written by Robert Gray
I started going to Rangers games in the early ’90s. My first season as a season ticket holder was the four in a row year, 1991/92. In all the years that I’ve been going to games since, yesterday was the first time I’d ever expected us to lose at home against a team like Raith Rovers. The main problem with these players, for me, is a lack of leadership. A lack of desire for someone to step up and take responsibility. We are a rudderless ship bound to smash to pieces on coming into contact with the first rock. Sadly, we hit that rock quite a few weeks ago and now we’re struggling along in a dinghy, throwing buckets of water overboard to stay afloat.
The problem is, every team we come up against now knows this. Raith showed up at Ibrox yesterday knowing we were there for the taking. Leadership should come from the top and our management team is obviously failing at this. But on the pitch, leadership should come first from the captain. Sadly, our captain is a coward. I’ve said this before on the Rangers Report but no player has benefited from our demise more than Lee McCulloch.
There’s a section of our support who still seem to view this guy as some kind of Rangers legend for ‘not walking away’. But think about it. When we went down, McCulloch was a squad player who was already finished. Where could he have gone? The other players who left were in the prime of their careers. Other clubs actually wanted them. McCulloch though would have ended up at a bottom half of the SPL kind of team. A Partick Thistle or a St Mirren and for a pay cut at that. Who else would have been crazy enough to pay him the wages that Rangers would give him? McCulloch is as much of a leech as Ally McCoist and the rest. Sucking every last penny they can out of a club that can barely afford to keep the lights on.
It’s depressing to think that a player who has played the majority of his career as a forward is the most untouchable member of our current squad – at centre half. A position he struggled in against part-timers and now is being exposed weekly against marginally better opposition. Aside from the fact that he is beyond past it, he was never a centre half in the first place. I had hoped bringing in Remie Streete would be the end of McCulloch – but instead, Darren McGregor, probably our best defender this season, gets dropped to accommodate him.
My biggest problem with McCulloch though is his attitude. Last week, we had him cuddling up to Kris Commons at half time having a laugh and a joke. I don’t care if they’re friends off the park but when you’re getting destroyed at half time by Celtic, having a chuckle with one of their players isn’t something Rangers fans want to see. But it wasn’t just that. We were thoroughly outplayed last week but when you want someone to show leadership, our captain instead goes and stamps on one of their players and was lucky not to get sent off. Would he learn his lesson? He would not. Yesterday, he elbowed and stamped on a Raith player in the first half and was lucky to avoid a red. Then, when we were 2-1 down, he cynically took out a Raith player and should have seen a second yellow. This isn’t how the captain of our team should be conducting himself. He needs to be a leader and keep his head. Elbowing and stamping on players doesn’t make him a hard man. It makes him a pathetic coward and it makes him the biggest problem on our team.
You can follow Robert Gray on Twitter @RGray279