07 October 2012

Ally's Five-Step RFC Rehab Program

by Andy McGowan | CRO Contributor

Yet another weekend, yet another crisis.

Rangers seem to lurch from one to another on the park at the moment. Last week I asked which Rangers would turn up in Stirling: Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde?

Yet again we seen the worst of Rangers rear it’s ugly head which for many was the final nail in the coffin for Ally McCoist.

Ally has managed just three wins from seven in the league, which is the worst start to a campaign in the 3-point era, and he has done so in Scotland’s lowest division. The weekend's result makes for eye watering reading: Stirling Albion are considered to the poorest club in the division, whose manager somehow outwitted ours all the way from his wedding ceremony. Fans anger has really started to boil over and patience and faith in McCoist have been lost in spades.

However there is still a large portion of the support not only backing Ally, but even refusing to criticise him. This, added to his status as a Rangers legend and his actions in leading the club during administration, means that for all intents and purposes Ally McCoist is currently unsackable.

For Charles Green to take the decision that Ally is not the man to take the club forward would bring a backlash still large enough to make our new chief executive uncomfortable in his chair at Ibrox, something he can ill afford with the share issue coming up in a few weeks.

So for now Ally McCoist will remain as Rangers manager, but how does he turn it round? Here are some rather simple suggestions from yours truly:

1. Play the players in their natural position: A bad habit that McCoist has picked up from his time as Walter Smith’s understudy and one of the few things that Walter could be criticised for in his second and unbelievably successful period with the club in the face of constant off-field issues. It is baffling week-in/week-out to see players such as Andy Little played wide right instead of up front, orLee McCulloch moved back into the middle of the park when he now appears much more comfortable and effective spearheading the attack.

The Stirling Albion match saw Anestis Argyriou moved from right back into an attacking right role. Rangers don’t have the luxury of a large squad but we certainly have enough players to fill the correct positions. For whatever the reason make-shift is our plan A at the moment.

2. Get the mentality right: As CRO Favourite Bill McMurdo put it perfectly, “It seems that the playing and coaching staff don’t yet grasp that the only way to treat the lower divisions is to go out to annihilate teams. Neither giving them too much respect nor turning up expecting them to roll over.”

Rangers insist this season on continually playing a negative 4-5-1. The players look uncomfortable and disinterested at the best of times as they launch the ball 40 yards long toward an ungrateful lone striker who inevitably loses the aerial battle with his semi-professional counter-part.

The high ball is an equaliser in the division; it's aiding these clubs far more than it's aiding us. McCoist needs to be more aggressive with his tactics and learn to give these players a rocket as it were and stop playing down the reality that we should be steam rolling these teams on a weekly basis with slick, attacking football.

3. When it’s not working, change it: As I’ve said on several occasions now, the only Plan B Ally seems aware of is the rapper. Too often when things start to go against Rangers we become a sinking ship as Ally doesn’t seem to be bold enough to force the issue, to make the changes when it becomes apparent the initial setup has failed.

It's something all great (or even good) managers must learn at some point, and it’s something McCoist has to learn to do now. I’d much rather see us die on our feet than live on our knees. Fortune favours the bold and right now fortune is certainly not something on Rangers side.

4. Ask for help: It takes a big man to swallow his pride and admit he needs help. As our very own CRO Executive Editor Shane Nicholson pointed out Ally could do with additional coaches willing to challenge his rule. At the moment he seems a man at sea with no one around to offer him a life boat.

I would take Shane’s suggestion one further by suggesting that Ally could be aided enormously by the addition of a Director of Football at Ibrox. After everything that’s gone on it’s easy to forget Ally is a young manager at his first club. An experienced older head to help share the load and take the flak might unburden Ally and perhaps see a positive change on the park. Or maybe he could just ring Walter from time-to-time?

5. Drop the under-performers: One thing Rangers aren’t lacking at the moment is under-performers: Ian Black, Fran Sandaza (pre injury of course), Kevin Kyle, Argyriou, the list goes on.

It seems that there are certain players who are assured of their place no matter what, which is strange to put it politely given that we have players - better players - to step in. Kyle Hutton was again mysteriously dropped for the weekend to bring in Ian Black, who was returning from injury. The question has to be asked, why?

For my money Kyle Hutton is everything we’ve been trying to convince ourselves Ian Black is ever since he scored against Rangers at Ibrox and rumours of his signing surfaced. He has been worse than poor since pulling on a Rangers shirt while Hutton shines during the brief windows of sanity in which he is selected.

And Hutton's case is not an isolated incident: Chris Hegarty hasn’t been seen since a man of the match performance away to Falkirk, and now Barry McKay is being kept out of the starting 11 by a right back. Ally would be doing everyone a favour by playing those who earn it and dropping those who have let us down.

These suggestions in my opinion are very simple solutions, and nothing you won’t hear down the pub, or see on every football forum online. Either our fans are incredibly well informed or it’s the case that McCoist is simply getting the basics wrong.

You have time to address it these issues Ally but unless you get these simple things right as soon as possible that time could be running out.

I feel I can speak for nearly all Rangers fans and say we would love nothing more than you getting it right. No time like the present, Super.

Andy is a regular contributor to the CRO. He can be reached via email at amcgowan@coplandroad.org