30 March 2013

Champions, but the champagne seems flat

by Robbie Devine | Guest Contributor

And so the first hurdle has been overcome, but has any championship win been greeted with less fanfare?

The mood amongst Bears traipsing out of Montrose on Saturday was a mixed bag of frustration, anger and a collective sense of acceptance of supporting one of the worst sides in the clubs history.

Three hours later though a defeat for Queens Park meant the Third Division was secured and to be fair it is only correct to congratulate Ally McCoist, his backroom staff and the squad of players on their success.

It is difficult though to pinpoint any major highs on Rangers road to the title win. Victories were achieved with more grit than anything else and perhaps what will be remembered in years to come will be the losses at Stirling and at home to Annan.

On the park only Lee Wallace, Lee McCulloch, Andy Little and David Templeton can come out with real credit whilst the emergence of Lewis Macleod and to a lesser extent Barrie Mackay and Robbie Crawford have been positives.

Of course it is strange to criticise a man who has just led a side to a title but for a large proportion of the fan base this season has been a missed opportunity.

Yes ultimately the main objective of 2012-13 was to win the championship, especially when you remember that it was less than a year ago that there were real fears Rangers FC would ever play a football match again, but the manner it was done has been far from pleasing on the eye.

With a squad of full-time professionals working at the best training complex in the country Ally McCoist has had at his disposal the tools to create the template of a team that should have produced a fast flowing, passing style of football that would have easily dismantled their part-time opponents.

Unfortunately that has not been the case, watching Rangers this season has been a struggle and whilst fingers must be pointed at underachieving players it falls on Ally to get the best out of them and he has failed to do so.

Its concerning that questions continue to be raised about his tactics such as playing players out of their best position and sending sides out with just one lone striker.

And there his track record in the transfer market which can be described as patchy to say the least.

Only Bocanegra, Wallace, Aluko and Templeton can be considered as good acquisitions, there have been far too many poor signings which raises questions about his trust in the scouting abilities of the now estranged Neil Murray.

It hurts Rangers supporters to find faults with Ally, he is a living legend and the way he has handled himself during the turmoil of the Craig Whyte fiasco, administration, liquidation and the rebirth of the blues has to be admired.

But in the opinion of this scribe sadly he is not the man to take the team forward.

However I’m confident he will be offered the opportunity of rebuilding the squad this summer with the likes of Jon Daly and Nicky Law likely to be part of a team challenged with winning the Second Division. 

No doubt this year Ally will have learned a lot about himself, his assistants and the players so the hope is that next year if the team are to have taken another step toward the top of the Scottish game it will be celebrated with more gusto than the muted response that has greeted this Third Division win.