Date: 2nd May 2008 at 1:49pm
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Somebody somewhere at Ibrox really does deserve an unbelievable amount of credit for what Rangers have been able to achieve this season with the group of players that they have.

Winning a domestic treble is still a possibility which is a bad enough reflection on their opposition in Scotland this season (I personally think it would be bad for our game if it happened), but for Rangers to also now be in their first major European final since 1972 perhaps tells us something that isn’t immediately apparent when you watch them in action. Surely they can’t be THAT bad if they’ve managed to do all of this in the same year?

Or can they? Perhaps the person who comes out of this with the most credit is one of the Ibrox tea ladies who went to see an African Witch Doctor during her summer holidays last year, and somehow ended up getting a magic spell put upon her club that permitted them to sweep away everything before them! Far-fetched? Yes, but then so would the notion of this side being in the UEFA Cup Final just a few months ago.

It’s very easy (and tempting!) to just dismiss this run as a ‘flash in the pan’, and that luck has simply been on Rangers’ side for much longer than is normal. Certainly from the games I’ve seen (the ones I’ve been able to stay awake through that is!), they have had more than their fair share of breaks, but experience surely tells us that you need more than just a rub of the green to progress so far in so many different competitions? You can’t just dismiss it all by saying ‘ah they were just lucky’ when it gets to this stage in the season.

The people to take credit for where Rangers are at the moment would most obviously have to be their management team. If their playing squad is somewhat lacking in the talent that Walter Smith had at his disposal the last time he was in charge of this club (and when his assistant McCoist was still a player there), you can clearly see some of the other qualities that they had back then shining through at the moment. Their sheer will-to-win and ‘die for the jersey’-type mentality is surely to be admired, even if the football that’s ultimately on display is anything but entertaining.

It’s often said that football teams must ‘play to their strengths’ if they are to be successful, and this is exactly what Smith and McCoist have their team doing. They don’t have the dazzling abilities of Gascoigne or Laudrup, or even a player who could lace their boots to be perfectly honest, but what they do have is a group of honest, hard-working journeyman players (with a couple of decent footballers e.g. Ferguson) who’ll put a shift in and then some.

In some ways actually, it’s perhaps a bit reminiscent of the Hearts squad from 1986 – that was also a side that had no major stars in it (some did go onto become excellent players right enough) but one that was able to gel perfectly into a true ‘team’ that were a match for anyone in the country. They generally played a very direct style of football and were extremely uncompromising, which didn’t make them very popular with the purists but they got the results, and we are always hearing from those in the business that it’s very much a ‘results-orientated’ one aren’t we? That is what truly counts.

Once again it hammers home to us, as Hearts fans, the true value of having a sound management team. It shows that you can still achieve great things without having the best players in the world and that those in charge of calling the shots with regards to tactics and man-management truly are the most important people at a football club. If these guys are doing their jobs well, then everything else at the club should look after itself. Fair enough, people might start slating your style of football or your ‘negative’ tactics, but I’d bet that the vast majority of Jambos would trade our current position now with where Rangers are if it meant watching the sort of football they’d been playing every week during the past season. People want to come and see good football being played, but that generally comes second to paying to watching your team winning, whether the purists like it or not.

There’s definitely another clear lesson here if Mr Romanov wishes to open his eyes to the situation any time soon, or perhaps evens appearing to care…….

PS I wonder if Rangers’ season will end up the same way at Hearts’ did in ’86………..!

 

19 Replies to “What Is It About Rangers?”

  • they are a unit, work there socks of for each other, also have probably 1 of the best defensive partnerships in britain, they never give up, and can score from any position on the park. the lists go on and on, and we carry a weee bit of luck haha

  • Prior to this European run, I always thought that their previous “best team” was the one that progressed to the semi (?) of the Champ League – albeit in a slightly different format. If I recall correctly, this group contained the likes of Scott Nisbet !! (I have a funny story about Nisbet and Souness – not sure if it’s true but I certainly hope so). This team is perhaps to be compared to Greece winning Euro 2004 – not the greatest game but at the end of the day you can’t take away the achievement. Let’s face it – we’d all love the JTs to win pretty much anything playing “anit-football”!

  • Can’t agree that the team with Nisbet in it was their previous best. They got further in the competition yes, but there were fewer teams in it that year and again they were quite an average outfit. They’ve had stronger teams since but their performances in Europe were always quite poor, possibly due to the fact that the teams they played in the Champs League back then were a lot better than anyone they’ve faced recently.

  • Sorry – didn’t explain myself. By “best team” I meant that they were more of a unit with a spirit of togetherness rather than being individually more talented than later teams. The whole being more than the sum of it’s parts etc etc.

  • Out of the 8 games that Rangers had to play in the knock-out round. They won only 2 of them, scoring 5 goals and still progressing to the final. That gives an average of 0.6 goals per game. Technically, according to the stats on Uefa they are the worst team in History to reach a Uefa Cup Final. Compare that with Celtic who managed 26 goals on their Uefa Cup campaign. Even if you take out the Suduva team whom they beat 8-1 and 2-0. That’s still 16 goals. Celtic also won 8 games. It just shows you how poorly the Uefa cup has deteriorated when a team who has scored 5 goals and won 2 games can get to the final. BTW i am only using Celtic as an example as i know their scores and results. But it does give you a picture…

  • R.K come on ure always going on about celtic we all know what foot you kick with m8 why would i ever expect you to give credit wheres its due concerning rangers

  • But be realistic. Do you actually think that playing ‘Anti Football’ and getting to a final by wining 2 games is a credible achievement. If so, fair enough. Well done, my highest congratulations. However, my football club has different principles.

  • WHYS IT ANTI FOOTBALL SOME JERK OF A FOREIGN MANAGER SAYS SO THEN SHEEEP LIKE YOU FOLLOW SUIT WHAT YOUD RATHER SCORE A BARROW LOAD OF GOALS AND BE OUT LOL YEAH OK M8 I BELIEVE YOU THOUSANDS WOULDNT

  • IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN SAID NOT TO LOSE HOME GOALS RANGERS DO THAT AND GET SLATED FOR IT DOUBLE STANDARDS ME THINKS

  • Awk bless, did you get your breath back yet. If you have, please completely re-write the second comment. Except this time, write with coherency. That would be much appreciated. I’m sorry did you get knocked out of the CL at the group stages this year again?

  • It has always been said to put the ball in the back of the net. The main objective of a game of football. How many times did you manage that?

  • read it again you tosser its plain enough dont you dare try and educate me , who cares were through to a uefa cup final wher are u lot nowhere and if you moan about rangers style of play you have an off switch havnt you

  • Indeed…..I just had chocolate flavoured St Luca’s ice cream for dinner tonight by the way…surprisingly nice….

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