01 July 2013

New season, new optimism

by Jamie Currie | Guest Contributor 

With the new season just around the corner and the squad back in pre-season training, I can't help feel optimistic about 'Stage Two' of the journey back to the pinnacle - where we belong. Then again I'm a glass half-full kind of guy.

Season past admittedly for most of the support it was rather new to us; in the bottom tier, new away days, breaking the monotony of the usual run-of-the-mill SPL season after season stuff, a fresh start and a chance to rebuild from the bottom up and reshape the club.

In all honesty like many I personally feel that ship has sailed. Many of the players younger and the more experienced guys' attitudes were unacceptable and the levels of performances were to be kind (bar the one League Cup tie against Motherwell at Ibrox) embarrassing for a Rangers team. Without doubt the fans were the real stars of last season breaking all sorts of attendance records and being as loyal as ever, for my money it's a credit to every one of us.

Anyway, back to this summer we have had all sorts of new changes. New strips from Puma, Walter Smith as the new chairman of the board, a new fitness coach and even a new swanky team bus. 

Seven new signings so far; Nicky Clark from QoTS, Nicky Law from Motherwell, Jon Daly from Dundee United, Cammy Bell from Kilmarnock, Stevie Smith & Ricky Foster being brought back and of course Arnold Peralta who is currently on international duty at the Gold Cup with Honduras.

We've had four first-team departures in Neil Alexander, Kane Hemmings and the two centre halves Carlos Bocanegra and Dorin Goian leaving on free transfers.

Despite all that's being made of our spending, from the football side I'm fairly happy with the recruit in this off season. Most of them will walk into the starting XI and improve it straight away, also with the signing of the two midfielders Law and Peralta it makes you wonder what the plans are for under-performers Ian Black and Kyle Hutton. I fully expect Lewis Macleod to kick on from his Young Player of the Year performance of last season which put the formerly mentioned Black and Hutton to shame quite frankly.

Nicky Clark is another who I'm looking forward to seeing pull on the shirt next season, after his 40-odd goals last season for QotS will be interesting to see if he can replicate such a scoring feat in our blue and of course how Ally McCoist will utilise him.

 "That was the first thing he said when he got us all together for the first meeting on the first day. He wants us a lot fitter and said we were going to work really hard in pre-season and throughout the season. 

"But from the first day of training the balls were out and there was an emphasis on getting it down and playing with a tempo. You can see that with the signings and there were a lot of good attacking players already here as well.

"So the emphasis is going to be on attack and we will be fit, strong and ready for the first game when it comes. It will be high pressing and we’ll be working hard and harassing teams high up the pitch.

"That’s how we are going to try and play and we will stick to that philosophy home or away."

The above quotes from the official site is an interview with Nicky Law, which somewhat interested me. The style of play is something that appeals to me and the fact he said McCoist wants to see the team a lot fitter, which says to me for all Super Ally's failings if you want to call them that, he's seen a problem and wants to rectify it.

With all that being said I do think winning SPFL2 and the Ramsden's Cup, with two quarter-final appearances in both national cup competitions, isn’t too optimistic and I'm for this group of players. The hard work starts on the 27th July away to Albion Rovers in the Ramsden's Cup first round and I hope Ally and the team are ready.

I know I am.