Written by Andy
Today we will have a look at the status our the current squad and a few team needs that I feel have still to be filled.
So as I type here is the Rangers squad as it stands
Goalkeepers : Cammy Bell, Scott Gallagher
Left Backs : Lee Wallace
Right Backs : Anestis Argyriou, Darren Cole
Centre Backs : Carlos Bocanegra, Dorin Goian,Emilson Cribari, Sebastien Faure, Ross Perry, Chris Hegarty, Luca Gasparotto, Kyle McAusland
Defensive Mids : Ian Black, Arnold Peralta
Centre Mids : Lewis MacLoed, Nicky Law, Kyle Hutton
Attacking Mids : Dean Shiels, Robbie Crawford
Wingers : David Templeton, Barrie McKay, Fraser Aird, Andrew Mitchell
Forwards : Nicky Clark, Andrew Little, Lee McCulloch, Jon Daly, Kane Hemmings, Kal Naismith
First Team Squad Size : 30
GK (2) DEF (11) MID (11) ATT (6)
I’m very happy with our new number one in Cammy Bell and feel he will be a great addition to the team. It looks like Neil Alexander will be leaving for pastures new hence the reason I haven’t included him as his contract with us is just about up. As backup we have Scott Gallagher who got experience on loan at Cowdenbeath a few years ago. In terms of youth we have several young keepers in Alan Smith and Liam Kelly along with the highly rated Blair Currie so this is a department we look ok in with a good balance of quality.
We have for me the best Scottish left back on our books in Lee Wallace who has impressed hugely since the move from Hearts. His excellent fitness last season has given us great reassurance Lee can be counted on to play most if not all of our competitive matches next season. We still haven’t officially got a backup, its rumoured a two year deal has been agreed for former left back Stevie Smith. Personally I’d have liked a youth prospect within the club being taken under Wallace’s wing as his backup but if Smith is on very low wages then its a solid enough backup but his injury history has to be kept in mind, he isn’t the player he was when he first broke into the Rangers side.
This for me is a very strong team need as we don’t have a right back at the club I’d consider to have any real quality. Argyriou started ok but isn’t very good in a defensive basis and Darren Cole has had massive injury problems. Cole’s impressive showing against Bursaspor was 3 years ago and he hasn’t shown anything since that time but injuries. With his contract up and Argyriou with another year it remains to be seen what happens with the right back position. Tom Hateley for me would be the ideal candidate as I spoke about a few weeks back, you also have Jordan MacMillan on a free transfer who is a good young player I know many fans would welcome back.
This is our biggest need in the squad we need to drastically build in this area to have any chance of future success. An ideal thing to happen here is get a young quality player alongside an experienced defender. My ideal situation is let Cribari and Perry go as both are very weak defenders with styles don’t suit the game up here. When Bocanegra and Goian come back from loan both have to be let go as the wages both players are on is far too much for SFL 2. I like Faure at centre back and not right back or midfield where McCoist played him and we also have Luca Gasparotto who is a quality young prospect. Hegarty is a good solid backup and McAusland is another good young prospect. I’d have Gasparotto and Faure challenging for one place of centre back but we need to sign 2 decent centre backs for me. Christophe Berra and Marius Zaliukas have been linked to the club and while I think both are very solid defenders I don’t want us paying silly money to get them, I’d personally prefer Berra from the two dependent on wage demands. I mentioned Jean-Yves M’voto of Oldham and formerly of PSG & Sunderland a few weeks back, only 24 and out of contract who would be a fantastic signing for us.
Not really the type of players I’d like to have in a Rangers squad in SFL 2 but we have plenty options in this department with the new signing of Honduras international Arnold Peralta. Ian Black failed to impress us in his debut season but I was encouraged with his last 5 or 6 games of the season as he seemed to play with a bit of confidence. Black still has a lot to prove though and now has competition in Peralta. Again I understand the need to have a midfield player that does the part of the job that doesn’t look easy on the eye but what I don’t want to see is these two players in the same team as that should not be happening against any team in Scotland nevermind SFL 2 sides.
In Lewis MacLoed we have one of the most gifted young players to come through our youth in a number of years and I hope he stays injury free and we build the team around him. Nicky Law for me is a great signing and it will be interesting to see how its going to work in the midfield as we seem to have a lot of number in this area now. Kyle Hutton for me is too inconsistent to be a Rangers player and I question his attitude at times so who knows what is in his future. I see we also have Scott Arfield on trial with the club a player I personally don’t rate as he has declined from his early Falkirk form and I know he is only 24 but I’d rather we waited until January and then go out and buy Craig Sibbald of Falkirk who is a much better football player than Arfield. If we bring another centre mid in I would hope its going to mean Hutton is departing as I can’t see him getting in ahead of MacLoed and Law.
Dean Shiels started the season well but fell away dramatically towards the end of the season. He is very chalk and cheese and will need to be more consistent for me to earn his hopefully not high wage. Robbie Crawford is a star young player and one I’ve admired since his performances in the youths. He was played in several positions, in fact three different positions in one particular match last season and McCoist cannot continue to do this to Crawford as he is a quality young player. We have a good balance here for now and it doesn’t need much doing for the moment.
We have some good balance in this position with our established winger Templeton and 3 youngsters McKay, Aird & Mitchell. Temps had a very good season and he will only get better in our side so no problems there. McKay has a lot of talent and is still so young and if he be carefully managed as he was last season to overcome a hip problem he has had for a few years then he could develop into a top player. Aird didn’t get as many chances as McKay did but he did impress me in a few outings and again another player so young with plenty time to keep working hard and get even better. I know Mitchell was played at right back and did a decent job in a few games but he is naturally a right winger and has excellent pace. I’m in two minds with this position on one hand I feel we could do with an out and out winger with pace like a Chris Humphrey who we missed out when he signed for Preston last week but on the other hand if we have Temps on one side and the other 3 battling for the other spot that could create good competition and help the young players battling it out develop even better. I hope McCoist doesn’t end up playing Andy Little on the wing which is not only unbeneficial for Little as he is clearly not a winger and better through the middle but also unbeneficial for our 3 young wingers.
We have a bit more variety in our strikers than we had last season that’s for sure. Andy Little was the main man last season and shone through the middle and I for one would like to see him pair up with goal machine Nicky Clark one of our new signings who for me is going to be the next Nacho Novo he has that kind of aura about him. Jon Daly and Lee McCulloch give you the target man option but the problem for me is neither player is very mobile, I know both can play centre back also but lets face it they can’t play it particularly well both are only effective in that position due to their strength and aerial ability. McCoist could end up going for the old school style of big one and little one up front and choose between the 4 strikers. We also have Hemmings and Naismith as our young backups but for me I’d lose both players and get Lyle Taylor of Falkirk in who is out of contract in a few weeks. That way we have 5 strikers all of which could genuinely contend for a place as opposed to having a couple of players in Hemmings and Naismith getting paid every week to train and not get game time. I don’t see the players potentially getting much better hence the reason I’d let them go.