07 August 2014

Championship preview: A long season ahead

by Alex Oliver | Contributor

I planned to write a really optimistic preview of the forthcoming season, but Tuesday night's slog and eventual victory against the club club has somewhat altered that. There are still glimmers of optimism - or so I’d like to think.

It would appear we have a very long season ahead and my real fear is our manager's tactical ineptness will succumb to the more tactically astute managers in the Championship. 

Conversely, our players are still the most able in the league, and should have enough to just about see us through.

Ally seems intent on playing a 3-5-2, 5-3-2 - whatever you want to call it, having played it in numerous pre-season outings and again against Hibs on Tuesday night - before electing for a 4-4-2 following club club’s equaliser. This change brought about the introduction of David Templeton.

Templeton changed the game when brought on - I’ll give Ally credit for that. If Ally persists with the god-awful 3-5-2, we will have to get used to Temps having sporadic appearances from the bench. If, however, Ally can see that 3-5-2 / 5-3-2 is not the formation best suited to the team - we will see Templeton feature more regularly as a starter on the wing.

This is the season I believe we will see the best of the winger, I hope his injuries are behind him and he can kick on - showing us all what he is capable of. My stand out memories of Templeton are actually of him in the maroon of Hearts, ripping Steven Whittaker to shreds, time and time again. I hope he can replicate this in the royal blue against the maroon this season!

If McCoist chooses to go with him, Templeton can really make the difference between a successful season and a not so successful season.

The games the season will be won and lost on are most likely to be against Hearts and Hibs. The bookmakers have us as front-runners, with the Edinburgh clubs toiling miles away in second and third place respectively - hopefully the gap is as big as Mr Ladbrokes et al. make it out to be!

The season opener is against Hearts on Sunday, this gives Ally and his squad the perfect opportunity to mark their intent - and show the Ibrox faithful exactly how good they really are; and how far ahead they are of their title rivals.

Of course the league is the priority, but we really must be challenging for one of the cups - and no I do not mean the prestigious ‘Petrofac Training Cup’. This time last year, Charles Green mentioned that Rangers must win a cup, out with the league - given the strength of our squad then I don’t think that was entirely unfair and given this summer's editions, it is an absolute requirement.

There is increasing criticism surrounding Ally’s management of the club - this season will make him or break him. Let us hope he can prove the vast majority of us wrong and show that Ally McCoist is a good football manager, goddamn it!

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Keep it civil, lads.