Back in the Big Time

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As you can see above, I’ve guided Rangers back to where they belong, the Scottish Premiership. This post will introduce the philosophy I’m looking to implement at the club so that success at the highest level domestically is achieved and sustained, and also to make sure that the club can become a competitor in European competition again.

Playing the ‘Rangers’ way

As soon as I arrived at the club at the beginning of their season competing in the Scottish League 1, I looked to impose onto the team, a way of playing that could would keep us tight at the back, a danger on the break, and lethal in front of goal. To do this, we play a simple 4-2-3-1 formation.

The Rangers 4-2-3-1
The Rangers 4-2-3-1

A high line is played to force our opposition back and impose ourselves in each game, hence the use of a Sweeper Keeper. Our left full back is set to Attack, as Lee Wallace is a threat going forward and that’s something we can use to our advantage. The players in the Centre Midfield provide us with stability and a platform to build through. The Attacking Midfielder is set to get forward as much as possible and provide support to the Lone Striker. I like our Right Winger to provide out and out width and get crosses in. The Left sided Inside Forward provides dangerous movement, allowed Wallace to attack on the outside, whilst he gets inside and plays the ball forward.

Youth + Experience

Ultimately, I’d like to bring players through the youth system, and compliment these with young players brought in from abroad at a young age to fully integrate them into the ‘Rangers’ way.

That’s in the future though, right now, there are players at the club that underline the ethos of the ‘Rangers’ way. Examples of the younger players that have performed at a high level in my time at the club so far are:

  • Barrie McKay – with the preferred move to cut inside, Barrie is the prime example of a player I’d like to slot into the side on the Left Inside Forward. His performance has been consistently good over my 2 full seasons at the club so far. While not always a first choice due to my rotation policy, he’s scored 14 goals and has laid on 10 assists over 2 seasons.
  • Ross Perry – the rock at the back in the spine of our team that has only conceded 42 league goals over the past 2 seasons, albeit against lower quality teams. I plan to keep him at the club for a long time.
  • Fraser Aird – arguably the player of my time at the club so far. In the Right Winger slot, he’s laid on 19 assists and scored a prolific 27 goals so far for me. He’s improved each year, and at just 20 years old, he will be a big player in not only the clubs future, but the national team too I’m sure.

The following are examples are of my more experienced players. I look upon these guys to consistently perform and provide stability and guidance to some of the younger players. It’s often said that you shouldn’t be sentimental in this game, but these three players will be at the club for as long as I can keep them.

  • Cammy Bell – the last line of defence. 48 clean sheets in 87 games over the course of 2 seasons is pretty phenomenal against whoever you are playing against. His experience is vital.
  • Lee Wallace – the attacking full back. Wallace is a constant outlet and always looking for the ball on the overlap. Vice-captain and his influence on the squad is huge.
  • Lee McCulloch – ‘Jiggy’ is our captain and has pretty much propelled us to the Premiership himself. He’s been mainly playing in the striker role and scored 42 goals during my time there. I’m looking for him to be at the club long after his playing career has finished.

‘Rangers’ Men

Having ‘Rangers’ men on the field is one thing, but I want the entire club to be filled with people who love this club and want to help it succeed at the highest level possible. Andy Goram trains our keepers, Stephen Dobbie is our under 19’s manager, Bob Malcolm is on the scouting staff and club legend, Barry Ferguson is a coach. Looking at their skills, they may not be the best in their respective fields. That isn’t the point. They love the club, and they’ll do their utmost to be at their best.

This strategy extends onto the playing staff also. Although there is certain criteria in this respect, they must either be a) good enough in my opinion or b) better than a current option in the squad. John Fleck and Tom Hateley are both Rangers supporters, and love the club.

The Future

As well as a ‘Rangers’ contingent throughout the squad, this club needs to be Scottish inclined and it needs to be sustainable. As I said, I’ll be looking to bring through youth players, I’ll be looking to integrate younger foreign players into the youth squads and I’ll be looking to mainly give the squad a Scottish feel.

Sustainability is huge. Rangers need to be a stable club at the top level. If I can, I’ll be looking to make free, or cheap signings, to train them or give them game time, and then sell these players on for a reasonable profit.

This is what has happened, and these are the plans going forward. Please let me know your thoughts by either commenting or tweeting me at @FM_Samo

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