The question that is on everyone’s mind. What will it take for the Glasgow Rangers to be back where they belong this year; at the summit of Scottish football?
Assessing the opening three games of the season there is certain trends that may play a major factor this season in both positive and negative ways.
The positives – adaptability. We’ve seen the Light Blues adapt well during the opening three games this season. That credit may lie solely with two men. Mark Warburton and his introduction of Harry Forrester to proceedings. A common trend this season in that the Bears have not moved the ball quickly enough in the midfield; many times opting for the sideways pass with little off the ball movement to compliment it. Forrester is different and is willing to take the game to the opposition when needed most and is beginning to prove that he should be one of the first names on the team sheet each week.
Adding to the previous point. Warburton is noticing when errors are made and a change in tactics or personnel is needed. It is easier said that done especially when you are under massive pressure to deliver success as that what is the case at the Rangers. The fans expect and deserve success.
Another positive is the midfield prowess of Joey Barton and Jordan Rossiter. The pair are class acts – class with the ball at their feet and excellent off the ball. It goes without saying Barton will be grooming Rossiter for a long career with the Bears and hopefully my fellow Scouse native can be a mainstay in the Rangers midfield for many years to come.
The negatives – Two very simple negatives for the Rangers fans to see. Movement at times in the midfield hasn’t been the best especially off the ball running. However the most obvious negative has been the central defence. It’s obvious to most that Warburton needs to strengthen at the back with the Joleon Lescott deal falling through (unfortunately in my own eyes) it looks like Phillipe Senderos will be brought in to fill the gap. Is Senderos the man to fit the bill? Each to their own!
What do Rangers need this year to win the league? After analysing the first three games I feel these points will all have to fall into place in order for the Light Blues to bring home number 55 to Ibrox.
1) An in form Kenny Miller – Not the easiest of things to bank on as Miller reaches the twilight of his career. An Indian Summer to that career wouldn’t go a miss this season.
2) Joe Garner – Hopefully a long term addition to the Rangers front line. Highly rated at Preston North End, lets see what he can do in the SPL.
3) Clearing up mistakes at the back – A new centre half wouldn’t go a miss to eliminate the mistakes that have been seen on more than one occasion already this season.
4) Barry McKay and Martyn Waghorn – Both will maintain and improve on their already expected high standards of last season. If they do Rangers will have a serious presence in the final third of the park.
5) Strength in depth. The excellent Rangers youth system will have to play its part. Injuries to occur and the Bears will need adequate and quality replacements if the likes of Barton or Lee Wallace pick up knocks.
There are probably many other reasons that you can think of that could be the telling factor on whether or not Rangers will get number 55 this year. I feel if these five points fall into place then we could be looking at number 55 and European football at the very worst.