There are no two ways about it; crashing out of the Champions League Vs Malmo was really bad for Rangers. Three losses in three games will always be bad no matter what time of the season, but the fact that this loss of form coincided with the third round of Champions League qualifiers makes it a sort of a double whammy.
I am not going into the tactics of what went wrong and why the Rangers players were so passive in the last 3 matches. A lot of excellent analysis has been done on that, and I am not interested in rehashing that. The sole intent of this column is to look forward.
First things first, Rangers have to navigate the Europa League playoffs and make it to the Europa League group stages. That will mitigate the losses from around £30m to £12-15m.
I know the temptation for this board is to sell as they have covered significant losses in the last few years, including in the pandemic. We all know that this cannot go on indefinitely. The expectation was always to recoup some of the losses this season.
I do have a message for this board, though: Just wait! I understand that you feel that re-investment in the squad is not possible right now, given the money already spent in the last couple of years. But think of it as a long term plan.
I have always said that this is the make or break season regarding which side dominates Scottish football in the medium term. Win the league and get a direct entry to the group stages of the Champions League. Seeing Rangers’ performance in the Champions League qualifiers (as well as Celtic), there cannot be any doubt how priceless the entry to the group stages of the UCL would be next year.
For Rangers to win the 56, the core of the team has to be retained at any cost. And this is an exercise for just one more year for the board, given that there are no ifs or maybes about whether the plan would pay off. Win the league, and enjoy all the windfall of the Champions League cash. This season, it’s going to be much closer than the last term, but I still believe that if everything goes right, Rangers should win the Premiership. However, you can’t gamble with that.
I am not saying this would mean stopping players from leaving who simply don’t want to stay anymore. I have it on good authority that Alfredo Morelos is ready for a new adventure. If Rangers get anywhere between £15m-£20m, it’s time to sell. But, Rangers can’t afford not to reinvest a significant portion of those funds. If you sell a player, you need to use it to ensure you are not weakened going into what is going to be a really significant season.
The future of Connor Goldson and Glen Kamara is less clear, but if either of them were to leave, there cannot be any doubt that they have to be replaced with quality recruits. You can’t just say that Lundstram was the replacement for Kamara, so there’s no need to spend anymore.
As much as all Rangers fans would like them to go all out to win the treble and go far in the Europa League, practicality dictates that the league is given the undivided attention. There has to be rotation in the Cups, and that is actually good for keeping some of the first team players on their toes.
Last season’s form was never realistic, and this Rangers board has to back Steven Gerrard for one more season if they want to see the rewards of their sacrifices.
Lastly, if you are a Rangers fan, I would ask you to give Stevie’s latest column on fourladshadadream a read. His analysis of the fan media Vs MSM is worth the read.
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- Victims Of Celtic Boys Club To Finally Get Some Relief? - October 5, 2021
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