Doing The League The Hard Way
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the McGregor-Ferguson situation - and neither of them gets any sympathy from me - I can't help thinking the decision that both have played their last game for Rangers is influenced more by Mr Chairman's great desire to sell players (any players?) than by any new principled stance on the standards expected from Rangers players.
Would it not have made more sense to keep any disciplinary action under wraps, leave it to the SFA to issue any pompous statements while, at the same time, let it be known to both that they have a lot of work to do to undo the damage done over those mad, sad few days, and hope to reap some benefit as they seek to battle their way back into the good books?
While I've never doubted Neil Alexander's ability to step into Allan McGregor's place, I find it particularly galling that Barry Ferguson's banishment comes at a time when there were hints that he was about to re-emerge as the player we know he can be. He was outstanding for the first hour against Hearts and, when things started to turn sour, he was one of the few who looked capable of driving Rangers back into control of the game.
The onus will now be on Pedro Mendes and Steven Davis to rise to the challenge - the form of both has dipped a bit lately - and they must make it their business to offset any problems caused by Ferguson's absence. And having blown hot and cold in their time at Ibrox, Steven Whittaker, Lee McCulloch, Damarcus Beasley and Steven Naismith have to find that extra something but convince those of us who want to believe, but are finding it hard to justify, that they are worthy of a Rangers jersey.
Given our frustrating inconsistency, it is nothing short of astonishing that we are still in the hunt for the title but, whenever we give ourselves a wee lift, we contrive to shoot ourselves in the foot and hand the initiative back to the Great Unwashed. It is not at all surprising that, while McGregor and Ferguson have been hung out to dry by Rangers, Gordon The Garden Gnome has been going out of his way to play down the involvement of any Septic players in the Cameron House booze-up. After all, having seen them consistently turn a blind eye to the provocative antics of the nutcase who passes himself off as a goalkeeper at Breezeblock Boulevard, we should know better than to look to the Piggery for any lead on disciplinary matters.
We go into these closing weeks of the season with a lot to do and, handicapped by our erratic form, we have now burdened ourselves still further by sidelining two very experienced players. It is hard to envisage Bill Struth, Willie Waddell or Jock Wallace giving Ferguson or McGregor anything other than hard time before telling them to pack their bags but principles have to be etched in stone, not adopted then discarded on a whim, and it is the absence of such principles which has seen our club drift like a rudderless ship for so much of the past twenty years.
Making a stance on principle at this particular juncture simply adds to my worries about what is going on in the corridors of power at Ibrox.
LITTLE BOY BLUE