lunes, 30 de mayo de 2011

Need to buy and retain is sum total of Ally McCoist task

Ally McCoist today begins what is likely to prove the most important campaign he will ever face in football management. Having returned to Glasgow from a short break, the new Rangers manager must show he is ready and able to take over the reins from Walter Smith.
Like anyone starting out in football management, his first season at the helm could make or break him. Enjoy a successful campaign and it could be the beginning of a highly successful career in the dugout... fail to do the business and he might never recover.

Immediate priorities

McCoist will have to sit down with new owner Craig Whyte and ascertain exactly what the budget is for the forthcoming season. It has been suggested the new manager could be provided with as much as £10m this summer to revamp his playing squad ahead of the new season and he’ll need to need to trash out the financial perameters he’ll be working within.
That, of course, will also dictate how strong a hand McCoist has to play when it comes to agreeing new deals with existing members of his playing squad entering the final year of their current contracts.
Midfielder Steven Davis is a player Rangers are desperate to keep. The same goes for Steven Whittaker, while youngster Greg Wylde is another who’ll become a free agent this time next year if an agreement can’t be reached. Goalkeeper Allan McGregor, who still has two years of his deal still to run, has also intimated he’ll be happy to sign a new, improved contract.

Defensive dilemmas

Much of McCoist’s defensive plans could centre on whether he convinces Madjid Bougherra to pen a new deal. He is another who is entering the final year of his contract and has hinted he will see that out before moving on a Bosman next summer.
That is something the Ibrox club will have to avoid and unless they can agree a new deal with the Algerian stopper, McCoist might be forced to cut his losses on the best defender at the club for the sake of the £2m they could bank for his services.
Then there is the issue over David Weir’s future. At 41, there is no doubt his best years are behind him, but he once again played a remarkable amount of first-team games and the captain’s experience might be vital with more comings and goings expected than in previous years.
Having suggested he might be tempted to keep going, McCoist will have to make a final decision after weighing up the pros and cons of offering Weir another year.
And he will also have to make a call on whether it is a wise move to table a cash offer to Aberdeen to Richard Foster. The full-back performed well and provided cover for a number of positions during his loan spell last season.

Up for grabs

Having taken over from Walter Smith, McCoist will have different opinions on certain players within the Ibrox squad. That is likely to mean one or two of the current squad could be moved on to make room for new arrivals.
James Beattie, who failed to make any kind of impact at Ibrox last season before being shipped off to Blackpool on loan for the second half of the campaign is, as things stand, set to return to Murray Park for the beginning of pre-season training next month.
McCoist is unlikely to see him as a viable option to lead the line next season and therefore will attempt to move him on in a cut-price deal as there are likely to be English Championship clubs willing to take a chance on him.
Maurice Edu has also been linked with a move to Turkey and, after a difficult campaign, in which he found himself coming in for stick from the club’s own supporters, selling the American internationalist might be an option.

New faces

The scouting department at Ibrox have been virtually redundant in recent years with no money to spend on new faces, but that is about to change.
McCoist knows he has to prove himself in the transfer market and show he has a good eye for a player. He has recruited John Brown and Neil Murray to head the scouting department, and his former team-mates have been all over Europe in search of talent.
There is also the option of trying to re-sign some of the players who arrived on loan last season such as Kyle Bartley, Vladimir Weiss, El-Hadji Diouf and David Healy. Bartley would be a decent short-term signing as he performed well and there is a need for defensive options.
The others, though, would either cost too much or did not feature enough to merit a return. However, there is no mistaking that McCoist needs to recruit.
A new defender, possibly two, are required. He could also do with another option to play out wide and still needs someone to partner Nikica Jelavic in attack.
Kyle Lafferty finished the campaign well, but there are spells when he doesn’t contribute enough and that is why another attacker is a must. It would take at least three of four new signings to get Rangers to a level McCoist would be happy with ahead of his first season at the helm.


(18 in total) Allan McGregor, Neil Alexander, Steven Whittaker, Kirk Broadfoot, Madjid Bougherra, Darren Cole, Sasa Papac, Steven Davis, Kyle Hutton, Lee McCulloch, Maurice Edu, Steven Naismith, Jamie Ness, Gregg Wylde, James Beattie, John Fleck, Kyle Lafferty, Nikica Jelavic

viernes, 27 de mayo de 2011

Rangers sign Manchester City twins

The Rangers youth department today confirmed that Norwegian twin brothers Tom and Kim Skogsrud will join the club subject to the completion of necessary paperwork. The 18-year-old defenders will move to Glasgow from Manchester City and have clinched two-year deals. "We shall be playing primarily with the under-19s this year," Tom Skogsrud told Oslo-based newspaper Nettavisen.
"We hope to train with the first team and possibly sit on the bench for the first team during the season."Both will join the under-19 squad for pre-season training at Murray Park in July but until then they will train with former club Skeid who play in Norway's Second Division.
Central defender Kim and left-back Tom joined City in 2008 after succesful trials as 15-year-olds.The pair went on to feature regularly for City's under-18 side and are looking forward to a new challenge in Scotland.  Meanwhile, several Reserve and under-19 players have now been released by Rangers, this includes Andrew Shinnie, Stephen Stirling, Archie Campbell, Wayne Drummond, Cristiano Kisuka and Steven Hetherington.

miércoles, 25 de mayo de 2011

Rumours: Kenny Miller, John Mensah, Tomer Hemed and Jason Puncheon for Rangers?

Kenny Miller has refused to rule out another stint playing for Rangers, saying he was effectively forced out of Ibrox in January. Miller, who moved to Turkish club Bursaspor following the end of his second spell with the reigning SPL champions, has endured a “tough” few months with his new club, as they failed to regain their domestic league title.
The Scotland international, who also had a season with Celtic as he flitted between England and Scotland over several seasons, hasn’t been subject to speculation of a third stint with Ally McCoist’s team. But Miller, who finished the 2010/11 season as the SPL's top scorer despite his mid-season departure, admits he would be tempted to return now Rangers are under new ownership. “Things can change in football and if opportunities arise you have to look at them,” Miller said in the Scottish Sun. “I said that for the last year and a half at Rangers. You never know what's around the corner. “I was placed in a position in January where I only had one option - and that was to go.
“If something popped up out of the woodwork then you have to look at it. There is no point in dwelling on anything when there is no decision to be made. As things stand I have two years left at Bursaspor. "Obviously you hear about things being said back home. I don't think it will happen, although you never know. I loved my two and a half years at Rangers in my second spell. “The last day of the Turkish season was on the same day as Rangers' last league game at Kilmarnock and within five minutes of kick-off it was all over. “All I was thinking about then was what the party was going to be like. It was another medal and it meant so much to the club. You do miss it. I wouldn't be human if I didn't feel that. “I do miss being there, but at the time I felt I had no choice but to go.”
Miller’s arrival in Turkey was intended to hand Bursaspor the necessary lift to win their second consecutive league title but, despite five goals from the striker, the Green Crocodiles fell well short and will only play Europa League football next term, entering at the third qualifying round. As well as seeing his team suffer the disappointment of a third placed finish, Miller has had to contend with adjusting to life in a new country and says he has found it hard to settle. “It's been a tough three months for me across there but I'm happy with the way things have gone and I've managed to get a few goals,” he said. “It's been difficult to be fair. There has been a lot of time away from the family, it's a different style of football and it's a different mentality so it has taken a bit to adapt. “The adrenaline gets you through the first three or four weeks and you can run off that. But, when you realise just how different it is, it's been difficult at times.”

John Mensah claims he is a summer target for new Rangers boss Ally McCoist. The experienced defender has just finished a controversial second loan spell at Sunderland and is due to return to Lyon this summer. Mensah, who would cost around £1 million, is attracting interest from Greece but is tempted by a possible move to Scotland and a crack at the Champions League.
"It is true that Rangers have expressed interest in John, but we are looking at other offers and taking into consideration the price tag before making a move," Fabien Piveteau, the player's agent, revealed. "We have to sit with John's former club-Lyon for a better deal for both parties, for now, we are just considering some factors before taking the next plan of action.“  The 28-year-old had an injury-hit time at the Stadium of Light and also made unwanted headlines when he was involved in a dressing room bust-up with Nedhum Onuoha after a defeat against Wolves earlier this month.
That saw Sunderland boss Steve Bruce decide not to take up the option to buy Mensah.  Rangers are currently looking to add to their central defensive options with captain Davie Weir still to agree an extension and Madjid Bougherra entering the final year of his deal.
Rangers hope to kick-start their transfer activity when McCoist returns from America later this week. Out-of-contract Scotland star James McFadden is on his radar, along with Blackpool winger Jason Puncheon and the Dundee United pairing of Craig Conway and David Goodwillie. McCoist also hopes to try and thrash out a deal to keep on-loan Aberdeen defender Ricky Foster and would be keen to take fellow defender Kyle Bartley back from Arsenal.

Rangers are eyeing a move for £2.5 million-rated Southampton winger Jason Puncheon. The 24-year-old has been on the Ibrox radar for weeks and several scouting missions have been made to see him in action while on loan at Blackpool.
Contact has been made with Puncheon’s agent to see if he would consider a switch to the SPL, with Newcastle, Everton and Bolton all thought to be interested. Agent Tony Finnegan said: “Rangers have confirmed their interest. I have had a phone call from somebody in the new set-up asking me about Jason’s situation. Contact has been made with Puncheon’s agent to see if he would consider a switch to the SPL, with Newcastle, Everton and Bolton all thought to be interested”.
Agent Tony Finnegan said: “Rangers have confirmed their interest. I have had a phone call from somebody in the new set-up asking me about Jason’s situation. “The person I spoke to said he knew Jason is playing in the English Premier League but would he be interested in a possible move to Rangers.“I spoke to Jason and then went back to them and told them he would be. Who wouldn’t be interested in a move to a club like Rangers?”  Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley, linked with Rangers, was today expected to sign a three-year deal at West Brom.

Israeli striker Tomer Hemed could be Ally McCoist’s first signing of the summer. The 24-year-old is available on a Bosman having decided to end his time at Maccabi Haifa. Gers scout John Brown has been impressed with the forward after twice running the rule over him in recent weeks.  McCoist could now swoop to add the striker to his attacking ranks for the new campaign. Maccabi president Jacob Shachar said: “We know Tomer is going to leave. He has an offer abroad. We have made him an offer to stay, but I don’t think he will.” Meanwhile, Kenyan internationalist Victor Wanyama has also been linked with a move to the Scottish champions. The 19-year-old, the brother of Inter Milan star McDonald Mariga, is in Belgium with Germinal Beerschot and has been watched by Hannover and Newcastle.

lunes, 23 de mayo de 2011

Simply the Hero: Kyle Lafferty

When the going got tough Kyle Lafferty reckons Celtic were nowhere to be see this season. After helping himself to a Helicopter Sunday hat-trick the Ibrox striker accused Neil Lennon's side of choking as Rangers hit full throttle during the title run-in.
Lafferty rubbed salt in the Hoops' wounds after scoring a sensational Treble against Kilmarnock as Rangers clinched a third consecutive SPL crown. "You're just not good enough" - a play on Celtic's new anthem - screamed the banner in the Rangers end at Rugby Park. And Lafferty was of the same opinion after watching Davie Weir hoist aloft the league trophy.
The Northern Ireland international believes Celtic failed because they simply couldn't match the desire that burns within his own squad. He said: "I think we have been the better team over the course of the season." Even when we weren't playing well we still picked up points. That is one thing Celtic can't do. I think when the going gets tough that's when they fail. "We have the heart and the desire in the team to win games when we're not playing pretty football."
Lafferty also tossed into touch suggestions from Lennon that other teams have given Rangers an easy ride this term. He said: "We can only play who we are up against whether they want to try or not”. "Personally, I think every single team wants to beat Rangers and Celtic so they can have a say in who wins the title. "It's disrespectful to other teams to say they are not trying."
For the third season in a row Lafferty burst to life when the chips were down and when it mattered most. The Ulsterman scored on the last day two seasons ago when Rangers clinched the title and he bagged the goal that secured two in a row at Hibs 12 months ago.

Lafferty was at it again yesterday, netting twice inside the first seven minutes and then crowning his best performance in a Light Blue shirt with a third just after the break. He said: "I don't know what it is about this time of the season.  "It's happened in the last three years and I just can't get my head round it.  "To be honest I hope it just keeps coming, although I wouldn't mind a few more goals at the start and middle of the season.  "It doesn't get any better than this. It is beyond my wildest dreams. "I would have been happy just to score the first goal but to get three was the fulfilment of a boyhood dream.  "I struggle to understand why I score so many goals at this stage because I don't enjoy the pressure. "I do the same stuff as I always do in training but it just seems to click for some reason."
Lafferty and his team-mates were itching to give Walter Smith a leaving present to remember, although even they couldn't possibly have envisaged such a perfect send-off. The Northern Irishman will be forever indebted to the departing Ibrox boss, yet judging by the warm embrace they shared at the final whistle, the Gers gaffer was fully appreciative of Lafferty's vital contribution. Lafferty said: "Every player knew what he had to do. We knew if we took three points we would be champions."To be 3-0 up so early in the game was unbelievable, although I thought we took our foot off the gas later in the game.
"Walter is the manager who brought me here. I always dreamed of playing for Rangers and he gave me the chance. I have to thank him for that. "To score three goals in his last game to win the title and three in a row was just amazing. "The players were desperate to win it for Walter and send him off on a high. "We managed to do that and it was great to see him pick up his last trophy for the club. It was a great achievement for him. "He is a legend at the club, although he didn't have to say anything to get us fired up beforehand.  "Everybody knows what he has done for Rangers and he deserves everything that comes his way. "I think if we can keep every player and add a few more there is no reason why Ally McCoist can't follow in his footsteps and do the same."
While Rangers handed the initiative to Celtic after drawing the final Old Firm clash of the season, Lafferty never lost faith and always believed mental strength would be the deciding factor. He said: "We knew they had to go to Hearts and that would be a tough game for them. "But Inverness did it for us before then. They were superb for us on the night and deserved the win. "Once it was in our hands we took it away again. "We have been there for the past two years and we know what it's all about. "We have a winning mentality in the team and we don't know when to stop. "Even if we are chasing a game we would always fancy ourselves to score."
Lafferty's seven goals in his last six games proved to be a major reason why Davie Weir was presented with the SPL trophy. But the on-form marksman is the first to concede there would have been no celebrations were it not for the second half of the season goal glut from Nikica Jelavic. He said: "When Kenny Miller was sold in January I think everyone wrote us off but Jelavic is Kenny and Kris Boyd rolled into one. "What Jelavic has done this season has been amazing and it would have been even better if he hadn't been injured for a long spell. "Without him I don't think we would have been celebrating with the trophy today."

viernes, 20 de mayo de 2011

War over Goodwillie

The striker netted 17 times in the SPL this season, a goal-scoring record that helped him secure all of the country's young player of the year awards. Rangers have been long-time admirers of the forward and new Ibrox boss Ally McCoist is believed to be preparing to make a bid before the summer is out. It was certain McCoist would face competition for the 22-year-old, as a host of other clubs, including Sunderland, Birmingham and Bristol City, have also been linked with Goodwillie.
United recently secured their prize asset on a contract through to 2013 and are expected to demand a fee in excess of £2 million. Goodwillie's goals this season have also brought him to the attention of Liverpool and Chelsea, who have both been monitoring his progress.

Nikica Jelavic 18

Nikica Jelavic 18

We Are Not Neil Lennon!

We Are Not Neil Lennon!

Spot The Difference

Spot The Difference