Written by – Nathan Campbell
Here is my first eleven for this coming season at Rangers and thoughts on them, along with thoughts on some of the players that I have left out.
Goalkeeper – Cammy Bell
After his first season in goal for Rangers I thought he did very well and should be proud of himself. I think he will continue to progress as a top goalkeeper for Rangers and maybe challenge for a consistent stay in the national squad too. His reaction saves are fantastic but still nothing like Allan McGregor or Stefan Klos. Steve Simonsen was a decent back up to have but Bell is a much better goalkeeper. Scott Gallacher will likely be relied upon as the reserve goalie.
Defenders – Richard Foster, Lee McCulloch, Darren McGregor & Lee Wallace
Richard Foster – He had a below par season with very few top performances but he still has a bit of quality about him when the team is doing well he’s doing well. But if we are having a bad game he becomes a liability. I don’t see any other right backs that can challenge his place unless Kyle McAusland can prove to Ally McCoist he is the man to cement a position at right back. (editor’s note: the reviews from Ayr United were pretty mixed on McAusland’s time there).
Lee McCulloch & Darren McGregor – I chose Jig for his experience and for his penalty success rate & the fact that he can score goals with out them being penalties. This could become a decent partnership as it is said that McGregor has a bit of pace about him for a centre back and that is a much needed attribute we need in the centre of defence as last season we got caught out far too much with Bilel Mohsni running forward and leaving McCulloch at the back with no one to protect him. I’d much rather we had a much more solid centre back partnership where there is no attack minded forward going defender like Mohsni.
Lee Wallace – Well, I think this man is simply an exceptional player. The best left back in Scotland in my opinion and maybe among the five best British left backs? He is Mr.Reliable – always fantastic at his defensive duties & over lapping the left winger. His contribution to the team is fantastic. He really has learned his trade with us and just keeps getting better. With Nottingham Forest rumoured to be linked with him back in January for £1 million bid & now with Fulham being linked to him this summer I still think this season that he will prove to be one of Rangers most important players.
Midfield- Fraser Aird, Lewis MacLeod, Nicky Law & David Templeton
Fraser Aird – One of the most improved players last season as he kept evolving his game from strength to strength. He needs to learn some more techniques as a accomplished winger like beating a defender & improving his crossing but that will come by getting game time and learning from the other side of the pitch (David Templeton ). Aird will hopefully have another successful season as a Rangers player, as I really like the look of his future and I hope to see him become an excellent Rangers winger.
Nicky Law & Lewis MacLeod – This should be our centre midfield for next season. MacLeod is an amazing talent and it was such a shame to lose him at the end of the season with a serious condition. Thankfully he has fully recovered from a terrible scare as he has something truly special about him. Nicky Law had a fantastic start to his Rangers career but after Christmas his form seemed to dip but I’m sure he can still prove me wrong and perform to his peak as we all know he can. If this partnership can get on and work well, we’re in for a good season that’s for sure.
David Templeton – He had a hot and cold season in my opinion. But he will always be my favourite winger at the club as him & Lee Wallace on the same wing is always a joy to watch. He has a great cross on him & a superb shot on him.
Strikers- Kris Boyd & Kenny Miller
Kris Boyd & Kenny Miller – This was one of the most threatening strike forces back in the days of the SPL. Can they recreate the glory they once had together up front for Rangers? We all hope so, as few would doubt that they are fantastic strikers. Kris Boyd looks to be back to his best after a terrible time in England with Middlesbrough & Nottingham Forest then another terrible time at Eskisehirspor in Turkey where he only played 75 minutes. Luckily for him he got back to Scotland with Kilmarnock after a season with MLS club Portland Timbers. Now he looks fully focused on the task ahead – can he add to the 102 goals he currently holds with Rangers? We can only hope.
There are some concerns with Kenny Miller and his fitness but time will only tell. Hopefully he can still be able to chip in with a couple of goals. No matter what – it is fantastic to see the duo back at Ibrox.
Some other players we should still expect to see
Sebastian Faure – Decent at centre back at times but he still has lot of learning to do in Scotland
Bilel Mohsni – A liability at the back & he has got to stop being a hot head. Also need to not be too attack minded when he is partnered up with Lee McCulloch at the back. I would like to see him up front as that is his preferred role.
Calum Gallagher – Fantastic prospect & a goal on his professional debut was fantastic to see from the young man. He has an exciting future ahead of him.
Jon Daly – Good poacher but lacks in consistent form & looked burned out near the end of last season.
Stevie Smith – Good left back, with a fantastic free kick on him. He proved last year that he is good enough to call upon if Lee Wallace needs a rest or is injured.
Ian Black – A proper, stuck in midfielder who loves to get in to players faces. Sometimes lacks that bit of quality in the big matches and often ends up a liability when he is on a yellow card as it takes away from his aggressive play.
Dean Shiels – Good player to have when you are not having the best of games & you can bring Dean on to change the game up.
So there we have it…if I have missed out any players then I don’t think they will be able to add that much to the current crop of players currently mentioned.
Enjoy the pre-season! We Are The People!
You can follow Nathan Campbell on Twitter @Nath_WATP & read his views on all things football at his blog – NC’s Football Blog.