01 November 2012

No Tricks and No Treats for the Light Blues

by Robbie Devine | CRO Contributor

The ghost of Rangers past was out to scare the living daylights out of this new side as former captain Terry Butcher guided Inverness Caley Thistle to a convincing League Cup win at the Brox on Halloween night.

On a day when Lord Hodge in Edinburgh oversaw the beginning of the liquidation process of the company which previously ran the Club, the Bears who shuffled out of the stadium later that evening must have wondered if they would ever witness the glory days which were so common when Butcher skippered the Light Blues back in the late eighties.

The road back to the top of the Scottish game will be a long one indeed for the Gers and, based on the evidence of our form so far this season, the bumps along the way may well be too much for Ally McCoist to overcome.

Losing to an SPL side should not be a surprise for fans of the Third Division leaders but it was the manner of the defeat which should concern the Ibrox faithful the most.

At half time few could have foreseen the Highlanders romping so comfortably as they did in the second half as McCoist’s men were outfought and outthought so effortlessly.

Sure, there is no disgrace for this cobbled together Rangers side to capitulate in the manner they did against a team three divisions in front of them but yet again the ineffectiveness of several players was highlighted and not for the first time.

Take for example Ian Black. Snapped up in the summer after Hearts failed to offer him in a new contract, which was hardly surprising when you consider the Gorgie club are on the brink of administration too, Black opted to make the move to Govan knowing full well he would be plying his trade in the lower reaches of the Scottish Football League for at least one year.

This bold decision was well received by the bluenoses and his no-nonsense, gritty style of play and ability to make defence splitting passes were expected to make him a real asset to the Gers but Black has been a major let down.

He displays no leadership, no willingness to grab a game by the scruff of the neck. Instead his major contribution has been assisting the profits of stationary makers as countless referees have been forced to take his name thanks to his amassing of unnecessary cautions.

His frustrations at not stamping his authority on games in the proper manner have also resulted in a couple of needless episodes where he has also engaged in some shouting matches with his own fans. Regardless of the circumstances and what was said, it doesn’t reflect very well on him.

For some Gers supporters the sight of Terry Butcher in the away dug out was a reminder of the days when the club could rely on solid, dependable centre-halves. Ross Perry and Emilson Cribari seem to be lacking such attributes in abundance, as last night showed.

Why Ally McCoist took the decision to recruit the likes of Cribari, Anestis Aryriou and Sebastian Faure when it would probably be wiser to look around the Scottish game for guys with a decent level of experience of playing in the Scottish League is something which also puzzles many Bears. I think it is fair to say that, for the most part, their performances to date have done little to justify their signings.

The lack of creativity and vision continues to be evident and it’s frankly embarrassing for Gers fans to point to the absence of David Templeton when the likes of Wallace, Shiels, Hutton and, to a lesser extent, McCulloch all possess far better qualities than they are currently showing.

Ally McCoist is not stupid. He is fully aware that the performance of his teams have been, in the main, lacklustre but whether he really will be the man who will be tasked with leading this great club back to the top of the Scottish game will continue to be questioned whilst his side fails to impress on a regular basis.

More horror shows like Wednesday night and the debate about the Rangers manager’s match day attire will be seen as a minor issue compared to the one about his overall managerial abilities. It’s about time he started supplying some answers.

Robbie is a new signing at the CRO, having written for all sorts of publications we generally delight in ripping the pish out of. He can be reached via email at rdevine@thecoplandroad.org