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Are our pre season results a reflection of Walter's past or Ally's present?


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After two successive defeats in pre season, Alistair McCoist has had to endure by himself the first small experience of pressure since his succession of Walter Smith in the managerial hot seat. The outgoing manager made clear the simple task awaiting all those who occupy that lonely position where the buck stops, stating simply that as Rangers manager ââ?¬Ë?youââ?¬â?¢ve got to win all the timeââ?¬â?¢.

 

Ranking third in the club�s table of appearances, and first in the goal scoring charts, the new manager is undoubtedly familiar with this simple demand of life at Scotland�s most successful club. For the first time, however, the full weight and complexity of this concise imperative rests squarely and solely on his shoulders.

 

On the more rational continent, pre-season is about fitness and experimentation. This is the primary concern of the manager who was at pains to point out that the team is not yet two weeks into training and was keen to maintain a sense of perspective. In his first outing against German Fourth Division side Sportfreunde Lotte the manager made seven changes at half time, including the introduction of youngsters McMillan, Hutton, Fleck and Hemmings.

 

While going on to lose the match, the manager could take positives from the full 90 minutes played by the returning Broadfoot and the movement and power of youngster Hemmings. However, in his second outing against Bochum, the defensive frailties of a team more closely resembling that which secured Rangers� third title in a row were exposed as the team was beaten convincingly.

 

ââ?¬Å?Obviously Iââ?¬â?¢m disappointed by the result and particularly disappointed at the standard of goal we lostââ?¬Â he said. After a disappointing opening 45 minutes of the second game, the visitors created little in the way of chances. McCoistââ?¬â?¢s only real attacking option was to introduce John Fleck up front, pushing Steven Naismith out wide. This did little to reverse Rangers attacking fortunes, and as the match progressed the increased home pressure forced the concession of three soft goals.

 

The media focus, and the managerââ?¬â?¢s response to it, has centred on the need for new players to offer depth and competition in these positions. McCoist is unlikely to acquiesce to the reactionary narrative that these results are significant reflection of troubled early days, but he may be quietly pleased that his need for new players remains in the spotlight. McCoist, however, remains confident ââ?¬â?? ââ?¬Ë?We will get what is required. Itââ?¬â?¢s blatantly obvious we need to get players in, but we arenââ?¬â?¢t going to start panickingââ?¬â?¢

 

As might be expected, McCoistââ?¬â?¢s calm is not shared by all. The view from the forum is typically less restrained. On one hand, those wary of the lack of signings and perturbed by the results are sharing the mediaââ?¬â?¢s focus on the squadââ?¬â?¢s inadequacy, and are seeing an ominous future reflected in the pre season present. Some have questioned the playerââ?¬â?¢s commitment, and are worrying if Allyââ?¬â?¢s ââ?¬Ë?previous persona of being a ââ?¬Ë?good guyââ?¬â?¢ and jokerââ?¬â?¢ has undermined their will to win.

 

Others are keen to point out that wielding any sort of big stick two weeks into pre-season training would be reactionary and disproportionate for a side who such a short time ago showed an iron will against considerable odds to win the league for the third time in a row. They share McCoist�s view that the only thing reflected in our early performances is growing fitness and the widely acknowledged need for new players.

 

McCoist sensibly will not worry overly much about the results, and the complexity of transfer interaction will continue to frustrate both him and the fans ââ?¬â?? no doubt with increasing theatricality as the opening game and European deadlines loom. However, as the fans concentrate on the necessary drama of transfer activity, and are divided along lines drawn up by the media, it is possible that the opening games reflect a more subtle and general problem than has previously been discussed. A problem whose very obviousness has obscured it from view. .

 

In the virtues of his long apprenticeship and the inheritance of a small talented squad of those used to playing and winning together McCoist has a solid core of both experience and resources on which to build. However, this sort of solidity affords little flexibility. McCoist does not have the luxury of the revolutionary fervour of regime change and the freedom to experiment that this brings. The same fans who show their consternation at any loss, as Walter Smith predicted, are similarly worried that Ally does not seem to have changed from the defensive formation favoured by the previous manager.

 

The large shadow, small squad and pathological demand for success given McCoist on his appointment afford little scope for him to impose himself on his squad comprehensively. Both the situation and personnel the new manager has inherited has made a story of small, steady and incremental change his only option. For McCoist to impose himself as he must he will necessarily have to make changes, and in doing so to contradict his mentor and the players who played, above all, for him.

 

The real problem facing Ally McCoist appears not to be the inevitable signing of players or the often irrational demands of pre-season results. His will be judged on how he sparks life into the robust, efficient and successful engine of which he is the grateful beneficiary. And how well he provides the spark that was previously lit by the benefactor. With the fever of revolution in the corridors of power at Ibrox, and a new optimism and expectation in the wider support and community, Ally McCoist faces the rather more sombre task of making the squad which is his inheritance truly his.

 

He will be all too aware that this isnââ?¬â?¢t something that comes in flowing football pre-season, or even imagination capturing signings. These things, like fitness and match practice, all form part of a task that is harder to define, report on and worry about ââ?¬â?? he has to make a side used to winning all the time, win for him. On leaving Walter Smith warned that ââ?¬Ë?all that matters is that you create an environment that wins matchesââ?¬â?¢, and what we see reflected perhaps more than anything in these opening matches is the new managerââ?¬â?¢s realisation that while ââ?¬Ë?you need a lot of help to do that but, as managerââ?¬â?¢ he is now the man ââ?¬Ë?at the helm of it allââ?¬â?¢. McCoist points to the future and the first the first game of the season as the only true indicator, while the fans and the media are left to dissect the present according to their own fears and hopes.

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I am not totally worried yet but the fitness part of the equation is wearing off. A fit athlete does not lose much fitness in 6-8 weeks and all these teams we are playing have also had a summer break. I am not the first to cry it but we really need to strengthen the defence. Broadfoot and Weir are just far too slow.

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Totally agree regarding the defence. I think the fitness thing is largely just that people are out for a kick about that improves levels. They're not out to be overly competitive at this stage. Broadfoot and Weir is a nightmare defence, but I reckon Ally knows this better than anyone. We have Boughie hopefully, and any other signing - or better yet, couple of signings would turn these games into primarily a chance-creation problem. To be honest I'm still most worried about midfield, as I'm fairly sure defence will be sorted as a priority.

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I am not totally worried yet but the fitness part of the equation is wearing off. A fit athlete does not lose much fitness in 6-8 weeks and all these teams we are playing have also had a summer break. I am not the first to cry it but we really need to strengthen the defence. Broadfoot and Weir are just far too slow.

 

We are only two weeks into preseason,so I'm not too worried

 

"Bochum weren't a bad team and it was their sixth game. These aren't excuses, they are facts.

 

Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3689487/Id-have-LOVED-chance-to-Jel-with-Nik.html#ixzz1RqIsrwip

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Totally agree regarding the defence. I think the fitness thing is largely just that people are out for a kick about that improves levels. They're not out to be overly competitive at this stage. Broadfoot and Weir is a nightmare defence, but I reckon Ally knows this better than anyone. We have Boughie hopefully, and any other signing - or better yet, couple of signings would turn these games into primarily a chance-creation problem. To be honest I'm still most worried about midfield, as I'm fairly sure defence will be sorted as a priority.

 

I don't have so much trouble with the midfield as we do have more options there but if Davis Edu and Naismith have to play in a defensive harness as Walter played them for most of the season then we are in trouble. They are simply not defensive minded players.

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Put a brave face on it all you like but the season starts in 12 days and the squad looks nowhere near ready for the new campaign. There's still time but not a lot of it and the prospect of Weir and Broadfoot in central defense is increasingly looking like a dreadful possibility.

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To be honest I'm still most worried about midfield, as I'm fairly sure defence will be sorted as a priority.

 

The defence must be the priority, but I'm slightly worried about the midfield myself. We've got another option for the wings with the new guy Ortiz, but I think a lot of people understate just how important a role young Vladimir Weiss played last season. I constantly see people saying how inconsistant he was, but his 5 goals and 9 assists in the SPL last season played an important part in us winning the league. I'm not saying he was more important than the other players, but he was undoubtedly an inspirational and creative part of our team who rubbed off on others and he's yet to be replaced. I'm actually doubtful at this point that we'll be able to bring in someone as influential as Weiss this summer and that's only one worry.

 

Another worry is that McCulloch who I don't even rate very highly is 33 and is here for another 2 seasons. He's actually said that he'd like to play for us until he's 36/37 and finish his career here at that age. Give us a break Jig! It's not a fucking retirement home. Then again... Davie is still here, so maybe it is.

 

At one point last season I think we actually had McCulloch, Edu and Ness all out injured at the same time and luckily we JUST managed to get through that spell, but we had Diouf and Weiss to help us through it. We also had Bartley and Foster on loan and the combination of all those loan players combined with some young guys coming in here and there helped us scrape through the injury problems.

 

Basically, I definitely agree that we need more depth in midfield because if we don't bring in 2 or 3 quality midfield players we're going to end up struggling for players again and perhaps even more so than last season when we weren't even puting out a full bench at times.

Edited by Zappa
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My only concern with Ally is with not having any managerial experience and with McDowell and Durrant his backroom team not having any managerial experience, i would have liked an experienced No2 to have come in beside Ally and who has home and european experience. Ally last season looked lost at times and Walter came down from the stands to make changes etc.

I fear if Ally dosn't get it right from the off it will come back to haunt him, i hope i am wrong.

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