08 October 2012

The Rangers Standard (Not that one)

by Andy McKellar | CRO Deputy Editor

Rangers Football Club is a proud institution with an illustrious history which is unparalleled across world football. We have won more titles and trophies than any other club on the planet and it certainly isn't by coincidence that we have sat proudly at the top of our national game for the majority of its existence.

Our start in life may have been the humblest of beginnings but soon after the skill, grit and winning mentality of our teams was to draw crowds bigger than anyone else in the country to witness the making of history. This was perhaps epitomised by our dominance under the watchful eye of Mr Struth, the man who is probably most credited for the installation and upkeep of what I refer to as The Rangers Standard.

Rangers players had to conduct themselves impeccably and dress in a manner befitting the Club they were representing. The story has it that Struth would watch from his Ibrox office and would make players re-walk the entire length of the street should they be caught making their way to the stadium with their hands in their pockets or other such minor indiscretions. It may seem somewhat silly now but such little things were key components in the creation of the high standards and expectations placed upon anyone connected with Rangers FC.

Needless to say that the same standards had to be displayed on the field of play by those wearing the famous light blue jersey as well. Our players had to work harder, run faster and play better than anyone else who stood in their path. Second best was never acceptable and such an attitude helped to shape the future successes and accomplishments of our proud Club.

Saturday, in contrast, saw one of the worst results in Rangers' history as the lowest placed team in senior football recorded a memorable victory over their famous opponents. It was yet another away match where we failed to record a win but that was not the most concerning issue of the day.

In his post-match interview Ally McCoist spoke of the responsibility placed on his players and of course himself. He stated however that he was not embarrassed by the result but instead merely disappointed at the loss to Stirling Albion. Well I'm sorry, Ally, but the vast majority of your supporters are embarrassed by what they were forced to endure yesterday afternoon.

In their wealthy and comfortable surroundings and lifestyles it is perhaps easy for our players and staff to lose sight of the lengths our fans go to in order to support our Club. Our fans have offered tremendous backing to Rangers FC this season but have been short-changed by those whose wages we are paying.

I know fans who have to rise at 6am and similar unearthly hours to travel over from Northern Ireland and up from England just to see those boys in blue. Supporters make a huge financial sacrifice to support their Club and perhaps it is about time our players realised this.

McCulloch admitted yesterday that Stirling Albion had worked much harder than Rangers and they are only the latest name on an ever increasing list. If we can be outrun and outfought by an opposition who only train part-time then something is badly wrong either in our training or our application, possibly both.

Can you imagine John Greig or Jock Wallace tolerating such a lack of effort or fight? Would Walter Smith have allowed such a problem to have continued for so long? What would Mr Struth say if he had witnessed yesterday's embarrassment? I hasten to think.

There is obviously a lot of negativity around at the moment, particularly after the weekend’s result at the Forthbank Stadium. Questions are being asked of our players and our management team and rightly so.

People should not look on the criticism as a personal attack on a club legend like Ally McCoist for that is simply not the case. He was a terrific player for Rangers and steered us through one of the darkest periods in our history last season, but that does not mean that he is a great manager, nor does it mean that he is immune from questioning.

I sincerely hope that McCoist can follow the pattern of his playing days at Ibrox and win over our faithful supporters. Three wins out of seven in the Third Division though is certainly not good enough in my eyes and I suspect very few other managers would have been afforded the leeway that Ally has received thus far.

McCoist cannot change what has happened in recent weeks and alter the disappointing results away from Ibrox. He can however make amends for a rather poor start to this campaign by instilling some fight into his players and get them playing again.

Second has never been acceptable at Rangers Football Club and if we are to restore ourselves to the top of Scottish football then vast improvements are required. I sincerely hope that Ally is the man to make them but he will know only too well that a failure to improve will lead to only one conclusion. Should it come to that stage Ally will appreciate this more than most though - Nobody is bigger than the Club.

Andy is the newly minted Deputy Editor of the CRO. He can be reached via Twitter at @AMCKEL and by email: amckel@coplandroad.org