written by – Jamie Currie
This weekend’s fixture against Hearts at Tynecastle is one of paramount importance. Despite only being November, this match is firmly posted in the must-win category. It’s been indicative of the relatively poor displays in the past two-and-a-half years. Losing is simply not an option on Saturday afternoon or promotion back to the top flight, if it doesn’t already, will seem a million miles away.
The performance against Alloa last time out was up there with the worst performances of Ally McCoist’s tenure as manager – in fact it was worse than the Stirling Albion & Peterhead draws at Ibrox in the Third Division.
After these performances we always get the sound bites from the players and the clichés from Ally about how good a team the opposition is (Alloa in this case) & how he will be looking for a big reaction from his players. Sadly, this is all too familiar.
Kenny Miller on his appearance on Goals on Sunday said it was Durrant who was giving the players a bollocking for their sub-standard performance. If Durrant was the man giving it to the players, what exactly was the manager doing?
To go nine points behind this Hearts side would be catastrophic. A Hearts side who are still unbeaten thus far, who also have a managerial rookie in charge but in their defence they seem to have done very well rebuilding their club, with a good spine of youngsters & a good few experienced pros thrown in to help their development. The biggest difference between them & this Rangers side is that they seem to have a tactical plan, and they follow it to the letter.
That aside, because it’s been done to death over the period – & there is no need to go over it again & again. The record in big games for McCoist & this Rangers side is not good reading. Since the demotion, Rangers have had wins against Motherwell & Inverness at Ibrox; meanwhile losing to Dundee United at Tannadice, Caley Thistle at home, & of course Dundee United again in the Scottish Cup semi-final last season, & home defeats to Hearts and Hibs thus far – both games in which we were outplayed & outfought & deserved to lose them in all honesty.
It’s important McCoist gets the players fired up & ready for this battle. His team selection will be of the utmost importance, maybe the most important of his reign to date. Unfortunately, we will see the same team that started on Saturday, probably with Lee Wallace coming in for David Templeton. Yet, Nicky Clark should be starting ahead of goal-shy Kris Boyd. It will be an ultra-cautious typical McCoist tactical set-up.
For his sake and the club’s sake, he better hope it works out & that he & his players leave Tynecastle with three points.
If it doesn’t & Rangers are beaten – I think, the fans, will be calling for his head, and the board may be forced to act come Monday morning, as Mike Ashley & co will not be wanting to stay in the Championship for another season.
Winning may not be the be all & end all for McCoist, but it may well be in the grand scheme of things.
Jamie Currie’s writing has featured on many different sites, including GiveMeSport & The Huffington Post. This is hopefully the first of many for Rangers Report. You can follow Jamie on Twitter @jamiecurrie89 & read more of his work over at his own site.