Well here it goes again a week later an now back at Ibrox for the 2nd leg, all we need is a goal easy! No not in the slighest the tie which is balanced on a knife edge will be a big task for The Rangers. With us needing to score (unless we play all the way till penalties) Like that’s not been done before! anyway back to the point, We need to score at least 1 goal to prevail and make it through to the last 8 and only 2 ties (4 fixtures) away from Dublin!
Rangers: So how will Sir Walter Smith line up, well that is easy he will go for his normal 5-4-1 formation looking to sit back and break on the counter. Only problem is if we break we have to get back quick to close them down cause 1 goal from them means we need 2! So what do we need in the team, PACE we can’t have the wings slowed down a think we should go for Whittaker & Weiss/Wylde and if Naismith is fit, put him up front. Meaning that going forward we are fast well equipped and With Whittaker, Weiss/Wylde & Naismith/Diouf all up there, surely that’s at least a goal?
So with that said my starting 11 would have to go something like. . . .
Foster Bougherra Weir Bartley Papac
Whittaker Davis Hutton Weiss/Wylde
The reason for Naismith/Diouf is just waiting to see if Naismith is not injured if so then Diouf would come in. Also with Weiss/Wylde a would be happy for either to start as long as it was switched in the 60/70th minute to let both them at full energy run down their right back.
On the Midfield matter I just can’t sit through another 90 minutes watching Edu in the middle of the park for rangers not being able to pass to his team mates, So for me Davis & Hutton would be perfect in the midfield.
On to the defence With Papac and Foster doing their usual bombing up the wing when we have the ball, or sitting tight at the back when we don’t, and Bougherra Bartley & Weir doing what they do looking big and clearing it away, well unless your Boughy and love to go for a run. Something Bartley is starting to do which is great to see if someone slips in to his position while he is half up the pitch, but let’s not give the idea to Weir to start running with the ball.
One other things all Rangers fans will be keeping a close eye on is that no Rangers players pick up any injuries ahead of the Cup Final on Sunday.
Them: Sure they had most of the possession in the first leg but failed to capitalise on it. Thier main threat Dzsudzsák did little to nothing with a couple of shots outside the area and a free kick over the bar in the first leg, but after scoring his 15th in the 2-2 draw at the weekend Rangers should keep an eye on him. One other thing is PSV have never beaten a Scottish team thier record of, W0 D3 L4 (W0 D2 L1 in Scotland), Should be a delightful stat for all Rangers fans.
Prediction: Come Thursday will The Rangers be bouncing about celebrating looking forward to a new adventure to a different European Destination? Well this bear thinks so, a think it will be a close game not a lot of chances but Rangers scraping a 1-0 win.
(I’ll not be able to do a live minute by minute update, as I’ll be at the game, but if you ain’t at the game it’s on ITV4) Enjoy and COME ON THE RANGERS!
Well a huge sigh of relief there as Rangers more or less snatched it, Having done so well over large spells of the match and even doing so good that Kilmarnock stayed in their own half for most of the game, how was this game won just by a lucky O.G in the dying minutes of the game?
When the sides were announced and rangers had 6 defenders in their team, I including many other Rangers fans looked worried, but as the game got underway it was more a 3-5-2 with Foster & Whittaker up the wings. David Weir, Bougherra & Bartley all in the centre.
Rangers started the game well but most of the opening 20 minutes was played in the middle of the park, with Kilmarnock happy to sit back and let rangers come at them. It wasn’t until the 38th Minute when a one two between Steven Davis and Steven Whittaker gave Whittaker the chance to pick out Diouf who had time to settle himself and calmly fire in the opener.
As the Second half got under way it was more of the same from both sides, as Rangers were just happy to sit on their one goal advantage. They were made to pay when Foster made a high challenge on the incoming Clancy, referee Alan Muir pointed to the spot. Jamie Hamil Converted from 12 yards and the match was all square.
Rangers continued to look lively though as they created a good couple of chances and maybe should have had their own ‘couple’ of penalty’s, firstly when Jelavic was man handled within side the area but the ref waved play on. An even more obvious Penalty was when bougherra who played almost as a right winger at times cross the ball in but hit off the hand of the killie left back, once again no penalty awarded!
The Rangers bench knew a chance was needed an on came Weiss & Lafferty in place of the Goal Scorer Diouf & Foster.
With only 15 minutes left rangers fans may have felt like this one was slipping away but Weiss had other ideas, As on the 87th Minute an in swinging cross was met by Clancy who put it past his own keeper.Their was yet another penatly turned down in the dying minutes when Lafftery collided with Clancy who was at the centre of everything today for Kilmarnock, the ref once again waved play on. So With little time to play Rangers gathered the 3 points they so desperately needed.
Final Score: Rangers 2-1 Kilmarnock
McGregor 6, Very little to do, but when the ball came to him continued to get play moving, nothing could do with the goal.
Weir 6, Never really had a lot to do as kilmarnock were happy most of the game to sit back.
Bougherra 8, Great Defending and for most of the match was playing up top on the right crossed in a couple of balls (one which was handled in the area) and threw himself about a lot today.
Bartley 7, Had one or two chances he could have finished, defended well in the back 3 along with Weir & bougherra, good display from the young player.
Papac 6, Thought had another good game never really had much to do and got booked but never let much passed him.
Foster 7, Done well kept trying to take it past players and quick turn of pace helped him at times. Good covering and unlucky for the penalty incident.
Whittaker 8, Was another who played well today, deployed in the midfield role and set up Diouf’s goal after a lovely 1-2 with Davis.
Davis 7, Broke down a couple of attacks today put in an OK shift & played a nice ball to Whittaker who set up the first goal.
Edu 6, Was never really in the game an made a couple of wayward passes.
Diouf 8, Scored the opening goal, but he done more than that he came to the defenders to pick up the ball was always searching for the ball, always in space. Got 3 or 4 free-kicks in promising positions.
Jelavic 7, Still trying to get back after injury done well to hold some balls up but not really in the game that much.
Subs: Weiss 6, Lafferty 5.
Well now The Rangers will look towards Thursday’s Europa League Second Leg Tie With PSV.
Well good Morning /Afternoon depending on how Saturday night went for all of you’s. Anyway’s straight on to the football today, Rangers are at Ibrox to hopefully put a couple past Killie today (No Disrespect).
We have the teams for today.
Foster Bougherra Weir Papac
Davis Bartley Edu Whittaker
Subs: Alexander, Wylde, Hutton, Fleck, Weiss, Lafferty, Healy.
Jaakkola, Clancy, Hay, Fowler, Sissoko, Bryson, Hamill, Silva, Kelly, Pascali,Gross
Subs: Lethern, Bertnsson, Laurent, Rui Miguel, Agard, McKenzie, Aubameyang
Follow this page for live in play updates. Kick-Off 15.00 GMT.
15:01: The match starts with The Rangers getting us under way.
15.03: Rangers start brightly in what looks like a 3-5-2 formation but Killie get the first corner of the day.
15.05: Diouf has two runs up either wing of the Killie half but nothing comes from both attacks, most of the early play in the middle of the park.
15.08: Some nice play from Killie in the early stages, easily defended by The Rangers, Kilmarnock look ready to ease back when rangers have the ball.
15.09: First shot from Killie’s Gross way off target though.
15.10: Kilmarnock with their second corner of the game now.
15.12: Some good pressure from Jelavic on the left wing as he closes down killie’s right back, steals the ball away and puts in an early cross but no one on the end as Killie eventually get it clear.
15.15: Diouf continues to drop deep as The rangers look for an opening, nice wee triangle of passes from rangers as whittaker’s shot goes just left of the post.
15.17: Lovely counter attack from killie as they found them selves 4 against 3 but when the moment came Kelly blasted way over Mcgregors Bar. Rangers start from the back again and get a corner following the attack.
15.18: Corner swung in by Diouf as Bartley connects good save from the killie keeper another corner Rangers way.
15.20: Still goalless as it is more of a midfield battle with a couple of opportunities for each team. Rangers defenders are as high up as the halfway line, just showing how much killie are ready to let rangers take the game to them.
15.21: Penalty claim as foster is pushed by clancy…Ref says no, but two seconds later Free kick edge of the box.
15.22: Davis with the free-kick but hits off the wall and falls for Diouf who is about 5 yards out but falling hits it left of the post.
15.23: Just about an own goal as Boughy of all people is on the right wing to cross the ball in, the killie defender goes to slide in and the ball hits off his foot and right in to the gloves of the killie keeper.
15.25: Diouf collects a ball punted up from McGregor get’s a free kick for high feet, takes to early to find Foster who is on the overlap but out for a goal kick.
15.27: Whittaker losses possession and Kilmarnock try to find Gross who is offside but had the beating of pace on Weir.
15.28: Rangers a bit sloppy as Jelavic does well to keep the ball in, but then the astray pass from davis just rolls out for a killie throw.
15.30: The Rangers seem comfortable in the first half hour couple attacks from killie, but the away team continue to look happy to just sit back and let Rangers come at them. Still Goalless as Walter Smith looks on from the stands.
15.32: Rangers take a free-kick early as they break and the deflection takes it out from a corner as foster try’s to put the ball in the box. Bartley’s header goes over, Goal Kick Kille.
15.34: Killie break on the counter attack with Silva up the wing, Weir clears and the ball goes to foster out on the right foul by Clancy, free-kick Rangers.
15.37: Bougherra back on the right wing as he runs up and down trying to pass the right back of killie but the ball eventually hits of the Algerian and goes for a goal kick.
15.38: GOAL! El Hadji Diouf, one, two with Whittaker and Davis then Whittaker finds Diouf on the right unmarked the Striker does well to take his time and fire his shot to the bottom left of the Killie goal. 1-0 Rangers.
15.40: Rangers looking much more comfortable now as they get the goal, a foul from Pascali on Jelavic about 25-30 yards from the Killie goal.
15.43: Whittaker takes a shot from about 25 yards out deflection takes it up and then in to the hands of the Killie keeper, Rangers get the ball back straight away Boughy still on that right wing delivers the ball in searching for Diouf but keeper gathers it.
15.44: Rangers have all the freedom at the back when on the ball as killie retreat back to the half way line almost letting rangers just walk towards them.
15.45: Half-Time at Ibrox, Diouf’s goal separating the teams, so at half time Rangers 1-0 Kilmarnock.
Second Half to come.
16.00: Second half get’s under way, let’s hope The Rangers can keep a hold of this narrow lead and push on to maybe get a couple more. NO CHANGES
16.03: Davis get’s pushed off the ball and killie come up the right wing with kelly but boughy punts the ball out for a throw deep in the rangers half.
16.06:Rangers keep the ball passing it about the back three of Boughy, Weir And Bartley, Bartley looks to find a run but the ball just rolls on through to the killie stopper.
16.08: Jelavic dispossess the killie centre back good shot but well held by the Kilmarnock keeper. Passed out and killie get a free-kick about 35 yards out on the left, whipped in but header away by Papac.
16.11: Boughy continues to bomb up the right wing and a hasty challenge from Killie’s Hay and he goes in to the book, First yellow card of the day. Free-Kick results in a goal kick poor delivery.
16.13: Some nice control from Jelavic in the killie box but has to go towards the corner flag were he loses and then fouls Pascali, Free-Kick Killie’s way.
16.14: Hay’s ball finds Hamil on the right edge of the Rangers box first time shot lands on the roof of Mcgregor’s Net.
16.15: Diouf fouled on the half way line by Jamie Hamil, but the two go head to head as the ref interviens. free-kick once again comes to nothing. Still 1-0 The Rangers.
16.17: Kilmarnock PENALTY! Foster kicks the boot of Kilmarnock’s forward. Jamie Hamil steps up. GOAL! Kilmarnock are level.
16.20: Out of really nothing after rangers looked so comfortable for an hour Kilmarnock draw level, Kilmarnock sub as Gross Gives Way for Rui Miguel.
16:22: Handball in the Kilmarnock box! But it was Dioufs hand, still 1-1 with about 25 minutes to play.
16.23: Another case for a rangers penalty as Jelavic is grabbed in the box ref says no.
16.24: Free-kick to rangers as El Hadji Diouf was fouled right side of the killie box, Diouf with the free kick, Bartley’s header is just over the bar.
16.25: Rangers continue to pile on the pressure as Diouf picks out Jelavic on the wing an early cross by the Croatian is cleared by the killie defence.
16.26: Second Yellow of the match as Pascali is booked for time wasting.
16.27: Rangers caught out as Bartley pushes forward but loses the ball Kilmarnock break but only for Davis to give away a free kick to Killie around about the half way line.
16.29: Diouf does well up the left wing beating 2 Kilmarnock defenders sends in the ball but finds nobody and is eventually cleared.
16.31: Rangers get a free kick edge of the box With davis is hovering over this one, the effort is just right of the post.
16.33: Double Sub for The Rangers, As Off goes Diouf & Foster, On come Weiss & Lafferty. Rangers looking to get all 3 points here with about 13 minutes left plus injury time.
16.35: Rangers keep pushing an must be wondering how they are not ahead in this match, another penalty claim for Rangers when boughy sends in a cross which ‘is’ Handled in the box, ref says play on. Attendance announced just a little over 42,000 at Ibrox.
16.36: Final 10 minutes as rangers look to close the gap on Celtic to 2 points with a win today, Corner for rangers were a lot of shoots that are deflected but then a foul by Edu eases the pressure on Killie. Still 1-1.
16.38: Boughy headers the ball in the back of the net, but is ruled off side. 5 or 6 minutes left plus Injury time. Rangers Need someone to stand up and be counted now.
16.39: Weiss dribbles past 2 Killie players sends a ball in to find the Hand of Lafferty, ref doesn’t spot it but goes wide anyway.
16.41: Rangers pressure continues and it comes good, when Weiss hits in a powerful cross and is turned in to the back of the killie net through Tom Clancy (O,G) Rangers 2-1, Weiss Booked for Celebration. Little Over 3 Minutes left. Surely Rangers Can hold on.
16.43: Jelavic fouls Hay about 35 yards out and gets a yellow card along with Papac for what seems to be protesting. nothing comes from the free kick. Mcgregor has the ball in his hands. a minute left of normal time. Plus whatever the added minutes are.
16.45: 3 added minutes. As Kilmarnock look for a penalty ref waves play on, little bit of handbags from Lafftery & Clancy after the penalty was not given. 2 minutes left.
16.47: Little time to be played as a long ball from Tom Clancy is found by Mcgregor, Boughy on the run from his own half right up to the corner flag and get’s the corner.
16.49: Full time whistle As Rangers win 2-1 and go two point’s behind Celtic with a game in hand.
Review To Follow.
Well back to the SPL for the champions this weekend as they play host to Kilmarnock.
Just off the back of what turned out to be a great first leg in Eindhoven, The Rangers will want to capitalise on this game in hand and move just 2 points behind Celtic with a game in hand. With only 1 defeat at home in all competitions this year, which was in that forgettable match against Celtic, this should be a pretty straight forward 3 points in my opinion.
With only 10 games left of the season (12 for us with our 2 games in hand) it’s a MUST win match for the boys tomorrow, as we look to keep the pressure mounted on Celtic.
Rangers: Still with worries ahead of the game as 4 of the squad are still out With Naismith, Ness, McCulloch & Broadfoot all missing the game.
The good news though is that Nikica Jelavic is back in the squad after recovering from the hamstring problem that kept him out. Also likely to feature is Sasa Papac, Smith also confirmed that Mcgregor will replace the step in keeper Alexander who took the midweek European match.
Walter Smith’s 18:
McGregor, Foster, Bougherra, Weir, Bartley, Whittaker, Davis, Edu, Fleck, Healy, Diouf, Jelavic, Alexander, Papac, Wylde, Hutton, Lafferty, Weiss.
Kilmarnock: Will be without their influential play maker Alexi Eremenko who is suspended (which will be great news for Rangers) also suspended is Defender Frazer Wright. Another player for Killie that will miss the match is Taouil who is suffering from a hamstring injury.
Mixu Paatelainen’s 18:
Jaakkola, Hay, Fowler, Sissoko, Hamill, Rui Miguel, Bryson, Pascali, Gros, Silva, Bell, Clancy, Agard, Laurent, Kelly, Berntsson, Aubameyang, Kennedy.
In the post match interview Smith looked in a complementing mood towards Killie.
“Kilmarnock had a terrific result last week at Tynecastle.
“They have had some excellent results this season and played some excellent football.
“They are well deserving of their position in the league.
“It will be a difficult game for us, considering we are just coming back from a European game as well.”
Last meeting: Rangers 3-0 Kilmarnock. Scottish Cup 10/1/2011
Rangers Recent Form: Last 6 league matches, W,W,L,W,W,W. Scoring 13, Conceding 3.
I will try to do a minute by minute report of the match tomorrow so come back around 3.00 GMT, if I can’t manage it come back tomorrow for a full Review of the game.
Hello there it’s been a little over two months since The Rangers blog last spoke, and for me that’s far to long for The Rangers not to have a voice on this site.
So here I am, the names Gary, been following The Rangers ever since I was little so for 23 years now.
Over the next couple of months I’ll be following the Champions as they look to close in on the league title once again. We will preview, review and hopefully between us discuss all the games, well since there is a comments box I hope you’s will all join in.
Also their will be all other different types of news relating to Most successful club in the world. Read the rest of this entry »
By now I am sure you all know Rangers fell to Celtic at home last Sunday. And if you’re a Ranger’s fan, you know just how bitter a loss to our Old Firm rivals is. Needless to say, Celtic deserved the three points they earned and are now four point clear atop the Scottish Premier League. Even Ranger’s manager Walter Smith had to hand it to hoops, giving credit to Neil Lennon’s side for staying strong throughout.
Georgios Samaras grabbed two goals from Sunday’s clash, one being a sloppy defensive error and the other coming from the penalty spot. He was given the “man of the match” award for a game that didn’t really deserve one. As is the case in all Old Firm matches (and most of Scottish football in general), there were tons of tough tackles, dirty challenges, and healthy competition to be had.
You could argue that Rangers were the better team in a pretty dull first half. Lee McCulloch and Steven Whittaker had two promising chances which were dealt with by a competent Celtic defensive line. Other than that, there wasn’t very much more to highlight so to speak. I figure both Walter Smith and Neil Lennon had quite the team talk at half, demanding much more from their respective clubs.
Well, Celtic came out the better team in the second half. And in the 62nd minute, Hoops scored the all important first goal that came off a defensive blunder from Richard Foster. Seven minutes later, Rangers dug themselves deeper into a hole when Madjid Bougherra tripped Samaras in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Samaras picked himself up and put the penalty away himself.
The one bright spot for the ‘Gers was Jaime Ness who was handed his first start on an incredibly memorable day. Ness was handed his first start because Steven Naismith didn’t pass fitness before kickoff. New Celtic signing Freddie Ljungberg didn’t make the squad due to a sudden virus he picked up. I was right when I said Kyle Lafferty was going to make an appearance, but when he was given a good opportunity in the form of a spot kick outside the box, he failed to get the ball past the wall.
It’s hard to really say too much about this loss. It wasn’t pretty… for either side. Even though Celtic walked away with 3 points and a four point lead in the table over Rangers, the Light Blues can at least take solace in the fact that they have still yet to play the football they are capable of. It’s just that before this point, Walter’s gritty team grinded out results.
The real positive from this day came not from the match itself, but from the pre-match ceremonies in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Ibrox Disaster of 2 January, 1971. Rangers were led out by former captain and club legend John Greig, who was also captain of his side on that day forty years ago. Celtic great Billy McNeill led out his hoops, and both former captains wore black armbands in remembrance of the 66 Rangers fans who lost their lives when stairway 13 collapsed. After both teams were lead out, an incredibly respectful Ibrox crowd consisting of both Rangers and Celtic supporter observed a full minute of silence before the kick off to honor those who died, as well as the former Rangers player Avi Cohen, who recently died.
I would truly like to thank those Celtic supporters who showed the respect during the pre-match ceremonies. There tends to be those few drunk fans who feel it necessary to ruin such honorable ceremonies with random yelling and shouting of disgusting vitriol. But on this occasion, everyone observed the immensity of the date and its meaning, and both clubs came together in a special way to pay their respects.
With that said, I think I should remind those Celtic supporters out there that we went to Celtic Park first this season and came away with three points and we can do it again. Yes, Celtic are 4 points ahead of Rangers, but we have two game in hand and a whole half of the season to win our third straight SPL title, sending the Great Walter Smith off in the glory he deserves.
Rafael Gonzales- Producer of World Football Daily
No matter when Rangers and Celtic meet, there will always be something to talk about. This Sunday’s Old Firm is no different. On Sunday these Old Firm Friends will be meeting on the 40th Anniversary of the 1971 Ibrox Disaster.
A great number in the footballing community are well read and knowledgeable on the more infamous Hillsborough Disaster involving the Liverpool FC supporters in the Sheffield Wednesday stand. The Ibrox Disaster occurred a whole 18 years before and often times gets glossed over. Whether it’s because the event happened in Scotland, not England, or whether it is because only 66 people lost their lives instead of the total 96 at Hillsborough, we will never know. Fact of the matter is that the tragic events that occurred at Stairway 13 on January 2nd, 1971 should have been a clear warning to clubs and countries around the world that a change in ground safety, control, organization and construction needed to happen. It was an accident waiting to happen, yet an accident ignored and swept under the rug until the discussion was brought back up 18 years later on the darkest day in footballing history.
This Sunday, Rangers plan on a couple of different commemorative ceremonies to remember and honor those lost in the disaster. On top of a minute of silence before the kick off, the two club captains from Rangers and Celtic on that fateful Old Firm match in 1971 will lead out their respective teams again. (Yes, the Greatest Ranger of All Time, John Greig returns)
Right off the bat, this match has a tremendously emotional charge to the atmosphere. Now throw in the fact that Celtic need to take three points from this match to really try and make a case for the title this season, while Rangers want to come away with a home win to kick off the new year with a comfortable lead and TWO GAMES in hand on Celtic. With the Europa League continuing (hopefully) to take Rangers attention away from the league and a fixture pile up from all the crap weather in the UK, Walter’s men will have a real test if they want to make it three league titles in a row.
The good thing is this: Rangers supporters agree that we are winning while not playing our best football. I would say that you saw a small sample, or glimpse of what Rangers can truly put together on the field when they entertained Valencia at Ibrox, giving them a point when we should have taken all three. Maurice Edu having such a brilliant match that he not only put in a great header for his side, but one for the other side as well. (tough luck dude)
Hoops made the Ljungberg move final and he is fit to play in Sunday’s match. Freddie says, “I feel like I am 25 again!”. With Celtic’s captain Scott Brown suspended for the red card he received at the end of the Motherwell match, I’d almost guarantee match time for Freddie.
The big question is whether or not the Swedish midfielder will be of any impact on a squad of Celtic players with tons of individual talent… key word being individual. “Freddie Ljungberg is a good player – there is no doubt about that – but my concern would be Celtic’s team overall as much as any individual,” said the Rangers manager.
Kyle Lafferty will be fit for the match, but I doubt he will get the start. Having not seen match play for a while, it’d be a tough task to be thrown into such an important game. Plus, Kenny Miller should be well rested and ready to bag some goals against his former employer. The guy to watch for me will be Vladamir Weiss, who continues to impress me more and more.
Not only does Vlad have my vote, but he seems to have the confidence of Mr. Smith who continues to put his faith in him. Being on loan from Manchester City could have put the young player in an awkward situation, but instead he has risen to the challenge and cleared every obstacle thus far this season. It’s only a matter of how Rangers can keep the strong Slovakian midfielder.
My line up for Rangers is looking like a festive Xmas tree, 5-4-1. You can expect Allan McGregor in goal. Steadfast David Weir, Steven Whittaker, Sasa Papac and Madjid Bougherra should anchor the back line with Richard Foster possibly making the fifth defender. Walter seemed really pleased with slotting in Weiss directly behind Kenny Miller who plays up top alone. Steven Naismith is “doubtful” for the match against Celtic, but Mr. Smith is giving him right up until the match to prove he is fit. Don’t be surprised if Lafferty and Beattie get some match time.
My prediction for the match, 2-0 to the ‘Gers. We will discuss the match further on show Monday. And you can expect my two pence on the match late Monday.
First and foremost, I’d like to say hello as one of the newest additions to the “Rangers Offside Blog”. My name is Rafael Gonzales and I am the Producer of World Football Daily in Los Angeles. I started supporting Rangers when I was about 10 years old and have made to sure to order my official home kit from the Rangers Megastore every year for over ten years now. It’s a long story as to how I found this club, but the hook is in deep and this American is a die-hard ‘Gers fan who regularly wakes up at 4am on the weekends to watch his club like a true Blue-nose.
I am kicking off my first blog entry with general recap of the Rangers’ season up to the new year, seeing as how this blog hasn’t been updated in quite some time. Coming out of Christmas, Rangers find themselves with a two point lead over their Old Firm rivals Celtic, along with a game in hand. Their mid-week match against St. Johnstone leading into the New Year was postponed due to weather (as several SPL fixtures have been recently in Scotland), giving Celtic the chance to pull ahead before Sunday’s second Old Firm match of the season. This could be a good thing for Rangers who’s squad is wearing thin and being the only Scottish Club representative left in European competition, along with several matches to make-up due to postponements cause of weather, the second half of the season will not get easier for the Blue side of Glasgow.
This year has really been a tough for Walter Smith’s squad. They haven’t had anything given to them whatsoever. With the constant talk off the pitch of an ownership take-over and the club’s debt weighing heavy on the players, their wages, and any hopes for reinforcements come the January tranfers window, Walter Smith has done an excellent job getting his boys to show a “Band of Brothers” type performance thus far. We started the year with a long unbeaten run in all competitions, including a win away at Celtic (3-1 Rangers) and a draw at Old Trafford in a Champions League opening Group Stage tie against Manchester United (0-0).
Rangers currently have 13 wins, 2 draws and only 1 loss (an embarrassing 0-3 to Hibs) in the Scottish Premier League and have since dropped into the Europa League, looking forward to Sporting Lisbon from Portugal. Although it may look like they are incredibly dependent on the goals coming from Kenny Miller (21 goals in the SPL thus far), it is clear that new addition Vladimir Weiss controls the midfield and has been the creative link from the strong back-line which is anchored by veteran and Captain David Weir. American Maurice Edu has really made an impact this season, but recently suffered an injury which has taken him out of the starting line-up. He hoped to return to action, along with Kyle Lafferty, in the match against Motherwell, but both players did not appear in the plans for Smith.
Celtic recently brought over MLS stars Dwayne DeRosario and Freddie Ljungberg to train with the club. The Hoops have a midweek match against Motherwell before they head across town to the Ibrox for the second Old Firm of the 2010/11 SPL Season. With a game in hand for Rangers, a win at home against Celtic would make the start to second half of the season a little more comfortable. Look for an Old Firm preview and review before and after the big match on Sunday which I will be watching with the True Blues of Los Angeles at the Fox and Hounds in Studio City. For more discussion and debate, leave a comment of email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictures of the new kit for the 2010/2011 season have been released on both the official Rangers website and on various forums online. Following months of speculation about what the new kits might look like these are the final product.
Visit our store for your home Rangers kits.
At times it seems as though it’s been one thing after another this season. Yesterday, only two days after Rangers won the league, it was revealed in the press that the club are under investigation by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. It comes after questions were raised regarding offshore payments made to some of the highest earning players. Reports suggest that Rangers used employee benefit trusts over the past ten years to subsidise player’s wages.
The club have released a statement saying “There is an ongoing query raised by HMRC, which is part of a pending court case. On the basis of expert tax advice provided to Rangers, the club is robustly defending the matters raised.” (Guardian 28th May). However, Rangers are not the only club to be targeted by HMRC and a number of English Premier League clubs are currently facing the same scrutiny.
The worst which could happen to Rangers is that they could face a backdated bill or reach a payment agreement with HMRC which could be worth millions. Due to the current financial troubles which the club faces this has the potential to make a bad situation terrible. A buyer has still not been found to take over David Murray’s 92% stake and the Lloyd’s Banking Group maintain their grip on the club’s finances. The debt is believed to be little better than the £31 million which the club declared formally only a few months ago.