, loutish behaviour is recurring and unique to Rangers supporters. The ‘minority’ issue is easily dealt with. I think it’s fair to say Rangers have somewhere around 500,000 supporters. It might be more than that, it might be less, but I think it’s a conservative estimate to suggest that 10% of the population of Scotland would describe themselves as supporter’s of Rangers. Some of them might be nominal, a club they followed as a child but take less interest now, others will attend every match, home and away. The only definition of a Rangers supporter I accept is that they want Rangers to win. Estimates of the total crowd numbers at Ibrox and later in the city centre vary, somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000. 20,000 people is barely 4% of our support, and it’s worth remembering that Chief Supt Mark Sutherland of Police Scotland described that crowd as “largely peaceful in nature”. Even if someone wants to complain that everyone present was breaking Covid guidelines and so at least technically in breach of restrictions, it doesn’t change the fact that the other 96% of the Rangers support weren’t. As for those who actually engaged in vandalism and violence that was a very small percentage of those present and a tiny fraction of the Rangers support. For me those are simply irrefutable facts. I don’t know what ‘anti-Irish racism’ is. As far as I know the Irish and the Scots are the same race. Having lived in both I can also say that in my experience we’re largely identical in almost every measurable way. I’m unaware of any systemic discrimination towards Irish people in Scotland, certainly not in this century at least. I didn’t mention sectarianism as I was unaware of any taking place. I wasn’t there, and I’ve not watched many of the videos that have been circulating. If there was sectarian singing or chanting then I condemn it. The anti-Catholic chants and songs still exist among a section of our support, and, away from the stadium and often after a few drinks they sometimes make an appearance. I wish they didn’t. I expect our board wish they didn’t and I can only imagine what some of our players must think. It’s embarrassing. It would be disingenuous to say nothing has changed in this regard over the years, but it would be equally wrong to say this has disappeared, it hasn’t. I can understand why someone who feels these chants are directed at them reacts with fury when they hear them. That said it surprises me to see how many people liberally sprinkle the word ‘hun’ around their timelines when questioning my views. The refrain, when challenged, seems to be that the word isn’t sectarian and isn’t an idiom for ‘Protestant’. A ‘hun’ apparently is a Rangers supporter. Unless it’s a Hearts supporter. Or maybe an Airdrie supporter, and sometimes even a Morton or Kilmarnock supporter. This is the thing about the English language, the meaning of words changes over time and between people. My children regularly describe something positive as ‘sick’, this puzzles me and makes me feel old at the same time. The meaning of the word ‘sick’ has changed. I took a trip to Belfast before Covid hit. It’s a city I know quite well having lived there for a while a few decades ago, but it’s also a city that’s going through such huge change that parts of it were unrecognisable to me. I decided to do the first time visitor thing and take a bus tour to reacquaint myself. The Belfast bus tour takes you to places that are famous and infamous. It doesn’t hide its past, you see the city warts and all. We visited various ‘interfaces’. An interface is a euphemism for a border, in Belfast that’s where a republican area meets a loyalist area. These are bleak, people-less areas, dominated by high fences and walls, where territory is clearly marked by graffiti. Much of this graffiti is sadly familiar to a Glaswegian and I’d little trouble understanding just whose territory we were leaving or entering. Something unfamiliar did catch my eye though, 3 letters that made a regular appearance as you entered loyalist areas; KAT, and 3 similar ones when you entered republican areas; KAH. The tour guide explained that KAT stands for ‘Kill All Taigs’ and KAH stands for ‘Kill All Huns’. On the streets of working class Belfast it seems that Taigs are Catholics and Huns are Protestants. Not unsurprisingly I’ve recently started to notice these initials in Glasgow too. Now I’m willing to accept that not everyone who uses the word ‘hun’ does mean all Protestants, but that doesn’t mean it’s not what I hear when it’s said. And while some might not use it that way, others clearly do. Meanings change, it’s all of our jobs to keep up with that change, not just Rangers supporters. Lastly, why is it always Rangers? This takes us directly into ‘whataboutery’ country again and I’ve little desire to spend more time there. Suffice to say that over the years I’ve seen violence, first hand, sometimes at very close quarters, perpetrated by supporters of Aberdeen, Dundee, Motherwell, Airdrie, Kilmarnock, Morton, Clydebank, Partick Thistle, Hibs, Hearts, Falkirk, Clyde, St Mirren, Sunderland, Glentoran, Linfield, Cliftonville and, believe it or not, Celtic. Rangers don’t have a monopoly on bams, but I’m not going to pretend we don’t have any either. That there was disorder on Saturday night didn’t come as a surprise to me. I’ve lived in Glasgow long enough to know that there are people in our society for who a Saturday spent drinking will greatly increase the likelihood of them being involved in violence. That hard drinking ‘get mad wae it’ culture is alive and flourishing among a section of our society. I don’t think the blame for that can be laid at the door of Rangers directors, players or indeed me. The Scottish Crime Survey of 2018 recorded that 46% of all violent crime in Scotland is alcohol related. 41% of all prisoners in Scotland report being drunk at the time of their offence, that figure rises to 60% for young offenders. The STAG Trauma Report in 2015 records that alcohol was associated with 33% of all major trauma patients, that number doubles when just recording male patients. Alcohol related death is 7 times higher in Scotland’s most deprived areas and alcohol related hospital stays are 8 times higher in Scotland’s poorest communities. Again, the figures are higher for men than woman. Despite this I’ve yet to read anyone ask what Smirnoff, Buckfast or the makers of MD 20-20 had to say about last Saturday night, far less suggest that everyone who drinks alcohol should be ashamed of themselves and demand action be taken. Rangers draw their support from across Scotland and beyond, but the post industrial heartlands of the central belt are where we draw the bulk of our support. These areas have more than their fare share of economic black spots and deprived communities. None of that is an excuse for violence or religious intolerance. Indeed the majority of people brought up in these areas aren’t violent or bigoted. But the power to change the people who are, to improve their schools, to broaden their horizons, to perhaps give them ambitions beyond the weekend, to deal with whatever demons they currently try and drown and to instil a pride or self worth clearly lacking in some of them doesn’t lie with Steven Gerrard or the Rangers board. It lies, quite squarely, at the feet of those elected to represent these communities; politicians. That’s ironic, because some of them have been very quick to point fingers of responsibility elsewhere this week. It does feel that some people see Rangers as responsible for the actions of everyone who supports them at all times. There were 54 arrests and 429 crimes at T In The Park a few years ago yet no one suggests The Stone Roses are held responsible for that. There is a limit on what the club can do and should be held responsible for. I’m surprised that even needs stated. But then maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, it’s strange that now we have so many ways of communicating with each other more than ever people still only hear what they want to hear.
    18 points
  8. Any closer? Of course, it is none other than Alfredo Morelos the 22 year old Rangers striker who is the league’s top scorer and on course to become the first player in Scottish Premiership history to score in eight successive games. He is also on course to become the first Rangers player since Kris Boyd to score thirty top flight goals in a season, which in doing so would make him the youngest player to achieve this since Jim Forrest over fifty years ago. What is even more remarkable about the start Morelos has made to the season is that all 17 of his goals have come from open play and his total should be even higher given the terrible officiating errors which saw legitimate strikes disallowed against Kilmarnock, Rapid Vienna and Spartak Moscow. He also currently leads the charts in top tier football anywhere in the World as the player who has contributed the most goals for his team, with 17 goals and 9 assists resulting in 26 top tier goals. We are only just out of November. You would be forgiven for not knowing any of this because the narrative around Morelos is strangely skewed. The story of a 19 year old who left his native country and flew over 6,000 miles from Medellin to Helsinki on his own in pursuit of a dream is replaced with misplaced South American stereotypes and clichés, as well as desperate attempts to balance out any positive with as many negatives as can be found, regardless of accuracy. One article in particular by Keith Jackson received condemnation from “Kick It Out” last year for references to cartels, drugs and people trafficking, all of which of course had absolutely no relevance to the young striker’s career in Scotland. It has led to a belief that there is something more deep rooted going on when approaching the discussion of Alfredo Morelos the footballer. An approach that has seen him labelled “a diddy” by one journalist who, after a man of the match performance against Rapid Vienna, strangely decided to dedicate an article to the striker the next day to explain why the two goals he scored and penalty won for his team actually masked an otherwise poor individual performance. An approach which also saw Hearts Manager Craig Levein strangely asked after the match if he felt the striker gets away with too much. In my many years of following Scottish football, I can’t remember this question being asked of an opposition Manager before. A Scottish football which has seen the likes of Mark Hateley, Duncan Ferguson, Chris Sutton, Michael Higdon, Kevin Kyle, John Hartson - to name but a few – battle with centre backs has suddenly taken exception to a 5 foot 9 inch 22 year old forward having the audacity mix it up with choir boys like Christophe Berra and Peter Hartley as he leads the line on his own in a football environment notorious for being physical. An approach which also saw the aforementioned Keith Jackson create similar confusion with his column last week, where he compared the “demons” and “issues” of 22 year old Alfredo Morelos to experienced Scotland striker Leigh Griffiths. Griffiths, who confirmed over the weekend that he has been too fat to play in recent weeks and recently decided not to attend national duty with Scotland, has been on the front pages several times over the course of his career. From separate incidents of racism to speeding, in amongst a complicated personal life and bans for provoking opposition supporters as well as increased reports of gambling issues it is safe to say Griffiths has demonstrated tendencies of being a flawed character. To compare those “demons” and “issues” to those of a 22 year old striker who picks up the occasional booking for waving his hands in the air in response to a foul is almost incomprehensible and actually fairly irresponsible. Amongst all the criticism of Morelos he has not once been on the front page of a newspaper for off field behaviour or been at the centre of any kind of controversy that would suggest he has any “demons” or “issues” that could be helped by a psychiatrist. It is curious that Jackson hasn’t felt the need to write similar about his comrade Kenny, who in contrast to Morelos has had his share of genuine controversies this season – from being suspended by Rangers, being suspected of being a mole within the dressing room (with some merit given the Daily Record exclusives have dried up since his exit), dismissed as Manager after a matter of weeks by Livingston and sent off for Dundee and causing anger amongst his new club’s supporters in the process by applauding the home fans as he trudged off with his team bottom of the league and 4-0 down. I mean in terms of controversy, demons and being a liability it isn’t quite waving your hands at a ref, but Miller has had a busy year and not one that appears to have warranted any criticism from those lining up to have a pop at Rangers current centre forward. Whilst there is an understanding that journalists have to create articles to stir controversy in order to generate engagement, even more baffling is the criticism Morelos receives from those who have played the game. As an example last week, for some unexplained reason, the Scotland Coach James McFadden – once booked 15 times in one season and who latterly in his career served a three game ban for gesturing to opposition supporters - offered his thoughts, where he criticised Morelos for letting his team mates down and stated “he is either suspended or not fit as much as he is available.” McFadden’s comments provide a further lazy and inaccurate insight in to a player who has shamefully been on the receiving end of this kind of slur all too often. Taking the suspension criticism first, Alfredo has missed four games through suspension in his Rangers career so far – a career which has seen him play 71 times for the club in just over a year. In relation to misgivings about his fitness, he has missed one solitary game through injury over the same period – a midweek fixture against Aberdeen last season. To play 71 times in a Rangers career not yet spanning one and a half years is an incredible feat for someone who is either suspended or not fit as often as he is available. Indeed McFadden’s comments are even more galling when you consider that the 43 games Morelos played last season for Rangers is more than he ever amassed in one season at any club over his entire 17 year career – remarkable considering the striker had already played half a season in Finland prior to arriving in Glasgow. Would James McFadden reflect on his own career the same way? His comments weren’t just ill-judged, they were completely made up and without any foundation or base of accuracy whatsoever. Sadly, McFadden is not the only ex pro who has offered criticisms based on a made up, rather than exaggerated, baseline. Earlier this season Kris Commons weighed in with his own views on Morelos and his “ill-discipline” where he used the example of a red card from the season before that didn’t exist, once again completely made up. Davie Provan is another former pro with a view, noting that Steven Gerrard can coach Morelos but “can’t give him brains” whilst Chris Sutton has had his say in labelling the player “a liability” after he was booked in an incident Sutton admitted he had not yet seen at the time of comment. Others such as Tam McManus and Michael Stewart have also offered opinions on the player, whilst after putting Levein on the spot BBC’s Sportscene dedicated a section of debate to the player within the highlights package in relation to Levein’s comments without then showing any clips to back up the Hearts Manager’s assessment that he should have been sent off. And yet despite the constant criticism and cheap headlines, you may be surprised to see how Morelos compares to his peers in terms of discipline. Last season for example, he received 6 yellow and 0 red cards. In comparison, John McGinn and Graeme Shinnie - 2 Scotland internationalists incidentally - received 15 yellow cards each. You would be hard pressed to find similar criticism of either player. Indeed when John McGinn was the subject of transfer interest from Celtic and Aston Villa through the summer, there was not a single mention of his ill-discipline or temper. Liability? Hot head? Nope. And yet we have a Colombian outsider who accumulated 9 bookings less yet has been subject to speculating articles on the state of his mental health, temper and discipline. Additionally, a South American stereotype wouldn’t be complete without a mention of diving and play acting. The Motherwell Manager, Steven Robinson, recently obliged when he came out after their recent hammering at Ibrox to comment that referees “are being conned by the same people” in relation to the foul on Morelos that led to poor Carl McHugh – 2 reds and 4 yellows this season in addition to 12 yellows last season – being sent off. This was another strange comment without substance, as in his year and a half at Rangers Morelos has only once been cautioned for diving or play acting – a decision which was rightly later reversed when evidence showed that the Dundee goalkeeper had to be taken off injured as a result of his contact with the player. There is a strange type of irony around the likes of Robinson and Levein complaining to referees about the antics of other players, particularly as Levein recently felt his own striker grabbing the private area of another player just a bit of fun. I don’t expect the narrative around Alfredo Morelos to change any time soon within the crazy World of Scottish football. There is however a disappointment that the story we tell is tainted with so many inaccuracies and stereotypes, as we are missing out on a really fascinating individual journey. At a time when so many voices within Scottish football were critical of the decision to snub BT over Sky in securing Scottish football coverage for the years ahead based on the difference in talking up our game, there is more than a touch of hypocrisy around this in how many of those same people speak about Morelos. This is a player who has scored 17 goals this season and at 22 has become a full Colombian international on our watch. A player who, at the age of 19, packed his bags and flew to the relative football backwater of Finland with a view to forging a career as a professional footballer which led to him becoming a full international through hard work, dedication and application. A player who should be an inspiration to young players all over Scotland, as they look to fulfil their own dreams of becoming a professional. After all, are there examples of many young Scottish players who would be willing to make the same sacrifice to forge a successful football career if they hadn’t quite made the grade here? His journey to where he is now, and where he is going if his rate of improvement continues, is a story worth telling yet no one appears to want to do so. Can anyone answer why that is? You wonder what it is that has put so many noses out of joint. Is it the reality of a foreign player leading the line for Rangers instead of someone “more local”? There are many who would think so. Or is it as simple as it being about the colour of his shirt than his skin? And yet, Morelos can’t be accused of being a lazy foreign mercenary who has come in to our game without embracing it in full. He doesn’t take to the media either here or in his homeland to complain when centre backs twice his size are kicking him up and down a park. He embraces it and gives as good as he gets. He doesn’t go in to hiding on the cold winter fixtures or the plastic parks appearing to long for a return to sunnier climates. He rolls the sleeves up and gets on with it. In interviews in his native Colombia Morelos has spoken respectfully of the Scottish game, and spoke in glowing terms about his fellow pros when nominated for the Young Player of the Year award last year. He deserves better than being singled out for public criticism by the likes of Berra, Levein and Robinson before we even start to discuss the lazy criticism from pundits and tabloid journalists. Maybe one day Alfredo Morelos will get the respect he deserves within our game for his ability, work ethic and achievements, but for now I will listen to Steven Gerrard who has advised we should enjoy him whilst we have him as he is going to be a top player. After all, Steven Gerrard knows a thing or two about top players. For now however I prefer to think of Alfredo Morelos as a 22 year old kid with bags of ability and potential who could break all sorts of records if he were to stay long enough and who has dragged us to the top of the league with his contribution in the final third. A player who typifies everything the Rangers supporters want in a centre forward – ability, character, maximum effort every week who does his talking on the pitch with no quarter given, no quarter asked.
    18 points
  9. We've seen and heard a lot since Steven Gerrard became the Rangers manager pretty much exactly three months ago. As much as the sheer profile of Gerrard the player excited even the most negative of Rangers fans, there were understandable doubts and scepticism. This was a untried manager with only 18 months as a youth coach on his CV. Sure, Gerrard had incredible success as a player but there were (still are?) no guarantees about his managerial prospects. Rangers, running off the back of financial and legal issues for the best part of ten years, and challenging the modern 'invincibles' of Celtic - seven league titles in a row, including an unbeaten sixth title and a double treble - was surely no place for a young manager making his way in the game to learn his trade. After all, this challenge almost broke Graeme Murty, another young man with only a background in youth coaching. Yes, their playing careers were very different but the risk for the Rangers board and their Director of Football Mark Allen, was surely needless? Many neutrals said as much and, if we're honest, really honest with ourselves, we all had the same concerns. Very quickly though, this just seemed different. Gerrard's unveiling in May was the first chance we got to hear the man explain his reasons for taking the job and right away the Rangers supporters took confidence from the way he dealt with the media. This wasn't a man to shirk a challenge. This was an icon, a British footballing legend, who understood the scale of the job and appreciated how difficult it was going to be. 'Let's Go' was an unplanned soundbite but it fit the background well, kept things very simple and inspired fans. Since then progress has been swift. Dozens of transfers in and out of the club. Training camps in Spain with double and triple sessions to improve fitness, tactical awareness and build relationships. Twelve competitive games (nine in August alone) - six wins, six draws and, impressively, zero defeats. In fact, take away some questionable refereeing at home and abroad (and some questionable discipline from one or two players) then that record could and should have been better. Indeed, only two injury time goals away at Aberdeen and Motherwell have stopped Rangers from having the perfect league record to compliment their qualification for the Europa League Group Stage. It's literally been a case of blink and you'll miss it when watching Rangers so far this season. At the time of writing on Friday evening, Gerrard has signed 14 players and moved on 16 first team players. The turnover has been astonishing and, so far, the results impressive with a new defence the pick of the new manager's work. Rangers supporters are delighted and despite some understandable imperfections as Gerrard builds a new squad and system, confidence is building like no other period in the last six or seven years. However, with a two week international break on the immediate horizon, I think fans are looking to take a breath. And the players, especially our central defenders and main striker, certainly deserve the rest. Last weekend at Fir Park, the second half in a quite incredible game took a lot out the team and having to play 30mins with nine men nine hours away in Ufa on Thursday is again asking an immense amount out of this new squad. Yet, we have one more hurdle still to face. One more jump to make. Another tough test to pass - the toughest yet. On Sunday, the team will make the short journey across the Clyde to Parkhead to face our greatest rivals in what is still one of football's greatest games. However, the atmosphere will be markedly different from recent years. First of all, relations between the clubs are as bad as they've ever been so there will be very few bears present - only 800 in fact, most in restricted viewing positions well out of sight of the Sky TV cameras. Secondly, Celtic seem to be suffering themselves with dressing room problems: key players falling out with managers and one goal-scoring talisman being sold. The dynamic seems to be one of promises not being fulfilled, broken trust, suspicious fans and banner protests. Finally, and most importantly, we have a team that can compete. Not just physically but, as we've seen several times this season already, mentally too. Self-belief is a vital component of any successful team - Celtic show that continually against us whilst we've faltered time and time again since our return to the top flight. Make no mistake, our form has shown we can get a result on Sunday. Even so, one of our bigger failings in our various Old Firm humblings of the last two years has been our predictability. A blind man could usually pick our team, guess our system and know where to hurt us. We only needed to concede a goal to fall apart and rarely looked like scoring ourselves. For the most part, we were beaten before the whistle was even blown. This weekend that need not be the case. Sure, Gerrard has preferred a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 most often this season but last week deployed a 3-5-2 that, despite three defensive mistakes not immediately linked to the formation, worked not too badly (in the first half at least). It (or perhaps a 3-4-3) will be used again during this campaign with the loan capture of Joe Worrall from Nottingham Forest increasing our defensive options as well. Moreover, Gerrard hasn't been afraid to rotate his team - in particular his midfield five - so there's no obvious starting XI for Sunday (though I do try to predict this below)! The biggest issue for the Rangers manager will be that of the schedule discussed above. Despite obvious improvements in fitness, players will be tired (at least later in the game) and player indiscipline/officials incompetence won't have helped on Thursday evening. A nine hour overnight flight, just two full days of recovery and only light training drills isn't ideal preparation for any game, never mind away to Celtic, but they played on Thursday too and may not have their usual spring in their step - even if they could afford the luxury of resting key players. Fortunately, we can make changes too. Depending on the system used we can bring in a few players and, ironically, Morelos' daft red card afforded him an extra hour's rest on Thursday. Although I wouldn't rule out a back three, I do expect us to play a four on Sunday as it would be a big risk to bring in Worrall for his debut. McGregor will of course start in goal and Borna Barisic likely the only change to our usual defensive line up. Worrall, Jon Flanagan and erstwhile captain Lee Wallace do offer other options though. In midfield, Lassana Coulibaly has returned to training but may have to settle for a place on the bench though his return might well have been kept as a nice surprise for this game. The likes of Jack, Ejaria, Arfield and Halliday have done lots of good work of late and a combination of those four will surely start. Ross McCrorie may be a wild card should the manager wish for fresh legs and mobility in the engine room. That leaves us three players in attacking roles. Daniel Candeias has never really got going this season but might be preferred to aid James Tavernier on the right side and press high centrally. Ryan Kent has done well on the other flank but with Morelos apparently forgiven for his Ufa immaturity and likely to start, I do wonder if Kyle Lafferty will play on the left. Albanian winger Eros Grezda will hopefully turn out to be a big player for Rangers this season but I don't think we'll see him until after the international break. Glenn Middleton is another option and I do wonder if his pace and direct play could add some doubt to any Celtic defenders? Ultimately, this game will arguably come too early for a few players so I think the manager will opt for familiarity at the expense of freshness. In that respect, we're asking a lot of the potential line-up below but the belief obtained from Thursday's draw and the adrenaline from an Old Firm clash should at least see us through the bulk of the game. After that we're reliant on making the right subs at the right time to deliver the kind of positive result we've lacked against Celtic of late. Another top class defensive display will be needed and our attackers, particularly Alfredo Morelos, must make the most of any chances that come their way. In conclusion, coming away from the East End of Glasgow unbeaten on Sunday would cap off a fantastic first three months in charge for Steven Gerrard. However, god forbid if his team were to return to Ibrox empty-handed, it wouldn't be the end of the world either - not when the full context is applied - so in essence we have nothing to lose with the vast majority of another long season still to be played out. No matter the outcome, the league won't be won nor lost in early September but we do have a chance to lay down an early marker and show we are indeed the real deal. For the first time in a fairly long time ahead of going to Parkhead, I cannot wait... Possible team (4-3-3):
    18 points
  10. This stems from a conversation with my brother on the phone before the Maribor game and then the aftermath of that 3-1 win. My brother said, “This is different, Gerrard doesn’t have to be here. But he is and it’s great.” That set me thinking because he was right. Stephen Gerrard didn’t have to come to Rangers. He could have chosen to start his managerial career at any number of clubs in the Championship or even in League One and the assembled punditry would have nodded their heads sagely and pronounced it a wise move for a young, promising manager to learn his trade before seeking to take on his ultimate ambition – which every man and his dog knows Is to manage Liverpool one day. But Gerrard is here and he has chosen to be manager of our club, with all of the burdens that such a role brings. I watched Gerrard as a player with Liverpool and England and while I could stand back and admire the notable outstanding performances (CL final, saving Liverpool in the FA Cup with the wonder strike against West Ham, etc) he always struck me as an enigma. He was never totally likeable and the best that I could say about him was that he was the least unlikeable England captain of recent years. He seemed to carry all of the weight of expectation for both Liverpool and England upon his shoulders and while there were CL and FA Cup campaigns where he reached the pinnacle of success, the ultimate prizes of a Premier League title for Liverpool or a World Cup for England were always snatched away. As a Man City fan I laughed my head off when he stumbled, allowed Chelsea to score and handed the title to City in 2014. I was delighted and utterly unsympathetic in the heat of the moment but the aftermath was uncomfortable because you could see how much it had meant to him personally. That one moment crystallized everything about his career and his honest reaction to it afterwards, that it would hurt him until the day he dies, is I think at the heart of where we are now. Gerrard probably knows the extremes of ultimate success against all odds and the deepest pit of defeat, feeling that he was responsible for it – more than 99.9% of players or managers. It’s easy to say he is looking for redemption and it’s probably no secret he would ultimately like to wipe out that day in 2014 by winning a title as manager of Liverpool. But that doesn’t explain why he is here. Why he chose us. Thank goodness he has because spirits around Rangers have been raised to a degree that would have been unimaginable 6 months ago. When Pedro was gone, Murty was probably going to be let go, most of us would have been happy to accept anyone who looked like they had a clue how to manage a team properly and get it to defend at least. For the first time since Walter was manager I feel like we have someone at the helm who understands tactics and has a vision beyond the next crisis. For the first time since Souness arrived in 1986 I feel like we have a manager who feels comfortable with the grandeur of Ibrox and the history of the Rangers that the building embodies to us all. McCoist, Warburton, Pedro and Murty all looked too small for the Rangers manager’s suit, the arto deco furnishings made them look uncomfortable and somehow less. But from the day he walked in Gerrard looked like, not only was he comfortable with it, he understood the importance, he intuitively knew what a big cub expected and what its manager must be. Ultimately how he does will be decided by results on the pitch and we all hope and pray that things go well. The start to the season and the transformation in the attitude and work ethic displayed by the team has been a revelation compared to where we were at the end of last season. If we can catch and overtake Celtic within a couple of seasons, it will rank as one of the greatest achievements for any rookie manager anywhere it football. That’s the prize and boy is it worth having. Gerrard knows you don’t get to be Liverpool manager just by who you were – witness Gary Neville, his failed management career and any dreams of managing Manchester United turned to dust. You have to succeed and at as high a level as you can. Rangers are a club who can succeed and who wouldn’t want to be the man to make that happen? Although it’s painful to remember, the closest parallel to Gerrard’s arrival that I can think of is Martin O’Neill taking over at Celtic. After a successful spell at Leicester O’Neill was being courted by top English clubs and he didn’t have to move to the Piggery. He chose to be there because he believed, and sadly for us was ultimately proved correct, that he was the right man at the right time and could make a difference. For the first time in ages I feel we have a manager who, while he is still learning, has already assimilated a lot from all of the top flight coaches that he has worked with for club and country and will bring that to our dressing room. Uniquely that includes knowledge of the management techniques being used by the coach of out bitter rivals. We have a manager who understands young players and who will expect the best that he knows his players are capable of giving and it shows on the pitch. The weight of expectation hangs heavy at Rangers. It always has because of our glorious history and what we expect as fans from our players and our manager. There is a Rangers way, typified by class and dignity and the way that Gerrard has presented himself so far ticks every one of those boxes. He makes me proud in my club again in a way I can’t entirely explain and which hasn’t been there for years. For the first time in a while I feel we have a manager who carries that weight of expectation, not clumsily like his predecessors, but securely and with a steely sense of purpose. I feel that Gerrard has chosen us because of who we are and what we represent and he isn’t ashamed even if the media would desperately love him to be. He wants to be here because the chase is on, the prize is there to be won and he welcomes that chase like no other. Let’s go!
    18 points
  11. There is zero need for the club to assert anything other than us being a club that is open to all. In my opinion, of course.
    17 points
  12. Rangers should actually go out their way to invite the non-Scottish BBC to Ibrox. It will highlight the fact we’ve not actually banned them and will also highlight the absolute ridiculousness of the Pacific Quay CSC.
    17 points
  13. What a day - my wife gave birth to our 2nd baby daughter, baby Charlotte fought back from the brink & then the Gers get one of their best ever European results! Time for a lie down now though..
    16 points
  14. I met Jake Hastie's parents today and I'm sure they will be OK for me to say a few things they told me. Firstly they told me Jake had signed before it was on the news (also told me keep quiet until it was out in the news but that didn't last long), they also told me a few stories about when they met with Gerrard and Allen etc last week. They were assured by them that Jake will be in the first team squad and won't be loaned out or put back to the academy team as they had their own reservations about getting game time and how it would affect Jake's progress and seen no point in signing if he wasn't going to be in the first team squad. But they also told me Gerrard told them it's now up to Jake to prove himself in training that deserves a chance but they all rate him very highly, more so than Middleton. Aberdeen guaranteed him first team football but changed their deal at the last minute but he didn't fancy it anyway. The tims again went about trying to get the deal done on the cheap and they were not impressed at all and was never really a goer. He also had offers from England and abroad but like before they want to stay in Scotland for now anyway. He's been told he'll be lucky to get any more game time at Motherwell and was snubbed at the awards last night by virtually everyone there. I'm so pleased for the young man and his family and hope he takes his chance and does very well for us....
    16 points
  15. Introduction After a whirlwind set of opening fixtures which began on the 12th of July against little known Shkupi and ended in disappointment against somewhat more familiar opposition on the 2nd of September, Gerrard and his team have finally had a chance to take a breather, regroup and prepare for this next set of crucial fixtures ahead of the October international break. This group of fixtures will include a much-coveted return to the glamour of Europe with Ibrox set to welcome visitors from Spain and Austria in the shape of Villarreal and Rapid Vienna. However, before then we host more humble opposition managed by a former Gers star with an attack spearheaded by a former Gers star. The Opposition Neil McCann brings his side to Ibrox under immense pressure and with a point to prove. The Dees have endured a horrendous run of five straight losses - including a humbling on their own patch in the cup at the hands of Championship side Ayr United – which sees them languishing at the bottom of the table without a point. A series of listless performances has caused many of their fans to question the instability brought about by the high turnover of players at the club which has seen last season’s mainstays Bain, Hendry, Caulker, Holt, O’Hara, Allan, El Bakhtaoui and Murray all depart the club. Free transfer arrivals from the likes of Woking and Kidderminster Harriers rather than re-investing the Hendry fee signals a club in decline. Having said that, a wounded animal can be a dangerous one and there is some quality in McCann’s side. A certain Kenny Miller seems to age like a fine malt whisky and will be ready to pounce in the box given half a chance. On-loan youngster Kallman is another one to watch after breaking his duck in the 3-1 defeat to Motherwell. Calvin Miller, on loan from Celtic, provides a threat from left back with the ability to get forward and get crosses into the box. However, the most interesting thing to see when the line-ups are announced will be whether Glen Kamara passes a late fitness test. Kamara was linked to Rangers over the summer and some in the summer transfer rumours thread were keen to see him signed. If he returns, there is no doubt he will make Dundee more competitive in the middle of the park. Rangers A passive performance against Celtic gave much cause for concern and raised a number of questions. Some sections of the media were quick to use phrases like “reality check” and many of our own fans were not sure themselves if that is what it was or how great a role the many mitigating factors were playing. What is sure is that the fans are desperate to see a well-rested, well drilled and rejuvenated team put on a show on Saturday and show that it’s back to business as usual. Morale has improved over the international break with Barisic playing the full game against Portugal and Morelos grabbing what we will graciously call an assist in his Colombia debut, followed by high praise from his idol Radamel Falcao. The sight of quartet Coulibaly, Grezda, Dorrans and Rossiter in training was a further boost but the fans will be anxious to see whether Coulibaly in particular returns to the starting line-up. The clash with bottom of the table Dundee at home is the first fixture of its kind since St Mirren, a home game in which we are expected to go all-out attack and win comfortably. Gerrard will want to see a return to the high pressing, high intensity aggressive display which so impressed the fans against Maribor and in the opening half hour against St Mirren and hopefully that’s what we’ll get. Line-up The signing of the highly rated Worrall on loan from Nottingham Forest followed by the capture of Northern Ireland international Gareth McAuley has given many reason to believe that Gerrard plans to utilise 3-5-2 on a more regular basis going forward. Wingers Candeias, Kent and Grezda would be the losers in this formation with Lafferty and Worrall being the primary benefactors. However I’m going to predict a familiar looking 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 with Lafferty paving the way for Candeias and Coulibaly making a return in the place of Ovie Ejaria.
    16 points
  16. To be fair he is the last guy that stopped Brendan Rogers winning the league.
    16 points
  17. "We want folk in 30 to 40 years to still be talking about the forthcoming Rangers game in a similar fashion so they can tell their grandchildren where they stood that day in 2018 when the famous Glasgow Rangers came to Bellslea." The words of Fraserburgh Chairman Finlay Noble in The Press & Journal. There's little doubt that this is by far and away the biggest game in the 108 year history of Fraserburgh FC and as far as the town itself is concerned the only time that the general vibe has approached anything like the current buzz was in 1992 when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited for the celebration of the founding of the town's 400th anniversary. Much has been said among Rangers fans about the scarcity of tickets for the game with Rangers receiving an allocation of 360 but lost in that debate is the fact that Fraserburgh FC earned the right to play and to ergo host Rangers on the field of play and where as moving the game down the road to Peterhead or Aberdeen may well have resulted in a bigger pay day there never any serious possibility of it being moved. While the Bellslea Park may be both pretty compact and basic it really isn't any worse than many of the grounds we visited on the journey up through the leagues. The stand is called the Jim Adams Stand after the former Chairman who was a founder of the towns largest employer Gray & Adams, no doubt at some time or other you'll have been stuck in traffic behind one of their refrigerated trailers or even had the pleasure of a ride in their prisoner transfer vans. Sadly Jim is no longer around but rumour has it the Fraserburgh players would like his daughter Marieanne Adams to give them one of her famous group hugs! Fraserburgh the town is referred to locally as "The Broch" and its inhabitants as "Brochers" however I don't consider myself as a Brocher having only emigrated the 17 miles up the road from Peterhead 33 years ago and as everyone from Peterhead knows they aren't Brochers anyway they are in fact Puddlestinkers. The name Fraserburgh stems from 1592 when King James VI granted a charter to Sir Alexander Fraser and what was known as Faithlie became literally the burgh of Fraser. The name Broch coming from an old iron age tower that stood in the town but now long since gone. Among the local places of note are Fraserburgh Golf Club a links course which is the 5th oldest in Scotland and the 7th oldest in the world. The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses at Kinnaird Head and the adjacent Heritage Centre. Not forgetting the harbour to which the town owes its existence, the harbour is enjoying something of a renaissance after decades of decline due to the EU's Common Fisheries Policy and new boats have once again become a regular feature although sadly no longer being built in Fraserburgh itself since the boat yards have long closed. Famous Brochers include Thomas Blake Glover who emigrated to Japan and helped found what became the Mitsubishi conglomerate, Charles Alfred Jarvis the recipient of the first Victoria Cross awarded in World War I, Bill Gibb the fashion designer and of course one Dennis Nilsen the serial killer. The game itself takes place on the 48th anniversary of the Duchess of Kent lifeboat disaster on which 5 of the 6 volunteer crewmen lost their lives going to the aid of the Danish fishing vessel Opal, the men who perished that day were John Stephen, Fred Kirkness, William Hadden (my wife's uncle), James Buchan and James RS Buchan with Jackson Buchan being the sole survivor. Ironically the Duchess of Kent was a replacement lifeboat for the John and Charles Kennedy which capsized in the harbour entrance with the loss of 6 of the 7 crewmen in February 1953. Also another disaster befell the town in 1919 the lifeboat Lady Rothes capsized a mile from port with the loss of 2 lives. It would be remiss of me not to mention that on 28th of April 1970 Jock Stein took his Celtic team to Fraserburgh to play a game in aid of the lifeboat disaster fund the week before their European Cup Final defeat at the hands of Feyernoord. Now onto the game itself, whilst the rest of Scotland seems to be under a deep blanket of snow the north-east appears to have gotten of lightly, there was a brief snow shower earlier today it wasn't anything of note and shouldn't in any way affect the game. The club have been loaned covers from Arbroath FC but as it stands they shouldn't be needed, it will however be cold so if you're one of those fortunate to get a ticket I'd put the long johns on if I were you. Team wise where do we start? Will Cummings, Goss, Murphy or Martin make their competitive debuts? Will Halliday or O'Halloran feature on their return from being frozen out? Probably the only player we have with previous experience of the Bellslea is Ryan Jack who's unlikely to feature but should return in time for the Aberdeen game. We all know what Cummings is capable of as we've been on the receiving end of his skills often enough. Over in Florida Goss looked a decent tidy enough player with good delivery especially from dead balls. Murphy knows what its all about and will be keen to get of to a flyer playing for his boyhood heroes. I'd like to see us start with both Cummings and Morelos up front as there's absolutely no reason to play one up front in this game. We should be going for it and getting the business done early in the game. Will it be 442, 433 or 352? I'd plump for 442 with the following Alnwick Tavernier Bates Wilson John Candeias Goss Windass Murphy Cummings Morelos However I doubt the either the formation or the personnel will prove to be correct. There's no stand outs in the Fraserburgh team, they are almost all local to the north east with a fair amount of Bears (and a few of them)in the side.One Bryan Hay whose last minute penalty secured qualification for Fraserburgh in the last round away against Spartans will no doubt give his usual wholehearted no frills display, I saw him play for Fraserburgh U20's against Rangers U20's at Auchenhowie a few years back and he played well until his sending off (somewhat harshly on that occasion). A few of the Dave Smith Loyal have been trying to get odds on him seeing a red card again on Sunday. One player in the Fraserburgh ranks who has previously been on the victorious side against Rangers is the managers brother Dean Cowie (one of them) who was in the Peterhead side that beat Rangers 1-2 at Ibrox almost 5 years ago.
    16 points
  18. I'm going to busy over the next few days so I thought I would just drop this here tonight. It goes without saying that 2020 has been a remarkable/surreal/unprecedented year so I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Getsnetters a safe, peaceful and merry Christmas. Here's to better 2021!
    15 points
  19. The way this issue is currently being treated in Scottish society is scandalous! Scottish politicians refuse to get involved due to the partisan nature of football and the main club involved. They are all cowards, and I include all parties here, but especially people like Nicola Sturgeon and Humza Yousaf, who refuse to engage with any of the victims and especially the mother of a victim who committed suicide. Football clubs are not any better and the approach and cover up by Celtic is shameful, from the change in name of he boys' club to the non-existent ongoing investigation, and shows that the ethos of the club is morally bankrupt, I don't believe that our support are blameless either. The BJK chant comes across as celebratory and rather than being constructive, turns a lot of people off the subject. The subject does need to be continually bought to the fore-front and not ignored, but this is not the way to do it. There is a view that Scotland is a progressive society but this shows that we are anything but. Children are one of the most needing of protection and we as a society are failing them in this continued cover-up and refusal to deal with the victims.
    15 points
  20. As a rule I'm generally against banning the media. If you don't like something don't read it. Don't buy it, don't click it, don't share it. I've not read the article in question and don't think I've ever bought the Sun so this doesn't really affect me much. Bill Leckie was never a writer I thought had much to say and from what I hear that's not changed. I've felt for a while Morelos is treated differently from other players by the media. I think race does play a part in this. The fact his English isn't great and he's South American has certainly led to some very lazy stereotyping, and there's an almost Fawltyesque default with a depressingly high number of people in this country when it comes to 'foreigners', our local media aren't immune to this. When that's added to him playing for Rangers then you've got the perfect storm for some. Morelos clearly irks opposition supporters. You get players like that, beloved by their own and hated by everyone else, Morelos is one of those. The Aberdeen supporter's bringing in a banner was crass and an embarrassment to their club who should have removed it and banned those involved. But was it worse than the song we (I) sang to Frank McGarvey many moons ago? I've never met the said Mrs McGarvey but I apologise to her now, I wonder if she reads Gersnet... Likewise I cheered along with almost everyone else in the old Rangers end at Parkhead when a particularly distasteful banner was unfurled in the rafters under the roof about the recently deceased Celtic director Demond White. The Celtic support, most of who could read it clearly, were very unhappy, whilst we cheered and laughed and Strathclyde's finest sought a sharpshooter as there was no other way to get the lads who climbed up with it down. Again, not my finest moment. In my defence I was only a teenager, I'm not the brightest now but I was particularly stupid then. Everyone else was doing it so I joined in, I gave no thought whatsoever to the actual people involved. In part I think that's because I didn't see them as 'real' people. They were people I only read about in the papers or saw on TV, they were basically celebrities, and so treated differently from everyone else. A couple of years ago I walked from Sloans in Argyle Arcade to the taxi rank at Central late on a Saturday night in the company of a minor local celebrity and his wife. It must have taken us 30 minutes to cover the distance, a normal walk of around 5 minutes. Every drunk wanted a selfie, or to shake his hand or to tell him he was great. But some wanted to tell him he was a dick, almost all completely ignored his wife and the rest of our party, we were invisible, our desire to get a taxi home was inconsequential to their right for a new profile pic and a dull anecdote over lunch the next day, 'you'll never guess who I seen last night in Buchanan Street...'. He smiled, obliged, did the voice and played his part. I'd have hooked the first guy that pushed past my wife for a better angle on their Samsung, I'd have ignored every friendly 'hello big man' and would have almost certainly reacted very badly to anyone who called me a dick in front of friends and family (even if they might have been correct!). My realisation that local celebrities have to live very different lives from you and me was stark. I wouldn't have swapped his life for mine for any amount of money. Morelos is a celebrity in our wee corner of the globe. He operates to different rules from the rest of us, that's why warmers like Leckie write about him. I suspect there's more than a hint of politics to this too. I imagine the Scottish Sun is finding Rangers something of a cold house currently. Gerrard won't be doing exclusives or feeding them tit-bits, I'm certain of that. Gerrard is Scouse, he knows how much the paper is hated in his home town and he knows the consequences for anyone who doesn't follow that code. There's a reason why Souness, one of Liverpool's greatest ever players, doesn't get many invites back to Anfield and that reason is the Sun. I suspect all of our backroom team follow a similar code too, they're all ex-Liverpool and might harbour ambitions to return there one day. It's also obvious that Morelos isn't a fan of the limelight off the pitch. He seems to be a quiet living guy, he's not a regular at the dancing, he's yet to be photographed barely conscious outside a kebab shop and he's not really playing the media game. There are a noticeable lack of interviews with him, no daft photos of him with a sombrero on, or beside some Tennent's girls or whatever their modern equivalent is. Morelos doesn't seem to be much interested in that side of celebrity, he just likes playing football and scoring goals. Add to that the rise of the club's internal channels, places like this, wall-to-wall Sky/BT Sport and the rest and there's a fair degree of choice now for me to get my Rangers fix. Anything the Sun has as an exclusive will be all over social media within minutes of breaking. The media has changed immeasurably in recent years, I don't think Bill Leckie has. Gersnet is independent, Frankie and the people behind it have always struck me as reasonable and fair. As such they can ban whoever they want, it's their site. What I'd say is you need to go some to get a ban from here. Simply having a contrary opinion isn't enough, I can testify to that. I wonder if anyone at the Sun cares. They should, sport, and football in particular, is what's kept them going for years in this part of the world, footballers are our celebrities. If we're no longer interested in what they've got to say on that then the Sun has a problem that it's running out of time to fix.
    15 points
  21. Yep, just to echo what BD said: please do not post content, links or social media posts from The Sun or Daily Record on the forum. As much as our club will and should suffer from suitable criticism from time to time, both these newspapers have gone too far in recent times and the deplorable attention placed on our striker in particular means we cannot feature their content in good conscience. Sure certain stories they break may mean we have to discuss them now and again but such circumstances will be few and far between. For example, it's not often @Stevie - 4lads Blog doesn't have the news first or other alternative sources such as Chris Jack at the Evening Times.
    15 points
  22. Rangers travel to the Netherlands on Thursday to play Feyenoord in Rotterdam. Their name is now spelled Feyenoord but was originally Feijenoord. They updated their name from the old Feijenoord and took a modern English language plunge to Feyenoord in 1974 - pity really; changing your original historical name. For anyone who has been to the Feijenoord stadium, known as de Kuip (the bath tub), will know it is a mass of steel. I would rate it higher quality than tin city on the east side of Glasgow, though. During the war years the Germans wanted to demolish it for the scrap metal to turn the steel into weapons but the director of the stadium estimated a much lower tonnage of high class steel and the Germans decided it was not worth knocking down. Later the stadium was also used for pop concerts and my moment of fame was going to watch Pink Floyd playing there in 1988 which was unfortunately the last time the band toured Holland. As we all know Jaap Stam begun the season as manager. Jaap was probably one of the best defenders you could get but after a spell of managing Reading and PEC Zwolle he got a move to Feyenoord,. The team started off playing not great and quickly got worse. Defeat against Rangers, who a certain Dutch journalist called a nothing club, and a chanceless 4-0 defeat against Ajax saw Jaap fall on his sword. Since he left, players have come out and said he was unclear in his instructions. Why didn't they tell him that at the time seems a logical question for me? After his management performances up until now questions do have to be asked about his coaching ability and man management, I am afraid. After Stam departed, Rangers old boss Dick Advocaat took over as interim manager until the end of the season. Dick Advocaat will do one thing to the team: discipline. He is up to this point unbeaten but after Feyenoord drew 1-1 with Groningen at the weekend the same Dutch journalist stated on telly last night that even Dick Advocaat can't polish a jobby! The fact that Feyenoord had less possession than Groningen must set some alarm bells ringing in Rotterdam. In general though, Dutch Journalists expect Feyenoord to win and stated they could not name one player in the Rangers team. I would say that it is their lack of knowledge as Steven Davis missed a penalty against their national team just a few day's earlier. I have to say that one of the problems with Feyenoord is that they have really only one central striker in Nicolai Jorgensen and he is pretty much always injured. The only other specialist central striker they have is a seventeen year old kid who is still learning his trade. They have been trying many other permutations of wingers or attacking midfielders with Luis Sinisterra playing there recently as striker, but obviously a natural striker is a big part of the backbone to the team. At the back their big money defensive buy Argentinian Marcos Senasi has instead of being a rock in defence actually become a laughing stock amongst the media. They have have painted him as the big money defender who can't defend and can't pass a ball more than a few metres. Dick Advocaat defended him this week saying he will be money well spent, and to be honest he had a reasonable game against Groningen, so maybe he just had problems getting used to his different surroundings. It is my view that we cannot let Feyenoord play football. We have to be in their faces every minute of the game. Defensively they are weak and Morelos should be able to role their defenders. I would try to let them give the ball to Senasi and the put pressure on him to make a mistake. If we let them come at us then they do have players that can hurt us in Steven Berghuis, Luis Sinisterra and Sam Larsson. Obviously a forward line built for on the ground football and not for high balls into the area. With Jens Toonstra, Leroy Fer and Orkun Kökcü they have a decent midfield but certainly not world beaters. Rangers Rangers didn't play that great on Sunday but we got the three points. Playing bad and still getting the points, is the sign of a good team. If we defend as we did on Sunday though then Feyenoord could rip us apart. The Hamilton goal was a comedy of errors with our central defenders caught out of position and Barisic looking on like he had bought a ticket for the game. Thankfully our defending has been great in Europe so hopefully we can keep the clean sheet and get the win or draw that we need. One thing we can all be sure of is that Alfredo Morelos and Ryan Kent must, and barring injury, will play. Morelos' value to the team is of paramount importance and Sunday's game showed that Jermain Defoe when not scoring goals is a virtual passenger. Morelos can score and also hold up the ball to bring the midfield into play. I may be biased but in my eyes Steven Davis, Ryan Jack and Glen Kamara are certainties for the midfield and are good enough to dominate the Feyenoord midfield. I think Ojo will make up the wide right position. With the knowledge that Feyenoord have small, quick technical footballers and virtually no aerial threat, would it possibly be better to have Edmundson at the back other than Filip Helander? We all know Goldson won't be dropped but Edmundson certainly looks quicker than both. I doubt Gerrard will mess around with the defence to be honest. I think the Rangers team will be: A draw will probably take us through to the next round depending on the result between Young Boys v Porto. With a Porto win being the only result to stop that. One thing is certain: to be sure, two wins from the last two games would be just what the doctor ordered and give certain Dutch football pundits a remembrance of who the famous Glasgow Rangers are and our players names. C'mon the Gers.
    15 points
  23. This argument gets repeated over and over by those who don't want to change, but it's clearly a weak one. These songs play into our enemies hands - they give them a plausible reason to punish us that an average member of the public would support. Can you think of an example of "something else about us to get offended about" that would seem reasonable to the outside world? You could also argue that anyone with testicular fortitude would take personal responsibility for what they sing, rather than hide in a crowd and have the club and wider support share the punishment for their actions. If you feel strongly about your right to sing these songs, go stand outside Holyrood and give it laldy.
    15 points
  24. Candeias is everything I want in a Rangers player. He works his socks off, gives 100% every game, he is passionate and works tirelessly for his teammates.
    15 points
  25. Graeme Murty has been in charge for a while now, and over the course of his tenure we have seen him experiment with a number of different shapes; some have worked, but others have not. A fruitful trip to Florida last week has hinted at another change of shape, and a new tactical focus, which we may see more of when Rangers return to domestic duty in the coming week. When he first took over, Murty quickly looked to go back to a 4-4-2, with two wingers and Miller roaming off Morelos. But, Rangers were too easily outnumbered and overrun in midfield. We also never had the number, or quality, of wide players to make this work -- Candeias being the only natural wide man we had, if you exclude youngsters. This approach was quickly discarded after several gutless performances. Up next came the 4-4-2 diamond, which removed the need for wingers altogether. We already had a good variety of central-midfield players, so this approach fit the players at Murty's disposal. Rangers ground out some of their best performances with this set-up -- against Aberdeen and Hibernian, respectively -- and picked up some much-needed points against close rivals. McCrorie came into the holding role, and Windass was able to play in his favoured central position -- it's no surprise that these two players in particular have been in a rich vein of form recently. A surprising couple of wins in Florida -- albeit against teams having their pre-season; and with hardly a strong-XI ourselves -- has seen another change. Murty used the trip to chop-and-change personnel, with youngsters and forgotten men getting their time in the sun. But one thing remained constant over the 2 games: the 4-2-3-1 formation employed. Rangers scored 5 goals in the two games in the Florida Cup, with all except Morelos' first against Corinthians (which came from Goss' excellent set-piece delivery) coming from some form of wing-play. Not only did we set up with natural wingers hugging the touchline, but we also overloaded the half-spaces and flanks, with Full-backs and Central-midfielders drifting in to support. Manchester City are running away with the English Premier League this season, chiefly down to their superb positional play, but also because of their productive wing-play. Guardiola employs a provisional 4-3-3, with Sane and Stirling playing wide and two No.8's just behind. City always try to get in-behind opponents by creating a 1-on-1 situations on the wings; and they do so in two main ways. Firstly, they'll overload the wing and half-space. One of Stirling or Sane will hug the touchline, with their Full-back close to support. This in itself is nothing special, with most teams now pushing on their Full-backs. To overload more, though, not only will Guardiola ask Aguero to drift wide slightly, into the channel or half-space, but he also gives De Bryune a free role to drift right out onto the wing. There are potentially up to 4 players overloading a flank, allowing City to pass around a low block; they are then looking to cross into the box, cut the ball back to on-rushing midfielders, or fashion a shooting chance. To deal with this, teams will naturally drift over to the ball, to try and stifle City. The second way in which City employ wing-play is by switching the play. As they overload one side of the pitch, the winger on the other side stays wide. City are mainly trying create in that overloaded side, but by dragging teams into that congested space, they then open up the switch of play to a free winger on the other side. Sane and Stirling in particular have scored several goals from these types of situations. It may be too early to tell, but there were examples of this first type of wing-play (overloading the wings) on show in Florida. In several game situations, Rangers would play into one half of the pitch; the winger would be wide or occupying the channel, the Full-back supporting, the No.10 playing in the channel, and a deeper midfielder an easy passing option just behind. There were as many as 5 players in the channel and flank. Game situation from 2nd half against Corinthians There were two variations in the way we played through our opponents. The first was with a pass, long and crisp, from Goss/Kranjcar (RDM) into the No.10 in the channel with a quick, first-time pass wide, or into the forward. The second is another long, through ball, but this time into the winger that takes up the space in the channel; again there is a quick, first-time pass into the forward or No.10. It seems to be about quick interchanges, and overloads on one side of the pitch; the aim being to get in-behind or create a shooting chance. The new signings are more evidence of this new wing-play focus. Thus far Murphy has been the marquee signing, and it would be negligent to sign a crafty winger and not play him. Moreover, wide-players like Atekayi and Dalcio have come into the equation, alongside O'Halloran -- whether they will play a part of not, remains to be seen. More wingers are lined up (Kilmarnock's Jones), but even players like Cummings and Docherty have an energy and flexibility to be comfortable drifting into different spaces. Another hint lies in the players used in the No.10 position. Considering the players used in Florida, Murty is perhaps not looking for an orthodox playmaker in the No.10 position. Murphy, and to a lesser extent Windass, have both been deployed there recently but neither are 'traditional' No.10's. Several times against Corinthians, Murphy and Windass would come deep then spin in behind, sprinting into the channels, feeding off balls from the deeper players. Another tactic utilised a lot by Murphy and Windass was, when they received the ball in the channel, they would play a quick, first-time ball wide to the winger, then sprint to overlap. This movement by the No.10s, spinning wide and in behind, was a constant theme. Even the players used in the deeper roles have tended to be more the creative, playmaker-types, rather than defensive. Kranjcar and Goss have been the main players deployed in the deeper position; neither are natural defenders, so it seems Murty will be looking for them to feed the ball into the front line, dictating play from deep -- both had the energy of Holt or Halliday for cover. Kranjcar may be past it, but he still possesses a delightful left foot; a real asset if we can utilise it properly. Goss also looks to have an impressive passing range and a pin-point delivery. Most of our 'good' play under Caixinha came from the wing, but it was all too confined to Candeias on the right; there was no balance, and too often relied on an isolated moment of brilliance from a single player, which were few and far between. With the addition of more attack-minded players, we will hopefully see a more balanced and structured approach to our wing-play. We're all on a bit of a high, with the latest Admin Day being such a big success: deals for Cummings and Martin agreed; an offer for Kilmarnock's Jordan Jones on the table; rumours of an offer for Hamilton's Docherty. Mark Allen and Graeme Murty are spearheading what is turning out to be a productive recruitment drive. Another cause for optimism may well be the new tactical approach. The signings that have come through the door -- and even potentially those lined up -- all point towards a new focus on overloading the wings and getting in behind.
    15 points
  26. The big point here is how Rangers are exposing the SPFL how corrupt & incompetent they are, the other big thing here is how/why all the other clubs are terrified of challenging the bias corrupt cabal!!, Scottish football is fucked and has been since the attempt to kill Rangers and the witch hunt continues on Rangers. Since the day Rangers were voted out of the top division Scottish football was fucked, the only thing I kept saying is we need to start winning again, being successful, this is the only way we can change things! I still believe that, we have made astonishing progress under SG and that is killing all the Rangers hating Scottish clubs and Scottish gutter press!. Rangers FC just need to keep on winning, the more success we have the stronger we will be and the more pressure we can apply to the corruption that is rife in Scottish football and indeed Scotland including the Scottish gutter press. It is a wonderful time to be a Rangers fan, especially after what we have had to endure these last 10 years or so. Just keep being successful Rangers.
    14 points
  27. Apologies in advance for being the party pooper. The bubble buster. Whatever you want to call it... As a Rangers fan for over 43 years, I'm slightly alarmed at some of the celebratory language I have seen online and heard on the airwaves regarding our newly extended lead. Am I glad we sit 10 pts ahead of them at this stage of the season? I'm delighted. Am I glad that we've managed to beat our closest rivals without turning up for the game in large parts? I'm ecstatic but it's January 3rd and there is a lot of football to be played. I can fully understand many fans want to pull the trigger early on the celebrations but not this Rangers fan. The last 6/7 years are still too raw for me to relax and start popping the champagne. I've also seen too much football over those 43 years to suggest that we are home and dry. I know the pundits have all but crowned us as champions in waiting but for me it's too early. IMO draws are as damaging as defeats in a tight race. For example, would I be surprised if we drew at Pittodrie or Easter Rd in our forthcoming games. Not at all. Its happened before as these teams usually raise their game when we come to town. Poor performances in these crucial games could potentially reduce our lead to 4/6/7/8 pts. So let's be sensible and put the flares, fireworks, champagne and balloons in the cupboard until it happens. We've won nothing yet.
    14 points
  28. As a Rangers supporter of colour , who has been attending Ibrox since I was 14 , I can honestly say that I have never experienced or felt threatened or been racially abused due to my skin colour . I have though heard plenty of derogatory terms being used at opposing players , mainly in the 80,s and early 90,s , now it is so rare that if it did happen I would remember . In all the times attending games , and I was a season ticket holder from 86 until approx 2003 the only time I can remember seeing anything remotely racist was a 2 game period when the NF had a type of stall set up on the Copland road , but again this was a blip and they were never seen again . The whole BLM debate gets confusing because to every single person it means something different , the aims of the BLM movement are not what players and normal people are protesting about , it really is a sad indictment of society in 2020 when basic human decency has be be protested for .
    14 points
  29. The late Jock Wallace is often characterised as the archetypal old school manager; gruff, authoritarian, intimidating, bellowing orders and ruling through fear. Some of that might be true, but it’s also true of many football managers of that era. What’s so often overlooked about Wallace was his subtle use of psychology. Wallace was faced with a daunting task when he assumed the mantel of Rangers manager. Not only was he in direct competition with Jock Stein, a manager of incredible ability, but also a Celtic side containing hugely talented and experienced players who knew how to win the league. Wallace’s first season in charge saw Rangers finish 5 points behind the champions and one point behind second place Hibs. Wallace knew that Rangers had good players, we’d won the Cup Winners Cup only a couple of years before, and any squad that contained Greig, Jardine, McLean, MacDonald and Johnstone was as good as any in the league. Wallace understood that what was missing was belief and a mental toughness. Wallace needed something that made his players believe they were unbeatable, something that gave them a psychological edge over their opposition. Wallace found the answer on a beach overlooking the Firth of Forth close to where he was raised. Murder Hill, as it came to be known, is simply a long, steep sand dune. Wallace knew about it from his childhood, local sports clubs, including Hearts, had trained on the Gullane sands for years before Wallace took his Rangers side there. But most of the Rangers players didn’t know about it. The squad were made to run up and down it, sometimes carrying medicine balls, sometimes teammates. The mix of the coastal wind and the sand made the players thirsty, the sand would get everywhere making them uncomfortable and the gruelling nature of the training exhausted this band of fit young men, as all pre-season training does. Wallace was able to convince his players that this pre-season work had made them fitter than they had ever been before. He convinced them they were now the fittest team in the league, that no other side could live with their strength. His final masterstroke was telling the press about it. Not only did the Rangers players believe it but so did the support and, importantly, the opposition too. We welcome, if that’s the right word, Aberdeen to Ibrox this Saturday. Unusually for a match between the clubs it takes place at 3pm on a Saturday. Aberdeen arrive in poor form with only one win in their last four, a scrappy 1-0 over Dumbarton in the cup. Their support are restless, the turgid, pragmatic football Derek McInnes sets his side up to play can be tolerated when it brings victories but finds you friendless when it doesn’t. It’s almost surreal to think 24 months ago we were still smarting from being unable to prise him from Aberdeen’s grasp. As Ross Bennett on the Gersnet Podcast quipped it’s the greatest bullet dodge since The Matrix. I expect Aberdeen to bring a defensive mindset, giving us the ball until the final third, then filling it with bodies and closing the space. They’ll aim to frustrate our players and perhaps our support. Prepare for a physical match, lots of niggles, off the ball stuff and gamesmanship. We enter the match still missing our captain and first choice right back and our most influential midfielder in Jack along with Helander and Defoe. At the time of writing we look to be signing Hagi and possibly one or two others. I wouldn’t expect any of them to start though our bench might contain some new faces. Polster should retain his place, personally I think anyone looks good when compared to Flanagan, but in the case of Polster he does seem to bring something to the team. Aberdeen will be a test of his attacking ability, he’ll spend most of the match in their half, so his passing and crossing will be vital. I expect Arfield will also retain his place in midfield, along with Davis and Kamara. Whether Ojo has done enough to keep a starting spot is harder to guess, I suspect not and think Aribo with start along with Kent. Defoe’s absence is lessened by the return of Morelos. Morelos will be targeted by the Aberdeen players and probably their support. A support who think nothing of singing about the 66 football supporters who tragically died whilst at the site of that disaster are almost beyond redemption. I suspect Ian Durrant will get a mention too. Morelos has more reason than most to be fearful of opposition supporters. Already this week police are investigating an incident with his car and intruder close to his home and a man called Sean Baillie appeared in court charged in relation with throwing a cup of scalding liquid at Morelos during a recent Motherwell match. Morelos has to face this whilst living thousands of miles from home and with his wife expecting their first child. Gerrard has played down the incidents and their affect on Morelos, as is Gerrard’s style, but I’m not sure if I believe him. The hatred Morelos faces has long ago crossed the line from supporter rivalry and into something altogether more sinister. The man in court this week is 30 years old, he’s not some daft teenager. For me this is the culmination of years of public demonisation of Rangers. The neanderthal narrative some love to peddle stops being banter and turns into something much darker when it fuels the kind of incidents we’re seeing now. That we face Aberdeen this weekend, one of the more enthusiastic participants in the denigration of our club and our support, is fitting. That they went to the bother of creating a banner, in Spanish, aimed squarely at Morelos tells you all you need to know about the mindset of some of their support. This act by their support was ignored by the SPFL and the police, but hey, it’s only the funny wee foreign lad after all. It’s been open season on the league’s top scorer for a while now, players, managers, referees, supporters and the media have all been complicit in this. As for the match itself we should win comfortably. But then we should have won our last encounter with Aberdeen comfortably too. Throwing away a 2 goal league was very disappointing, particularly after having dominated the match. We were mentally weak that night, unable to match Aberdeen’s rise in tempo and direct style. That weakness was evident again last weekend at Tynecastle. This will be our third league match in 7 days, surely we’re now over any rustiness that set in after the winter break. The clever thing about Murder Hill of course is that you don’t actually get any fitter running up and down sand dunes than you would running on a treadmill or round a track; you just think you do. Wallace understood this, he knew the dunes helped the side’s mental strength far more than its collective stamina. Gerrard needs to find his Murder Hill, the thing that galvanises the squad and makes them fully believe they are unbeatable. Saturday would be the perfect day discover it.
    14 points
  30. The Light at the end of the Tunnel. The current situation reference Rangers is nothing new to those of us passing three score years. The almost five year period between April'66 and October'70 felt like unrelenting darkness. It was impenetrable, the Scottish Cup final replay victory over Celtic was a dazzling brightness; however, by Autumn'70 it had faded. Of course, we knew where we had come from, locating the way ahead was the real problem. Rangers had made a ECWC final and a Scottish Cup final too, in the intervening years, and failed to secure both cups. Further, we had endured a couple of Championship campaigns where we managed to secure defeat from the jaws of victory on the last days of the seasons. Flicking the switch appeared useless too, three differing Managers and a repeating temporary Boss did not raise a glimmer. Season '69/70 had seen Wullie Waddell pontificating on Scottish football from the lofty designation as the Scottish Daily Express's Chief Football Writer. He could talk with considerable authority, done it all as a Rangers player and managed Killie to a Championship victory five years previous. The immediate aftermath of our defeat to Polish wizards, Gornik had seen Waddell condemn the then gaffer, Davie Whyte with a piece entitled, 'the Boy David'. The Board sacked Whyte and appointed Waddell in his place. He cleared out the dead wood and introduced a host of youngsters into the team. The likes of Alfie Conn, Alex Miller, Colin Jackson, Graham Fyfe, and Derek Parlane were elevated, and he decided a most effective, free scoring inside forward, William Jardin was a better right back. Pre-season '70/'71, Waddell's final piece of the jigsaw arrived. The former player/Boss of Berwick Rangers and then Hearts Trainer, Jock Wallace took over at the Albion. The beginning of the campaign was at best described as inconsistent. We lost two out three pre-season friendlies, the other a draw. We qualified in top position from our League Cup group, involving Motherwell, Dunfermline, and Morton. The quarter-final was two legged against Hibs, winning both games 3-1 for a 6-2 aggregate. Meanwhile, our League form was poor, losing 0-2 at home to Celtic and by mid-Autumn, we languished fifth in the table behind Celtic, Aberdeen, St Johnstone, and Motherwell. The perceived wisdom cited Jock Wallace taking Rangers to Gullane sands. We had left all our energy on the East Lothian coast. We defeated Cowdenbeath in the semi-final, both goals notched by Johnston and Stein in the second half. The final was due, ten days later; we had a league fixture in between, at Ibrox against Aberdeen. A hopeful 40,000 watched a well drilled Dons outfit manage the game from minute one until the ninetieth. A Colin Jackson own goal follow followed by classy finish from the biggest blue-nose on the field, Joey Harper settled a deserved 0-2 triumph. The murmurs leaving the Stadium focused on the inconsistency of so many youngsters, and the pre-match news of returning to Gullane sands for three days before the final. The build up to Hampden was dispiriting for Bears,the Daily Record ran a two day series of interviews with the remaining 16 clubs Skippers in the then, Division One. All but three predicted a comfortable green'n'grey victory. Gullane sands became the subject of relentless jokes ie we endured the twice daily sessions on the sands, then played a team of dustbins. The game finished a 0-0 draw, noting the bins had been denied a clear penalty. A final casualty of the coast was Captain, John Greig going down with the flu. I suspect the conclusion to the Gullane sessions(revealed after the final by Sandy Jardine) might have been the cause? The 24th of October arrived and 108,000 squeezed into the old ground. Our supporters bus had been alive with the news that Greig had failed a fitness test the previous day. Speculation on his replacement split the ranks, we needed the craft of veteran campaigner, Andy Penman as opposed the legs of youngster, Graham Fyfe? A further shock was the team news, neither two was in the starting line up, a callow 16 year old who had debuted a month before against Cowdenbeath in a league match, scoring twice, was the Skipper's replacement. Derek Johnstone's name was overwhelmingly met with, "WHO"? The team that wet and windy day was : McCloy, Jardine, Miller, Conn, McKinnon, Jackson, Henderson, MacDonald, Johnstone, Stein, and Wullie Johnston. Fyfe was our sub'. Our back four was Jardine and Miller as full backs, Jackson joined McKinnon as the centre two. They were never realy troubled. Our midfield star was Alfie Conn, Doddy and Henderson provided the heavy lifting. Bud and Stein continually took the Sellik back line into wide areas. Jim Craig was terrified of Bud's pace, resulting in Bud sitting on the ball late into the game. He teased and enticed Craig to come out and tackle, before dancing around him to deliver another cross. The winning goal was scored in the 40th minute, Conn slipped a ball wide to Henderson. He galloped 40 yards and slung the ball inside to a supporting MacDonald, who in turn pinged it wide to Bud. He checked and delivered a high looping cross, DJ got up between McNeill and Craig, heading the ball firmly past Williams. We scored another in the second half, Colin Stein squeezed the ball at least a foot over the line, but Tiny Wharton was fifty yards off the play and Evan Williams quickly retrieved the ball. As Ronnie McKinnon stepped up to receive the trophy, the clouds momentarily parted and a streak of silver blue became apparent. It was nearly five years and the darkness was bleakest before the game began. Our youngsters outran and outsmarted the acknowledged masters of trophy retention, Celtic were participating in their sixth consecutive final. The youngest player participating in his second game and first final was the light at the end of our tunnel. It was the beginning of sustained success, we won the Scottish Cup, the ECWC, and the league Championship in subsequent seasons. Big DJ - the bringer of the light. NB - Sandy Jardine revealed a few seasons later, that the end of the Gullane sands sessions included either a dip in the sea, or a hosing down by Jock Wallace. Apparently, before the League Cup final in the dressing room, Wallace separated the players into groups of four, and turned a freezing fire hose on them. Thoroughly soaked, they were required to lie of the Masseuse tables and the Trainers rubbed in raw alcohol into all muscle groupings as an embrocation. No wonder Greigy was down with the flu! The events of half a century past feel similar today. We have been through several years of darkness, we have endured a number of Gaffers, and it's the separated brethren tormenting us again. Like 1970, we lost 0-2 at Ibrox to them a few weeks before the final. We attempted to nullify their game, forgetting about our own. Similarly, we did this back in August. We played far too narrow and allowed ra Sellik to dictate the tempo. Hampden is a huge playing area, we have to be expansive, I suspect whoever owns the tempo will own the match? Out of possession, our tempo must remain high, pressing them high up the pitch. It's this manner that laid the foundations for our respective 1-0 and 2-0 victories at Ibrox My team would be : McGregor, Tavenier, Goldson, Katic, Barisic, Davis, Jack, Arfield, Kamara, Kent, and Morelos. Hopefully, 2-1 to the good guys?
    14 points
  31. A Point to Prove Intro The surprise loan of Glenn Middleton from Rangers to Hibs appears to signal a thawing in the icy relations between the clubs of late, but there will be little sign of that when the sides go head to head this weekend in a game which both sides will aim to make a springboard for their season. Background to Game Both come into the tie on the back of opening day victories but still very much with a point to prove. After an overwhelmingly positive pre-season, Rangers failed to convince with a laboured victory at Rugby Park which had an all too familiar feel to it. However, Thursday’s fabulous performance in Denmark has gone a long way to quelling those fears and putting the fans at ease again. Hibs had a similar opening day to Rangers when they left it late to grind out a win over a St Mirren side they would have expected to dispatch of comfortably at Easter Road. Head to Head History For a long time Hibs were not a side Rangers had to worry too much about. In 32 games between 1996 and 2005, Hibs recorded only one victory. The return of Walter Smith in 2007 saw this pattern continue with only 2 losses in 20 games. However, since Rangers were demoted Hibs have proven to be a thorn in their side, restricting the Gers to a mere 8 wins in 22 games. This dismal record continued under Steven Gerrard last season as a poor Hibs side were allowed to land a severe blow to Rangers’ title hopes by holding them to three draws, costing the Ibrox men 6 crucial points. However the tide has started to turn and last season was the first season since 2011-12 that Rangers were unbeaten against Hibs and the one-sided games were a sign that the new rivalry between the clubs is not likely to last. The Opponent A change in regime at Hibs mid-season saw Heckingbottom take the reins and rescue their campaign as they embarked on an unlikely 10 game unbeaten run which lifted them from 8th to 5th place. This was the highest possible finish for the Englishman so it was a massive achievement. Lennon had built his house on the sand of loan deals and favours from Celtic and paid the price in his final season when the latter dried up after the John McGinn saga. Lennon was weighed in the balance and found wanting. Heckingbottom has had a summer to re-build and, in a break from the club’s previous strategy, he is building for the future. Lennon’s Hibs were propped up by the short termist strategy of flooding the squad with loan players and in his final season he made seven loan signings. Remarkably, Heckingbottom has made only two loan signings and has preferred to utilise his extensive knowledge and connections south of the border to make 5 permanent signings who are all between the ages of 23 and 26. The signing of Scott Allan had already been agreed before he came in but is very much in keeping with this strategy. Form Having said that, this season’s Hibs squad doesn’t look like the improvement over last season’s that the fans were expecting. The opening day performance was slow, laboured and lacking dynamism. The loss of Martin Boyle to injury was a huge blow in terms of the team’s attacking threat but Heckingbottom and Leanne Dempster were smart to move quickly to smooth things over with Rangers and secure Glenn Middleton on loan to replace him. Middleton has the ability to provide the pace and end product they are lacking but will not feature this weekend so answers will have to be found elsewhere. Dangerman Mallan and Horgan are both players with the ability to create and shoot from distance but the dangerman without doubt is Scott Allan. Rangers know all too well what Allan is capable of and everything Hibs did well against St Mirren went through him and it was no co-incidence that it was he who saved the day with an impressive winner. Rangers Despite Rangers’ midweek heroics, they still come into the game with a point to prove. Last season Hibs were a bogey team and Gerrard will be determined to vanquish any similarities to last season from the off, not least after the Kilmarnock game when the accusations flooded in that nothing has changed. Furthermore, dropping points ahead of the first Old Firm game of the season on the 1st of September is not an option. It is absolutely crucial that Gerrard takes his men into that game with the chance to go 3 points clear and give themselves a lead to defend and maintain from there on. This, more than anything, will signal to the fans and the country that this season is different. The line-up is difficult to predict. Last season the goalkeeper was not rotated but McGregor is a year older and Foderingham rotated in at Rugby Park after the Progres game last week and is likely to do so again on Sunday. The backline was not rotated after Progres but Katic and Flanagan will be conscious of the competition and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Barisic and Edmundson start in a home game where we will dominate the ball. Helander didn't make the bench in Jutland and Gerrard has been wise not to throw him in and risk damaging his reputation before he is fit and ready. Davis is likely to return to the three in midfield but Kamara offered the fans a reminder of his quality and class in Denmark and this will surely leave Gerrard with another headache. Arfield will always keep his place unless he is unavailable but Jones can rightly feel under threat in a position with no stand-out player as of yet. The addition of Brandon Barker from Man City is likely to have more to do with opportunism than a feeling that he will significantly improve the team, but it will nevertheless make a few nervous. In any case, Ojo is likely to step in for Jones and this is another example of a position the club now have enough depth in to allow for fresh legs to be brought in after a European game. Defoe will rotate back in after Morelos starred midweek and the option of bringing in a fresh striker after European excursions is brand new to Gerrard and could be a crucial factor in this league campaign. As important a player as Morelos is, he isn't the fittest player in the world and the aerially dominant Darren McGregor will not relish the prospect of facing a fresh and hungry Jermaine Defoe who scores his goals on the deck. Predicted Line-up - 4-3-2-1 Predicted Score - Rangers 2-0 Hibs
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  32. I know for a fact they were fully aware of exactly what they were dancing on just before they landed on me and my friends, how none of us were seriously injured is simply miraculous. Behaviour such as that has been highlighted to both Kilmarnock stewards and Rangers security for years, they were fully aware of our concerns but did absolutely nothing to address them other than patronise us.
    14 points
  33. Before Sunday's final Old Firm game of the season there was the usual manufactured controversy by the usual trolls in the media. Last week it was Chris Sutton's turn to take the lead by suggesting Rangers should give Celtic a guard of honour ahead of the match to show respect for their title win. Of course, given the rivalry between the clubs, this was never going to happen but it didn't stop several other journalists and pundits latching onto the 'debate' inferring Rangers lacked the class or humility to applaud the Celtic players onto the pitch. Even Alan Stubbs and Neil Lennon had their say with neither having the brains to remember they or their clubs didn't offer Rangers the same guard when they played Hibs and Celtic after winning leagues in previous seasons. As always, when it comes to Scottish football, the hypocrisy and mischief-making stood out more than any genuine point being offered. No matter, this Celtic team do deserve praise. To be on the brink of an unprecedented 'treble treble' is worthy of such and, despite the context that goes with their eight titles in a row, to win nine trophies across three years is good going and it would be churlish not to recognise that. In fact, I'd go so far that if you're not prepared to do so, then it would just make Celtic's job easier in terms of extending their dominance. Indeed, whilst Steven Gerrard clearly wasn't in favour of any bizarre guard of honour, as a professional himself, he will be well aware of how difficult the job is to challenge our greatest rivals going forward. The current financial gulf alone makes his job a difficult one: not impossible but we are hamstrung fiscally and I do note the irony from when the boot was on the other foot twenty odd years ago. Yet, that fairly recent history also shows nothing is a certainty in this country's national sport (take note Hearts). Despite an unsuccessful season per se, Rangers have shown they meter out a challenge to Celtic in the coming years. Yes, Celtic won the league fairly comfortably in the end but in the four matches against them, we at last not only competed with them but came out the four games looking the better side. In the first match at Celtic Park, the hosts by and large dominated and ran out deserved winners but in the three games since, including the second game at Celtic Park at the end of March where we went down to ten men, we not only played the more composed football but we created the most chances whilst bettering them both tactically and physically. Sure, they still won that March contest but, make no mistake, our efforts from that day were reflected in our own win at Ibrox on Sunday. And, in turn, that result will have a bearing the next time we play them too. Most importantly, it should give our own players the belief to approach next season with more confidence, addressing our problems with consistency and our ability to keep winning games when it truly matters. Of course nothing is certain despite our splendid performance from the weekend but we are in a good place. For much of this season we were too dependent on Alfredo Morelos and too one-dimensional in our play as a result. This made us predictable and occasionally easy to defend against: issues that have lingered from the managerial reigns of Warburton and Caixinha/Murty. Fortunately, this season has been different with Steven Gerrard and his coaching team quickly able to find an alternative system to improve results. The form of certain players has helped: not least the likes of Defoe, Davis and Katic but from being over-reliant on one or two individuals, we've played much better as a team since we lost Morelos to suspension. In that sense, it's no coincidence, our overall play has been better for longer periods of games and we've both conceded less and scored more than in other periods of the campaign. With that in mind our current form is well worthy of examination. Since that unlucky defeat to Celtic at the end of March, we've won six games in a row. Not exactly noteworthy on its own but these matches have all been against the best the SPFL has to offer. We've beaten Hearts twice, Celtic, Motherwell, Aberdeen and Hibs: the latter two, teams we've struggled against earlier in the season. We've also scored 14 goals and conceded only once. Of course the season is nearing an end and some sides might well be ready for their holidays but, for me, that means our form deserves more praise, not less. After all, when we finish our season this Sunday at Rugby Park it will be our 60th game of the last 10 and half months. Yet the drive and hunger from the manager and his squad seems to be just as fresh as it was when we beat Shkupi last 12th July. We're also well on our way when it comes to improving the squad for next season. Bosman signings like Jordan Jones, Jake Hastie and Greg Stewart might not take us to Champions League glory but Glen Kamara has already shown since he signed from relegated Dundee that cost need not dictate quality. If you were watching Liverpool's incredible comeback against Barca last midweek and their impressive domestic form throughout the season then Andy Robertson's less than glamorous background shows Scottish-based players can play at the highest levels: a belief that both Gerrard and Gary McAllister can offer any new signing. And there will be more - perhaps a few that will whet the appetite in the same way that Jermain Defoe and Steven Davis have shown their quality once up to speed. Conversely we will lose several players as well with a long list set to leave. The vast majority of Foderingham, Alnwick, Hodson, Wallace, Worrall, McAuley, Coulibaly, Holt, Grezda, Dodoo, Herrera and Lafferty won't be here next season which is a large exodus. More importantly, key players such as Morelos, Tavernier and Kent are uncertain to be here - though at least the Colombian and our skipper will realise serious cash should they move on, which could help us afford to retain Kent. The reliable contributions of players like Goldson, Jack and Arfield will also be of interest to other clubs so new deals may be offered to keep their services. Meanwhile, even obvious talent such as Dorrans, Docherty and Rossiter have struggled to prove themselves at the club so their futures may well be undecided too. As such, whilst the squad turnover may not be as severe as we seen in Gerrard's first summer at the club, change will be obvious and next year's squad very different. Given we'll be starting the hard work again this time next month, we'll need improvement to avoid the downturn of form we seen last winter due to our European exertions. Ensuring the squad has the correct level of depth and quality therein is a big responsibility for Andy Scoulding and Mark Allen. After all, if we are to be successful next season then we'll need to play more than the 60 games we did this term. All things considered Rangers fans asked for evidence of progress from Steven Gerrard and, as much as there have been some great disappointments this season, I think he's definitely provided improvement by and large. To qualify for the Europa League group stages was a laudable achievement and to arguably win the head-to-head versus Celtic over the course of those four games demonstrates improvement; mentally as much as tactically. Unfortunately, no cup finals and no league trophy shows work still needs to be done and a couple of wins over Celtic isn't enough to satisfy the support as long as they're the ones still celebrating trebles come mid-May. In that sense, Sunday's result may have been meaningless but there's no doubt in my mind any momentum Celtic had after our travails of the last 7-8 years has been halted. Perhaps not reversed (and they have plenty of financial fuel to apply) but enough of a marker to suggest a changing of the guard could be upon us.
    14 points
  34. I suspect Sunday afternoon/evening last, might be viewed as a series of defining moments in PQ's attempt to provide definition on Strict Liability? The live broadcast of BBC Radio Scotland's coverage of the Scottish Cup semi-final between Aberdeen and ra Sellik put together with an early evening Sportscene highlights the shimmering mess they have got themselves into. PQ demand answers to questions they don't even dare to ask themselves, because those questions are too uncomfortable. A Dandy Dons/Yahoo fixture is what they live for, it's perfect harmony. You have Big Dick presenting, Liam McLeod commentating, Tom English, Pat Bonner, and Wullie Miller adding colour. The vox-pops are provided by Tyrone Smith; it's all safe, contained to only supporters of both clubs, no awkward or inconvenient comments guaranteed. Mutual masturbation is actively encouraged. It has been established, Rangers under Gerrard have not improved, the oligopoly of the last several seasons remains preserved. We have a monthly period where pyrotechnics have been lobbed on to playing areas at Paisley by Yahoos, the same supporters aim sectarian chanting at both Steven Gerrard and Jimmy Bell. Motherwell fans throw a lighter, a pie, and a few coins at Rangers skipper, James Tavernier, Jambos and Hibees add to the pyro party, and add a touch of creativity by shying a coconut. A Hibby is jailed for 100 days for attempting to attack James Tavernier. All this in the immediate wake of Aberdeen supporters subjecting Gerrard to sectarian chanting and offering a few ditties about the Ibrox Disaster. Just before that, Rangers supporters sectarianly abused Killie boss, Steve Clarke; days before this, Sellik supporters did the same to Killie striker, Kris Boyd and pelted him with coins. I hope you can pick the needle out of the above haystack? Beeb Scotland went BIG with 'Strict Liability' on one issue in that morass. We had demands from Michael Stewart, DrStu', and Tom English for strict liability now. We had pleas from presenters on both radio and TV, after the obligatory phone-in/studio discussion had concluded that the Scottish Government must step in and deal with the issue. The national broadcaster is the biggest megaphone in the land and the volume was turned up to eleven. Steve Clarke had defined the issue, "it was something from the dark ages". As far as the rest of, the overwhelming mass of the haystack; PQ treated that as a whiter shade of pale. Calls for strict liability diminished, then disappeared. In fact the current standing from the politically motivated Michael Stewart stands thus, "we need to get a collective approach to try and tackle this and stamp it out". His lame and limp offering from Sunday night's Sportscene. Michael's political muse, Scottish Justice Minister, Humza Yousaf began the week threatening Scottish football clubs. He demanded the clubs tell him of their plans to deal with this vague and unquantified issue? Last weekend, BBC Scotland's Chief Sports Correspondent, Chris McLaughlin added to the debate by visiting Holland. The Dutch had implemented strict liability and Chris was anxious to present the benefits to both game and society. A several minute film, a few reinforcing chats with shows' hosts, and a piece on the Beeb website told us .............. nothing. A day after broadcast, Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final between Ajax and Juventus saw 146 arrests. An exercise in Double Dutch from Chris, who would have thought? PQ have told us pesky license fee paying Rangers supporters, "we are Editorially fair". I have watched this last month how they exercise editorial fairness. Each incident is reported, thus they can make the statement. It is reported on Ceefax or inserted into their website as seventh item, eg McInnes claiming his red card at Hampden was a direct result of gesturing after being subject to sectarian abuse from the self proclaimed GFITW. This appeared on both Ceefax and the website and disappeared after four hours. There are no discussions, phone-ins, studio guests, ........... etc. The megaphone is severely muted. So, where does this leave us? Will the usual suspects at PQ answer these awkward questions? 1. Can we agree, Steve Clarke's outrage at being sectarianly targeted by Rangers supporters would have carried far more substantial weight, if he had condemned those Celtic supporters doing the very same to his club's captain, Kris Boyd, just three days previously? 2. Similarly, Derek McInnes and his being sent to the stand. Again, would his claims carry more purchase if he had commented/condemned Aberdeen fans for singing the very same song at Steven Gerrard? Further, his gesture to the Celtic support is the very same gesture utilised by Scott Brown to the Rangers supporters at Celtic Park. Brown has not been punished, why was McInnes sanctioned? 3. Long term PQ employee, Derek Ferguson utilised the available megaphone to claim Rangers keeper, Alan McGregor had deliberately set out to do his son, Aberdeen midfielder, Lewis Ferguson. McGregor was cited by the Compliance Officer and suspended for two matches. Does Derek intend to pick up the megaphone again and claim his son set out to do Rogic? 4. Will Chris McLaughlin interview Humza Yousaf? It could be conducted in the comfy green leather seats in the north stand after a Sellik game, just saying. 5. Do Michael Stewart, DrStu', and Tom English expect strict liability to be extended to clubs, other than Rangers? 6, What's the point of Jonathon Sutherland? It's as well we remind ourselves of PQ's claim of being editorial fair, because I suspect it is the hook they hang themselves upon. We should record the evidence because if Humza Yousaf gets involved, that evidence will be lost, or deliberately disappeared.
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  35. Strictly Sevco. These last few weeks, the entertainment for Rangers supporters is in watching BBC Scotland framing the strict liability debate. It was easy at the start, Killie's Steve Clarke had been subjected to sectarian chanting at Ibrox, and Michael Stewart, DrStu', and Tom English demanded the Scottish Government step in and take appropriate action. Across both radio and TV, the big stick battering Sevco was presented as the only action. Truly, it is quite amazing how attracted a lot of Scottish football supporters and PQ journos are to such imagery. The Scottish Justice Minister, Humza Yousef liked the thought even more and began making noises. He was looking for answers as opposed to searching for lost evidence. Three days before Steve Clarke suffering vile sectarian abuse, Kris Boyd had been the recipient from Sellik supporters. Then, Steven Gerrard was the target of sectarian chanting by Aberdeen fans, in between a few songs about the Ibrox Disaster. The PQ Gang Hut retreated and decided to stay schtum, the imagery of fellow Dandies and Yahoos indulging in sectarian chanting is awkward for strict liability going forward. Bravely, DrStu' kept the charge going; he was prepared to compartmentalise any sectarian abuse of Boyd and Gerrard as, 'tribalism', Steve Clarke was the real victim of sectarianism. Cosgrove's concerns were both Boyd and Gerrard being abused was running interference on the real issue of Clarke. We arrive at last weekend's old firm game at Sellik Park, both Jimmy Bell and Gerrard are recipients of sectarian chanting from the jolly craicsters amid the Green Brigade. This can be conveniently ignored because there is too much fun to be had at PQ, getting after Morelos, Kent, and Halliday. In fact, Big Dick and Michael Stewart go out on a limb to clear Scott Brown of any wrongdoing. Of course, on Wednesday night der Broony stands on an opposition player and Michael Stewart tells the Sportscene audience, "where else could he put his foot"? There is dissension amid PQ ranks, both the commentator, Paul Mitchell and 'Thommo' decree Brown's actions as worthy of a red card. The strict liability issue arriving from the Yahoos visit to Paisley, is the detonation of a Thunderflash. Like any other pyrotechnic, it is initiated by a detonator and the minimum safety distance is thirty meters. On Sportsound, Big Dick read out a text from a Gang Hut staffer, assuring us that the pyrotechnic did not strike the St Mirren keeper, it had landed five yards away. Pat Bonner was allowed to talk about young teenagers and lack of responsibility. On Sportscene, Michael Stewart did not mention strict liability, and by the time we reached Thursday evening, PQ were talking about, "a firework". No one mentions minimum safety distance or that a thunderflash landing at such close proximity to the Buddies Keeper, could have blown his eardrums. Now, you would think Chief Sports Correspondent, Chris McLaughlin would step in and bring full gravity to this discussion point? No, we receive old buffer, Reevel Alderson. A safe pair of hands, an Old Aloysian can be relied to chair a debate between Jeanette Findlay and James Dornan MSP. Reevel was scrupulously fair in ensuring all sides of Irish Republican opinion were heard, reading out a statement from the Green Brigade at the conclusion. There you go, over a period of 4 weeks; Strict Liability equates to Strictly Sevco. Peter has announced this morning, "this stops now". It reminds me of fifteen years past when Peter also proclaimed, "no stone will remain unturned util the lighter thrower is found". Fernando Ricksen continues to await the identity of whoever struck him with a lighter at Sellik Park, obviously stones remain to be unturned. Perhaps, Humza Yousef could lend a hand, get out his comfy green leather seat in the north stand and search for lost evidence?
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  36. Ten years and tonight's 18's game report https://rfcyouths.wordpress.com/2018/10/19/ten-years-of-the-youth-blog/
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  37. After the conclusion of World War Two, Scottish football reconvened for season 1946/47. In the intervening seventy-two seasons, we have only faced Aberdeen in a League Championship opener on two occasions. This Sunday's match will be the third, all three have been/are Pittodrie fixtures. Thus, league beginnings with the Dandies are the proverbial hen's teeth. Looking at the previous collectors' items might show a way ahead for two days hence? Season '77/78 was a tumultuous roller coaster ride for Bears. The previous season had seen Rangers set up to defend their Treble, but failed abjectly. The close season was seemingly uneventful, the Coop had arrived for £100,000 from Clydebank and we sold Ian McDougall to Dundee for £15,000. Oh, and we paid Shettleston Juniors £2,000 for the mercurial Bobby Russell. I traveled on the Tannochside RSC bus to FurryBoots City on the morning of the 13th of August, and collective optimism was low. The midfield needed new legs and a Junior player was not the answer. Inside the Paddock, the gloom deepened as the Rangers team was announced; McCloy, Jardine, Forsyth, Jackson, Miller, Russell MacDonald, MacKay, Parlane, Robertson, and Cooper. The Junior, a teenage winger, Billy MacKay, and the diminutive forward Chris Robertson(older brother of Hearts, John) all starting at Pittodrie failed to inspire confidence. The game began with the Don's Drew Jarvie scoring in the second minute and we had to survive a few more near things before Cooper and Russell revealed a near telepathic relationship. We played our way into the game and deservedly drew level on the half hour, Russell finishing a lovely move. Heightened spirits at half time soon dissipated when Jarvie and Joe Harper struck twice inside a minute on the hour. Boos rang around the away support as the most promising teenager, MacKay was substituted by Bobby McKean. In the wake of an opening day 3-1 defeat, the journey home on the bus was most fractious. An assurance from the Bus Convener that Gordon Smith was signing for the club on Monday and £400,000(Parlane plus £200,000) had been offered to Leeds United for their young Scots centre half, Gordon McQueen was not deemed helpful, Smith was a fan dancer! We regained the Treble at the culmination of the season. Russell, Cooper, and Gordon Smith played significant parts. DJ notched forty goals and John Greig became the first player since Davie Meiklejohn, over half a century before, to be awarded a Testimonial. Colin Stein was released on a Free. Tragically, Bobby McKean was found dead inside his car, and our manager, Jock Wallace resigned after securing two Trebles in three seasons. John Greig was appointed manager of Rangers the very next day. We must spring forward thirty-four years to the 28th July'01 for our second Hill'o'Dung opener. Circumstances were vaguely similar, a chastened Dick Advocaat led Rangers to the reflecting light of the grey granite. MON had put his gas at a peep, and the city of energy was not keen on reigniting his enthusiasm. It was reported that Rangers players and staff had been out their beds twice due to bogus fire alarms, the usual suspects sniggered at their discomfort, promising it would only get worse. They had not graduated to etching Ibrox Disaster slurs on the team bus, that would come later. Pittodrie was a sun drenched toilet that day, Rangers lined up as follows : Klos, Ricksen, Moore, Vidmar, Numan, Reyna, Latapy, Konterman, Nerlinger, Caniggia, and Mols. Interestingly, Rangers had just returned from Slovenia, where they had defeated Maribor three zip, and the midweek exertions were clearly visible in an uninspiring goalless first half. Rangers increased the pace after the restart and the Dons Struggled, three goals in twenty minutes turned the sheep to mutton. Nerlinger clipped a twenty yarder into the net, Latapy dispatched a penalty, and Caniggia followed in on a spilled Miller shot. A successive three nil away win should have inspired confidence to kick-on, but we drew nil nil with newly promoted Livi' at Ibrox the following Saturday. By mid-season, we had lost sight of ra Sellik and were fighting off a rejuvenated Hibs under McLeish. We had progressed in the UEFA Cup, but lost out to Feyenoord by the odd goal in seven at the quarter-final stage. Dick resigned, became Director of Football, appointed Eck and we went on to win both the League Cup and Scottish Cup finals against ra Sellik. Who can forget Lovenkrand's last minute header, or the sharp crack of 25,000 seats snapping back as the green'n'grey hordes rushed to depart a truly joyous national stadium? Sunday's early kick-off will be a trial for both teams. Recovery from Thursday evening's trials and tribulations will demand fresher legs. I suspect the first half will be a territorial battle and thus hope McCrorie starts beside Jack. Either Arfield or Coulibaly for the third midfield berth. Further, Murphy's fresher legs on the flank. I would go with : McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Katic, Flanagan, Jack, McCrorie, Coulibaly, Candeias, Morelos, and Murphy. After an hour, when football breaks out, Kent, Middleton, Ejeria, etc will have a part to play. I hope for a two nil victory? Whether this fixture is as seminal in the coming season as the previous two proved to be, is any ones' guess. Would we sacrifice the result for an improving performance, leading to silverware later in the season? The only remaining question is who will BBC Scotland target for further attention from the Compliant Officer? Big Dick Gordon hates McGregor, despises Morelos, and fulminates at the mention of Ryan Jack. Deciding vote becomes the responsibility of Liam McLeod, Wullie Miller, Billy Dodds, Chris McLaughlin, and Jonathon Sutherland. Does an unanimous decision await?
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  38. When Rangers director Alistair Johnston spoke of being 'ahead of the curve' after our Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Celtic, many fans were rightly confused. Surely a 4-0 capitulation against our biggest rivals wasn't a sign of 'making progress' as Johnston suggested? More so when we considered our ongoing battle for anything down to fourth place in the Premiership table. Johnstone did quality his comments somewhat by referring to tougher recent years and his point about 'not being swayed by the emotions of one game' may not have gone down well but he was correct about that to an extent. A decent win and performance against Hearts the following week did prove that. Unfortunately, a further humiliation at Parkhead quickly brought attention back onto the board, as well as Graeme Murty and his players with supporters again angered by this team's cowardice at the home of our greatest rivals. Murty, rightly or wrongly, was quickly made the scapegoat. With that in mind the announcement of Steven Gerrard as new manager bought Johnston and the rest of the Rangers board some much needed goodwill (and time). Gerrard's impressive playing CV and an excellent press conference (even Dave King spoke well) meant the negativity of the previous couple of weeks was forgotten about with fans instead looking forward to next season as the thought of a Gerrard-led Rangers brought back a renewed confidence about the future. That outlook has been undoubtedly helped by subsequent interim results on the pitch. Whilst our performances against Kilmarnock and Aberdeen were again disjointed and lacked quality, a first win of the season over Killie (whom Celtic couldn't beat this campaign) and a decent comeback at Pittodrie means we have second place in our own hands to grab this weekend. Hearts also beating this Sunday's opponents means Hibs can only top us via a six goal win which - our poor form aside - still seems very unlikely though we can certainly expect an attacking barrage at Easter Road. Fortunately, the three games this season have all been very tight so as much as we can't be overly confident, Hibs' return of two wins from three of those games arguably isn't a fair reflection of the matches. In the first game last August, John Beaton may as well have had a Hibs top on as he sent off Ryan Jack for nothing after 35mins at 1-1, whilst James Tavernier was the guilty party as we threw away a fine comeback in the second Ibrox match in February. Ironically, in what was one of our worst away performances of the season, we were perhaps fortunate to take all three points at Easter Road in December. All in all, predicting the outcome of Sunday's game isn't an easy task. From a Rangers point of view, after a dreadful first half reaction to a dreadful penalty decision awarded by the always dreadful Steven McLean in Tuesday's match against Aberdeen, it was slightly heartening to see us dominate the second 45mins and go onto grab a deserved equaliser. As such, one would hope the players would take some much needed confidence from that ahead of this week. Unfortunately, two crucial players from that game are both suspended with Alfredo Morelos and Ross McCrorie missing out. Whether or not this will mean a change in system - as well as personnel with Graham Dorrans also injured - remains to be seen but it's unlikely with the usual 4-2-3-1 preferred. As such, other than replacing the three unavailable players, it's doubtful there will be further changes. In defence, Jimmy Nicholl and Jonatan Johansson will have been encouraged by our clean sheet against Killie and only a dubious penalty conceded from at Pittodrie. As much as Rangers fans have rightly been concerned with the performances of Russell Martin since David Bates was injured in March, the return of Bates has coincided with an improvement at the back. Jak Alnwick has also done well in goal with Foderingham injured. James Tavernier and Andy Halliday have been less convincing of late at full-back but should see out the season there on Sunday. Martin Boyle may well miss the game but Brandon Barker will be a threat from wide areas in were key battles in previous matches. Moving into midfield and this is where Rangers have really struggled to find any sort of balance of late. Often outnumbered and certainly outgunned, only Ross McCrorie has really shone since he was moved back into the engine room after injury. With him missing and Dorrans also injured again, the management team's decision on who plays here this week will be the key to obtaining a positive result. And we do have several options... Greg Docherty is likely to be the direct replacement for the mobility of McCrorie with Sean Goss expected to provide the creative guile. Jason Holt's energy and work-rate may not always result in the attacking qualities we need but it would be a surprise to see Jordan Rossiter start after such a long lay-off - especially as the pace of the game is expected to be extremely lively. Ironically, none of the three expected first choice players being overly comfortable in a more forward role may help us gain an element of control in deeper areas in games we've needed it previously. The fitness of Josh Windass might also prove important in terms of our tactical choices against a Hibs midfield who usually impress. In attack, once again Daniel Candeias and Jamie Murphy will most likely start in the wide areas - though Murphy's improved second half display against Aberdeen in more of a central, free role was noted by this observer. Glenn Middleton has being doing very well for the development squad on the left wing but it would be a huge surprise to see him make the team on Sunday. Up front, Jason Cummings is the obvious stand-in for Morelos and the former Hibs striker will be keen to do well up against his former clubs. The Rangers bench will be interesting with guys like Herrera, O'Halloran and Dodoo perhaps brought in from the cold for the last time in their respective Rangers careers. In actual fact, they may not be the only players experiencing their last Rangers game this weekend. David Bates is off to Hamburg, whilst Martin and Goss will return to their parent clubs along with Cummings and Murphy (who may be the only ones asked to sign permanently over the summer). Hitherto fringe players like Halliday and Holt may also move on. Meanwhile, saleable assets such as Windass and Tavernier have been linked with moves away in recent days so it's not beyond the realms of possibility that Candeias and Docherty are the only members of my proposed first XI below that are involved next season. Indeed, that stark observation is perhaps the easiest way to sum up what has been a disappointing season for the club. Yes, Alistair Johnston is right to ask us to be objective in our analysis but not enough real progress has been evident on the park and this has been compounded by our choices in the dugout. In that respect, the appointment of Steven Gerrard is something to look forward to and it seems obvious player turnover will be very high if we're to genuinely improve over the summer. As I end our final match preview of the season, Sunday's result is important for various reasons but even if we do finish second in the league, as long as we remain so far behind Celtic and our football operation lacks proper management then unfortunately, we remain behind the curve. A win over Hibs would be a great way to secure European football and help us improve our fortunes. Season ticket renewals have again shown our wonderful fans to be up for it. Let's hope the players are too.
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  39. Steven Gerrard sits on a low-backed chair, electric lights beaming down from above, highlighting his furrowed brow and bearded chin. He is relaxed, leaning back in a tie-less suit, hands resting on his knees. In the enclosed studio, Gerrard is joined by Ian Wright, Glenn Hoddle and presenter Jake Humphrey, as Anfield looms in the background. Discussion turns to what it takes to be a Premier League player. "I was obsessed," said Gerrard straightforwardly. "You have to be obsessed." "Even though they're your teammates you have to be obsessed and move them out the way. And once your in, they're staying out the way and they're not coming back." "Do you get frustrated when you see brilliant talent that is not obsessed?" asks Humphrey. "The word talent frustrates me as well," said Gerrard, after a sigh. "I love talent, I love seeing it. The important thing for me is these players need to understand the other side of the game: fighting, winning, tackling; going where it hurts, letting your lungs burn, really digging deep." We've long debated what type of manager we'd like to see. Some have argued for the young, up-and-coming tactical coach; to implement a modern style on this stuttering Rangers team. Others, more realistically, have argued for a more pragmatic appointment; to get us back to the basics, winning football matches and putting in a shift. Steven Gerrard perhaps represents a middle-way. The man is young; he has no real experience, other than a season or so as Liverpool's academy coach. In that sense he is up-and-coming. He's also worked with some of the best coaches around at the moment, in Benitez and Klopp -- and that other one, who's doing OK across the city -- so hopefully he has some new ideas to impart on our, at times, clueless team. In another way, he is a pragmatist. His playing career was all about winning, even if he ultimately missed out on that much-desired PL crown. Going by his tactical approach as manager with the Liverpool youths, he began with the basics. He opted for a solid back-four in a 4-4-2 diamond, or a 4-2-3-1 in his early matches. Then, in the face of growing injuries to key players, Gerrard switched to a 3-4-3, ushering in a upturn in results. His tactics would change to suit the opposition, while retaining the basic structural set-up. To combat a long-ball team in a European game, he ordered his team to play a high-line. Liverpool won the game 1-4. While in another situation he sought a high pressing start, before dropping into a low block to hit on the counter. It shows a willingness to adapt. Going by his playing career, and his thoughts above, we can expect a team with fight and desire. "My teams will be physical," he said, expanding on that theme in another interview. The lack of fight has been evident for far too long. There is a mental fragility running through this Rangers side. Lapses in concentration have lead to sloppy goals conceded; there is a lack of desire and heart to deal with the physical side of the game; and no real anger after a defeat, just a hollow 'must do better'. This was summed up, perhaps, by sacked manager Graeme Murty's words leading up to the recent Old Firm game: "I'm just a man at the side of the pitch," said Murty with a shrug. It was no real surprise that Murty was given his marching orders. That attitude is inconceivable in a Rangers manager. A Rangers team must be wrestled, forever onward. Murty must be thanked for his services. He's been thrown into the deep end on two occasions now, giving us a brief flirtation with stability. But, he was not ready; admitting as much himself early on -- although, it was surprising to read that he was looking to get the job into next season too. His tenure was not successful, even if there was a good spell or two in there. For all his inexperience tactically, both understandable and expected, his main flaw was a lack of character and an inability to wrestle this team into submission. There is no doubt Gerrard's appointment is a risk, and caution is needed. He's inexperienced, with only a season or so as a youth manager. He seems to have a pragmatists head on his shoulders, going by his tactical approach and a stellar playing career. The qualities Gerrard should bring is character, fight, physicality, and an obsession to win; or, in his own words, "going where it hurts, letting your lungs burn, really digging deep." There's no way he doesn't command the respect of the dressing room. That's the sort man we need leading our club. We can only give him the time to implement it. Steven Gerrard is expected in Glasgow today to sign a Three-year contract as Rangers manager. If anyone says they're not excited, they're lying.
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  40. RFC Erskine Appeal‏ @RSEA247 9h9 hours ago More Fire Glasgow city centre. Sauchiehall street. 4 replies11 retweets21 likes Reply 4 Retweet 11 Like 21 Scotland Newsdesk‏ @BBCScotNewsdesk 8h8 hours ago More Hello. How are you? Can we use your pictures of the fire on the BBC? All the best 1 reply0 retweets0 likes Reply 1 Retweet Like RFC Erskine Appeal‏ @RSEA247 FollowFollow @RSEA247 More Replying to @BBCScotNewsdesk No thank you. We do not wish to be associated with the BBC due to treatment of our club and our support. Thanks anyway 5:35 AM - 22 Mar 2018
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  41. A special mention for / to RTV tonight. Brilliantly presented by Emma Dodds, analysis from Walter, Souness and Neil McCann and commentary from CT and Super Ally. Setting a standard that national broadcasters could only dream of matching.
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  42. I'd prefer if we didn't start shouting about stripping titles. It's not about us. It's about the victims, and getting justice for them. Let's not cause any deflection from that and then allowing people to focus on the validity of any such stripping claims as all it will do it is take people's attention away from the hideous acts, the ongoing cover-up and compensation for the victims and their families.
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  43. t the moment the club are currently heavily looking into what to do with Edmiston houseThese plans include a proper ticket office, a Museum and a huge cafeIt is unclear whether they will knock it down and start again or completely revamp it, it is currently undergoing treatment for Asbestos Plans for the Museum are hugely encouraging, there is now a staff member hired to collate & catalogue every bit of material within Ibrox - from medals to scrap books etc - this is ongoing Although definite plans haven’t been concluded & studies are ongoing, big plans to give the club the platform it deserves for these things, are most definitely underway The boards promises continue to be carried out(Thought it was worth sharing, especially news on museum becoming more than just lip service)
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  44. Earlier this year I was in Manchester and saw a car being broken into in broad daylight. There must have been 40-50 other people watching this happen and yet they did nothing. As the thieves struggled to combat the car's defences I ran over and confronted them. There were 3 of them which appeared to give them the confidence to mouth some abuse back at me. Just then, another two people joined me and only then did these criminals run off. I thought about all the others who stood back and watched, possibly just thankful that it wasn't their car. In the past 3 years we've witnessed a collapse in the democratic system. I don't want to get into a political debate but the point is that once again a huge portion of the public will just sit back and watch a referendum result be overturned by politicians because they didn't like the result anyway. And now this clear corruption at the heart of our game. I'm sure many Celtic fans will just love how we (and other clubs too) have been negatively affected by this system. They will sit back and treat it as entertainment because it causes them no harm. However, supporters and officials from all clubs should be considering the bigger picture. How has this been allowed to happen? The rules of football (yes .... RULES) are being changed by one woman who is more interested in pursuing an agenda rather than protecting the integrity of our game. The rules regarding the role of the referee are not being applied and yet very few other clubs are in outrage about this. Are we to wait until their cars are stolen or vandalised before they react? Are we to wait until their votes mean nothing before they show their support for law and justice? All clubs' officials and supporters should be demanding that this situation is addressed immediately. Everyone should be insisting that this should not ever be allowed to happen again. It's in my opinion clearly corrupt (but I'll settle for "not fit for purpose") and it's an embarrassment to our nation's premier league that we continue to tolerate it.
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  45. The outcry from Saturday has been as predictable, as it has been expected, from certain parts of the media. Suddenly ‘operation stop the ten’ has become a ‘thing’ and the paranoia has been ramped up to Defcon 1, remarkable considering it was already way out of control. https://fourladshadadream.blog/2019/02/05/faux-outrage-only-applies-when-rangers-benefit/
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  46. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all our contributors and listeners and wish them - as well as our all site users - all the very best for 2019.
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  47. It was a pleasure walking into Ibrox today and not having to have my ears and eyes assaulted by the great unwashed. Great decision by the club to reduce their allocation.
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  48. The games keep coming thick and fast and the latest has Hibs visiting Ibrox on Boxing Day with a 3pm KO (UK time). Like the previous game and the one to follow, this sees another hugely important and significant 3 points at stake. After our crucial and notable late comeback at St. Johnstone, it would be typical of this December if we were to drop points in the next match because we don't seem able to do consistency. This game is where that needs to change if we want to harbour any hopes of providing a title challenge. The first half of the season has seen a gruelling but welcome non-stop timetable of games, with 3 International breaks providing some respite for some in the squad. It is now ending with a particularly heavy block of fixtures and it's therefore no surprise to see an extensive injury list going into the final two games of 2018. In short, over the next 2 games Steven Gerrard & Co need to get more out of a squad of bare bones than they previously have from a fuller squad. - Tav is looking tired but gives 100% and still provides creativity. - Central defence has become an issue and just when we seem to settle on a partnership, McAuley gets injured. - The Barisic injury is a huge blow IMO and you now have Boyle and Forrest licking their lips. The midfield and wide areas have taken a real hit. On top of the long term injuries and departures, we have at least question marks over Arfield, Jack, Kent, Rossiter, Grezda and Coulibaly for either injury, poor form or a lack of gametime. It's just as well that we have Morelos and Lafferty up front. Any debate over formation/playing them both may be decided due to lack of midfield options. For all the criticism Alfredo gets regards his discipline, you have to marvel at how over a heavy season and a half at Ibrox he doesn't seem to pick up injuries; the guy is a machine. Steven Gerrard mentioned an adaptable approach and one option is to play Lafferty and being able to switch between a deeper role and one closer to Morelos (only an option if the Ulster Gazelle is fully fit). If Jack is fit then he'll surely start and that may in turn push Halliday back to LB. McGregor Tavernier - Goldson - Worral - Wallace Candeias - McCrorie - Halliday - Middleton Lafferty Morelos Hibs haven't been playing that well of late and we should have taken all 3 points from Easter Road last week. However they often raise their game at Ibrox and I'd expect them to again. Recent history has seen this fixture providing goals (except for last week) and no team with a clear upper hand regards wins. In my opinion, it's one of those games that could go any way, but if we can up our conversion rate then I think we win. Prior to the 2 goals in 25 minutes on Sunday, we'd scored 2 in 550 minutes; hopefully, we have turned a corner. Certainly Lafferty is due a goal. Am I right thinking he's started to celebrate goals in the last three matches, only to be halted by a bad offside decision at Dundee, a great save by the Hibs keeper and a somewhat unfortunate deflection and save at St. Johnstone? I call upon the footballing gods to give big Laff a deserved break!
    13 points
  49. It's Friday morning and I have to admit I'm still basking in the glow of last night's excellent draw in Spain. OK, it might not have been our best ever European performance and we didn't even win the match but the positives are there for all to see. First and foremost, there's character. Some discredited journalists may think our manager is 'quietly terrified' of the Rangers job but I see a man (along with his coaching colleagues) with a huge amount of self-belief and all of whom seem to relish the task. That clearly rubs off on our players who despite two setbacks yesterday kept plugging away to get an unlikely result. Next there's quality. Sure, it's not the best ever Rangers squad and sloppy mistakes are made but even in mid September, the improvement in the team is obvious. We have more depth in the squad, can live with the physical battle and some of our attacking play is a joy to behold when we click. Finally, there's teamwork. The most successful clubs aren't just about one or two individuals but are the sum of all parts. We undoubtedly have a few key players but it's because we're now functioning as a team that we're looking less vulnerable and more dangerous. That's the kind of solid foundation we will need to bring back trophies to Ibrox. Of course we're still far from the finished article and, given our results so far this season, that's paradoxically perhaps a positive. I don't think I've really seen us fully click for 90mins yet and I'm still not sure Gerrard has managed to play his favoured XI or system either. When that happens, we might, just might be capable of challenging properly for the SPFL title. Until then, and with such a busy schedule, we need to keep asking every player to contribute when called upon. The manager was right to point out last night the performance of his subs - all three of whom did the business when they came on. And with another tough match against St Johnstone on Sunday, more fringe players will have the chance to impress this weekend. Given the hot and humid conditions in Villarreal and the effort put in to secure a point, changes to the team are inevitable. I'd expect at least three changes and perhaps as much as five. Joe Worrell had a fine debut but may have to be content with a place on the bench again to allow Katic back into the team. Meanwhile, Borna Barisic went off with what seemed to be a thigh problem so Lee Wallace may well get the chance to start his first game since he went off injured over a year ago at Firhill. I would expect James Tavernier to keep his place at right back - not because Jon Flanagan isn't an able deputy - but because I suspect Eros Grezda may start his first Rangers game on the right flank. As such the influence of Tav behind him may be a good idea. With such an impressive 20mins in Spain, Glenn Middleton may also get the nod ahead of Ryan Kent on the opposite wing. Alfredo Morelos should be a certain starter in attack as he returns from a European suspension. More tricky to predict is the central, deeper players. We're lucky to have several options in there but with injuries to Jack, Ejaria and Rossiter, we're having to rely on players like Arfield, Coulibaly and Halliday. I don't expect that three to play for the third game in a row so Ross McCrorie may add a much needed freshness if Jack or Ejaria don't make it. The return of Graham Dorrans to hopefully full fitness this time will be another great option but he may remain a sub for the time being. All in all, our excellent work in the summer transfer window means we can afford to rotate our squad given the schedule demands of the coming weeks. The big test will be doing that carefully enough as not to disturb momentum and keep delivering results. A draw on Thursday was well received but only three wins domestically over the next week will satisfy Rangers fans before Rapid Vienna visit Ibrox in a fortnight's time. It's a difficult challenge but, so far at least, we appear well up for it. Let's keep riding that wave...! Possible team (4-2-3-1)
    13 points
  50. Ahead of the third Old Firm game in six weeks, it's fair to say you won't find many Rangers fans feeling confident during the build-up. A period of poor form since we allowed a ten-man Celtic team to come back to win at Ibrox, including an utter capitulation at Hampden a fortnight ago means morale is low amongst most bears. Not to mention a lack of faith in a board that don't seem to share our frustration with recent results. With that in mind, stories this week released to the media about new signings, a new manager and a new kit deal may well have managed to divert attention from silent fan protests but PR spin aside, fans remain cynical and I certainly won't envy Rangers supporter attending what could be a title party at Parkhead on Sunday. Without a win in ten games over Celtic, the chances of that awful record changing this weekend have to be minuscule. Don't they? Well, yes, of course but the good news is that, unlike the last two games between the sides, there's no pressure on us this week. We're ten points behind in the Ladbrokes Premiership and haven't beaten Celtic away since October 2010. Surely we've no chance? Certainly the Celtic captain and his players seem to think so and it's difficult to disagree with them. Strangely enough though, in recent years we seem to do a lot better when we're written off. Indeed, twice in the last year we've drawn on the other side of the Clyde and any fair-minded football fan would concede in the last league game there, we should have won. Not to mention we threw away a great chance to do so at Ibrox six weeks ago. Hell, even at Hampden in as bad a performance you'd struggle to remember for any Rangers team, we could and should have scored at least twice - despite being down to ten men. That's not to say Celtic aren't huge favourites. They are and whilst their league form has shown them to be fallible this season, they have more experience than our team and are clearly mentally stronger both on the pitch and in the dugout. However, one would hope that our team and manager are concentrating on the positives this week and several teams (our own included) have shown how to compete. First and foremost we need to be well organised so we can expect a retention of Murty's preferred 4-2-3-1 for Sunday's game. That system isn't perfect but it's one our players are most familiar with so it makes sense to use it again. Yes, we need to be flexible within that but this formation will allow us to press Celtic and it's that tactic that works best against them. Kilmarnock, Hearts and Hibs have shown that to be the case - as have we. Obviously the players within that will be key - especially the midfield. Murty has a variety of options in that area so it's vital he chooses the right ones and has the right blend of energy, strength, mobility and - crucially - a threat as well. To that end, I think it's a given Murphy and Candeias will retain their place in the wider roles and with Celtic perhaps likely to use a back three, their efforts to find space in behind Forrest and Tierney will be just as important as any defensive work they have to do. Centrally, Josh Windass still splits opinion amongst Rangers fans as to his contribution but I suspect he'll start again on Sunday as he's one of few players that has the ability to unlock Celtic's defence. However, he'll need to add a more defensive element of his game - even pressing high up the pitch - to protect the holding players. It would be a surprise if the deeper two weren't Dorrans and Holt - who both did very well against (an albeit poor) Hearts outfit last week. It may well be though that Murty pushes Ross McCrorie back into midfield if Bruno Alves is fit enough to make the team. A partnership of the Portuguese international and Russell Martin won't enthuse our fans but, it may be to our benefit if they sit a bit deeper, as Celtic got a lot of joy playing balls in behind at Hampden. If Murty prefers that outlook then Dorrans may replace Windass in the more offensive role. It's unlikely Docherty, Goss or Halliday will start and this game will come too soon for Ryan Jack who, despite returning to full training, may not feature again this season. James Tavernier and Declan John will also need to do a lot better at full-back whilst it will be interesting to see how Jak Alwnick does in his Old Firm début given the imminent return of Allan McGregor. That leaves the position of striker. Jason Cummings impressed last weekend and made the most of his opportunity with a vital opening goal against Hearts. However, all his faults and foibles aside, Morelos remains our best bet in attack - yes, he's missed at least three glorious opportunities to open his account against Celtic and yes, his temperament can be suspect but his work-rate and ability to link the play under pressure arguably makes him a better option than Cummings. All in all, the likely team below probably won't surprise many Rangers fans (or Brendan Rodgers). However, it's exactly that familiarity that should be our strength. We may still be a few players short of an XI that can genuinely challenge Celtic but we do have enough quality to cause them problems on Sunday. The players just need to believe it and the fans are due a battling performance that we can be proud of. Celtic may well win the league on Sunday but we can still right a few wrongs and lay down a marker for next season. Possible team (4-2-3-1):
    13 points
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