A complete rebuilding of Rangers needs to begin with the manager

Ally McCoist, courtesy of Lee Smith (Action Images)

There are so many aspects involved in running a football club, over which management has little control, that I would caution saying “never again”.  That said, it is certainly not rocket science.  If you consistently spend more than you bring in, you’re going to get into trouble.  Whilst I’m in charge, we will not over-spend.

I feel ten  years is too long a timeframe to discuss seriously.  I prefer to work to a 3-5 year rolling time-frame.  Over this period we will see a lot of changes in all aspects of the club.  We will continue to focus on youth development.  

One of our aims is to have the best academy in Scotland.  

We plan to keep re-investing in youth.  Our aim is to sell academy players at the right price and the right time and then to reinvest money back into the academy. We have set a plan in place for the academy, increasing our number of scouts to twenty-four, eighteen of which will be focused on recruiting for the academy.  We are also planning to have four regional centres around Scotland and kids will start training with us from the age of seven.  Our Director of Football will be among those who will implement these changes.

Ann Budge – November 4, 2014 at a Q&A session with Hearts supporters

This is not rocket science, it’s common sense.  Sadly, under the leadership of Ally McCoist, there has been no plan for Rangers beyond winning the next match.  Success in the bottom leagues of Scottish football has not been a daunting task, even though at times it has felt like it.

The case has been made numerous times on this site – Ally McCoist must be forced out of his role as manager.

I no longer feel the need to lay out the fact that he is held in the highest regard – he is.  My biggest thrill in this venture was interviewing him this summer.  But nobody is bigger than my affection for this club.

Ally must go now.

There is no need to go through the case again – the lack of player development, the poor eye for talent, the horrible tactical management of the team, the excuses, forcing young players to look elsewhere to get playing time while the likes of Steven Smith, Nicky Law & Bilel Mohsni clog the lineup,  the wasteful spending (Dean Shiels still collects a pay cheque every week – let that one sink in), & so much more.  But this is only rehashing the obvious that we have gone over before.

McCoist has missed an opportunity to build the club from the ground up.  To lay the foundation for a cost effective, yet successful club.  Instead he prioritizes going undefeated in a league of part-timers while players like Luca Gasparotto, Calum Gallagher, Barrie McKay, & Charlie Telfer are left to watch from a far.

Nearly every big match is met with mind numbing decisions by the manager.  He actually brought on Richard Foster  for Kenny Miller!  When Rangers were down to ten men.  He leaves on the slowest forward known to man & brings Foster in ostensibly as a midfielder – when the likes of Dean Shiels, Fraser Aird, David “Super Sub” Templeton – you know “actual midfielders” – sat on the bench.  Granted Foster seemed to flow from a midfield role to defence – because clearly a fifth defender was needed in a game Rangers were already losing.

Lewis Macleod

Then there was the insulting manner in which the club’s best player was handled in this match.  Lewis Macleod played a poor game against Hearts, there is no doubt.  However, he has been set up to fail by a manager who can now be accused of stifling the youngster’s talent. Macleod is a central midfielder who also plays quite well on the left.  When on the left he brings out the best in Lee Wallace.  But instead Steven Smith plays in that role lately & Macleod is shifted in to a  position,out on the right, where he has shown no comfort in playing.

A manager’s job should be to create the best situations for his players to experience success in order to cultivate confidence.  The hope is that this confidence becomes collective among the team & real momentum develops.  When your best player is put in a situation in which he feels awkward & unsure of himself – well, you get what you deserve.

Robbie Neilson & Ally McCoist

The stark contrast in teams on Saturday was embarrassing for Rangers fans.  Hearts, missing a few key players of their own, struggled for most of the first half – even with the extra man.  But once the halftime whistle blew you had to shudder at the thought of what was going to happen next.  Adjustments were going to be made by both managers.  Robbie Neilson clearly had the advantage of an extra player but he also had the upper hand in the sense that he can clearly develop a plan & get his team to implement it.  Once that reality sank in – it was obvious that it would be Hearts match to win.

Neilson told Hearts Media, “The game hinged on the red card, because at that point Rangers had the upper hand.  It was hard to match their physicality & they were playing with more intensity.”

“Once they went down to ten men, the game opened up & we had more areas to play in.  We just had to bide our time until the chance came.”

In their four matches against Hibs & Rangers – Hearts have won three & drawn one with a +4 goal differential.  Ally McCoist has not faired as well. Rangers have lost all three league games against the Edinburgh clubs, being outscored 7-2 – with Nicky Law getting both goals.

Prior to the match, Barry Anderson of the Edinburgh Evening News spoke to Rangers Report  about the set-up that has been established to manage the league leaders.

Craig Levein seems to be very much overseeing things, from youth level through to first team.  He has Roger Arnott as academy manager & Robbie Neilson as first-team manager.  Levein’s obviously there to offer advice & guidance to both.  He seems to prefer staying in the background at the moment &  the system he has put in place appears to be working well.”

Neilson still has a great deal of control over the direction of the club, even with Levein functioning as the Director of Football.

Anderson explained, “I don’t see a great deal of difference between Neilson’s role & that of a traditional football manager, to be honest.”

“Robbie was doing most of the negotiating when it came to signing players during the summer.  He picks the team and is in charge of training so it seems he is the manager, just with the added support of a director of football should he need it.”

Robbie Neilson, courtesy of HMFC

The contrast between 34-year old Neilson & McCoist provides a model of the direction Rangers need to go in.  Roddy Elliot, who covers Hearts for The Scotsman’s Fanzone, shared the keys to Neilson’s early success.

“He started by clearing out old guard so no dissenting voices then implemented hard work ethic.  Players like Jamie Hamill & Ryan Stevenson would certainly have objected.”

“That new culture is up to three sessions a day.   It’s not all fitness – there is some analysis, tactics & individual time with every player. The key to it all is hard work.”

“Neilson wants his players to be full time professionals – ten til four at work & then at home.”

“The squad have bought into it too.  There is a strong spirit built on that hard work & now success.  Most importantly there is a mutual trust & respect between the players & coach.”

Couple this with the whispers of discontent in Rangers dressing room.  This is a veteran team who is more likely to question the leadership of the club, given their years of experience with other managers.  Sidenote – the average age of the starting lineup on Saturday was 29.  For Hearts, it was 24.  Neilson does not hesitate to trust young players in crucial situations.

Derek Llambias is clearly assuming leadership of Rangers & his next move has to begin with finding a new manager.  Who he chooses is crucial & it cannot be more of the same.  Stuart McCall or Terry Butcher should not be considered.  The club needs to be meticulous in its search for a new boss.  Put in place a caretaker manager, someone like Gordon Durie, & take the time to do a thorough search for a replacement.  Rangers are not in danger of losing a play-off spot, so there is time to get this right.

Learn from Hearts – find a manager who will embrace the development of youth & will embrace progressive methods to find talent.  Among these methods should be to utilize advanced stats/analytics to find players who are affordable but are more valuable then their ticket price.  A source told Rangers Report, “Scottish football is at least ten years behind when it comes to infrastructures & analytics, when people within the Scottish game realise this it will start to evolve and improve.”

Have Hearts embraced advanced stats in order to create a competitive advantage.  Barry Anderson thinks so.

“I’m sure they do because Neilson & Levein are very meticulous in everything they do but I’m afraid I couldn’t say for certain what systems or methods they employ for this.”

Embracing analytics can even the playing field for a team that needs to be smart with its spending.   A rebuild will be needed for this team & luckily there are a large number of players who will see their contracts expire at the end of the season.  Regardless of whether the team is fortunate enough to earn promotion or not – the majority of those players (mostly signed by McCoist) must go.

Steve Simonsen, Darren McGregor, Kyle Hutton, Kenny Miller, Kris Boyd, Steven Smith, Sebastien Faure, Lee McCulloch, Richard Foster, Luca Gasparotto, Kyle McAusland, & Jon Daly are all out of contract.  The message should be that they have the rest of the season to prove their value & worth to the team going forward.  In reality only McGregor & Gasparotto should be automatic re-signings, with Faure & Boyd being given serious considerations as well.

If Mike Ashley wants to see supporters investing their faith & their money into Rangers – it begins by making the change in management.

Ally McCoist will be forgiven by fans in time but the time for change has come.


25 thoughts on “A complete rebuilding of Rangers needs to begin with the manager

  1. Leave Ally to get on with it.
    He is still a young manager learning his trade.
    This is only his second club as manager.
    Give him time…..maybe the next 3-5 years….


  2. Rangers are my team and have no bottle ,no fight,no guts,they think they can turn up and win ? No way is that happening,time to roll up the sleeves and start trying to play football the way I,ts meant to be ,the league is not over by a long way (yet)but it soon will be if they son,t get a grip,so let,s wait and see what happens next?


  3. I agree with the article. You may be right that ‘Rangers are not in danger of losing a play off SPOT’ however, more to the point losing the play off is a real possibility. As I have said here before, there are signs of people cracking under pressure now, can you imagine the weight of expectation should a play off scenario arise?? I’m afraid that many of these imposters would not be able to handle the mental strain of it. Would you be confident playing Hibs home and away??


      1. Lord Nimmo Smith/Glennie/SPL:
        http://tiny.cc/ojiipw – NimmoSmith verdict’s proving Rangers FC continues (JPG)
        http://tiny.cc/832kqw – Lord Nimmo Smith’s report (PDF)
        http://tiny.cc/xn6kqw – SPL CEO Neil Doncaster: “It is an existing club, even though it’s a new company” 1 minute in.
        http://tiny.cc/0ko6xw – Lord Glennie – distinguishing between company and club

        http://tiny.cc/u8akpw – UEFA Rangers “Scottish Cup” squad (Elgin game) updated 8th Dec 2012 (LINK)
        http://tiny.cc/r12kqw – UEFA’s updated Scottish Cup squad (JPG)

        http://tiny.cc/8h832w – SPFL Rangers home page – “Founded 1872” – Full trophy list (LINK)
        http://tiny.cc/pyyzyw – Derek Longmuir, SFL CEO, congratulating Gers on 140 years.

        http://tiny.cc/xn832w – SFA statement – Newco are “the new owners of the Rangers Football Club”
        http://tiny.cc/b1kuyw – SFA Annual Review – RFC “entering liquidation and subsequently accommodated into SFL3”
        http://tiny.cc/qdfjqw – SFA’s Scottish Cup archive: Rangers FC record continuous into 2013. (JPG)
        http://tiny.cc/gt3kqw – SFA Q&A: clarifying status of “Rangers FC” re. Div 3, 4 yrs of accounts, Scottish Cup entry (LINK)
        http://tiny.cc/lu3kqw – SFA statement “full membership has been transferred”. (LINK)

        http://tiny.cc/cryzyw – “the liquidation route does not prejudice the proposed sale of the club. This sale [of Rangers FC] can take place either through a CVA or a liquidation.” (LINK)

        European Clubs Association:
        http://tiny.cc/yw5kqw – “The organisation considers the club’s history to be continuous regardless of the change of company” (LINK)

        Advertising Standards Authority:
        http://tiny.cc/gs832w – Rangers’ most successful club claim is rubber-stamped by the ASA

        BBC – Independent report by Editorial Standards Committee:
        http://tiny.cc/lezzyw – “where.. the BBC had made the distinction between an “old” and “new” Rangers.. club as opposed to the “old” and “new” company, ..due accuracy had not been achieved.”

        Proof of post-liquidation survival precedents:
        http://tiny.cc/5jnqqw – Leeds WERE liquidated/No CVA – KPMG source
        http://tiny.cc/7tpqqw – Arbitration case proving Leeds no CVA
        http://www.theifo.co….llettfinal.pdf – Luton No CVA (IFO)/Bournemouth/Rotherham/Leeds too
        http://judgmental.or….A_Civ_180.html Crystal Palace were also liquidated.
        http://tiny.cc/9xp6xw (PDF) and http://tiny.cc/8cq6xw (JPG) – Portsmouth were also “liquidated” in 2010

        Dermot Desmond:
        http://tiny.cc/vqo6xw – “A fantastic club with great history”


  4. The central argument then is that McCoist should have developed a better strategy for the rebuilding of Rangers”from the ground up”? McCoist is the manager, not a director. Business strategy is not his responsibility.

    Ann Budge has been tremendous for Hearts so far , in the takeover, developing the club’s business strategy and in it’s execution. She is the sole director though and doesn’t have to play the Game of Thrones (c) that is going on at Ibrox.

    Hearts also have Levein to develop football strategy and give Nelson advice if he needs it.

    McCoist is not blameless. Tactically he has been too defensive and has not given youth a chance, but he trains with the players and sees a lot more of them to make the decision on them playing or not.

    Rangers needed a strong leader to emerge to develop a plan for the club longer than the one season that they intended to be there. It looks as if that could happen now with Ashley/Llambias. McCoist should be given a chance to implement their plan.


  5. How can McCoist rebuild and start again when for the past three and a half years there’s been board members either committing fraud, only in it for the money they could syphon off and an owner who steals the PAYE money, he can’t under these circumstances can he, you dickheads.


    1. You are the dickhead ….who in their right mind takes off a forward and puts on a defender when you are trailing 1-0 and the bench is full of attacking players,

      There was a great chance to rebuild our club based on youth and I for one would take another year in the Championship if I felt it made us stronger and better prepared. We would have enjoyed seeing youth develop despite some defeats.

      Whatever you say Ally was paid 800,000 pounds ….maybe now 400,000 to get 11 players on the pitch and his wage bill is 3 times that of Hearts. Boardroom problems or not he should be able to do that ?


  6. I agree that Ally must go , but only because he has been shown up as not up to it tactically and does not bring the best out of his players .The players in this squad may not win the Premiership but should be comfortable at that level and yet they are struggling .People being played out of position , long balls smashed up the park (even Daly does not want that kind of pass) and an outdated 4-4-2 that no-one plays anymore.There is no comparison with Hearts as they were relegated with all their young players having had a year in the premiership.We were left with very few of our youngsters at the time of the liquidation , guys like Ness , Fleck and McCabe who would have been ready to step in,left, leaving us really young guys .I do think the McKay , Gasparotto and Gallagher should all be back and playing in January.One thing though your whole article loses credence when you say Faure is worthy of consideration for a new contract .He is awful and along with guys like Hutton Peralta and Shiels , who never play , should be shunted as soon as possible .


  7. By now we should have a young, consistent and exciting football team. So what if they stall in one of the lower divisions for an extra season or even 2. By the time they get back to the premier league they would be ready to perform well in it. The current team will not perform well in it, may not even get promoted.
    We are a disjointed team with no pace or imagination , the buck stops at the manager, his entire footballing strategy has not worked.
    The dwindling home crowds are only partially down to fans unrest with the board, the fact is that the poor performances are driving us away in droves.


  8. I remember Pat Nevin saying on a Television programme before Rangers started the season in the 3rd. Division. “Rangers have a fantastic opportunity to develop a squad of younger players, he said that when he was playing you could around about 24 or 25 years old before you had established yourself in the first team. Rangers will have all these young players coming up through the divisions & by the time they are back in the Premier League they will have a strong established squad of players all around 21 years old. I am really excited about this as it will hopefully show other managers a different way to progress & more young players will get their chance.” It is a pity McCoist was watching Emmerdale Farm that night. Would not be in this position, player wise, if Murray had backed Paul Lequen, (who was trying to bring young players into the team) & binned Ferguson, McGregor & Hutton.


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