As word spread earlier this week former Rangers stars Steven Naismith, Kyle Lafferty and Steven Whittaker were to be released early from their contracts at Norwich City, the Gers online fan base went into meltdown.
The question was asked – should Pedro Caixinha make an attempt to resign the controversial trio? For me it’s simple – let’s not take steps back. It’s time to start moving forward again.
I’ll make things clear – I’m in no way against a return for Naismith and the likes but it wouldn’t be right for the club nor the individuals. Caixinha technically has a ‘freebie’ until next season as it’s pretty evident he’ll struggle to work with cards he’s been dealt at Ibrox for the time being. He’s already been open about a major shake-up in the playing department and bringing back former players wouldn’t mark the dawning of a new era under the Portuguese.
Having walked away from Rangers in 2012 at our lowest ebb, Naismith and Lafferty have now made it clear they’d been open to a return to Ibrox given the opportunity. Such news has split the Light Blue legions, and this is partly the reason they shouldn’t return. It’s ok to remember the good times when Rangers were picking up trophies under Walter Smith, left, right and centre, with a transfer budget we can only dream about today. However that was then and things are very different in Govan nowadays.
We have to be real and honest about next season. Pedro Caixinha has to construct a full new squad expected to hit the ground running and challenge a Celtic team who haven’t lost a single domestic game this season; the task is enormous. Throw in the level of expectation at the ‘Gers and you’ve got a squad and manager under pressure before a ball been kicked. Adding the controversial Lafferty or/and Naismith to that mix is a risk too far for Caixinha, in the same sense as Barton under Warburton. It could be extremely costly. The first sign of things going wrong, the returning players would be made scapegoats.
This season has been as brutal on the eye as any I can remember, and the past two weeks epitomise how bad it’s actually been. There’s no doubt in my mind that Naismith is better than what we have, especially up front, but there’s quality out there who can do the job expected, if not better, Graham Dorrans if you may.
The days of Auchinhowie being a holiday camp came to a close when the likes of Kris Boyd, Steven Smith and Richard Foster couldn’t get a result against Raith Rovers in the Petrofac Cup Final. It should be no different for Naismith and Co.
Ask yourself this, have any of the players (Steven Davis aside) held down a place in another team since leaving Rangers? Absolutely not. It’s no wonder they want back – they had it too good!
Rangers have to look forward and not back. Risky transfers and another failed recruitment drive are not an option. We’ve sat back and witnessed how costly bad recruitment can be under Mark Warburton, and we shouldn’t make the same mistake again.
It’s time to move forward and stop regressing.