Fellow Bears, I must start with the caveat that I have not been to Ibrox at all this season (I know, just when the team need every penny I bunk off to England), so I have based this article on television coverage and the experience of watching the team in recent seasons.
The prompt for this rant is the excellent form of our very own Stevie Naismith. I am extremely pleased the lad is getting a much deserved starting spot in his preferred role and scoring crucial goals for The Rangers. Looking back to the very serious injury he sustained against St Johnstone at Hampden, it is all the more remarkable given he lost months of his career due to that thug that stamped on his knee and rendered him useless as a footballer for months. Much improved healthcare and technology have had such a positive bearing on the recovery from severe tackles sustained during games. None the less, I did have gritted teeth when I saw the incident again on television. We at Ibrox know all too well the impact that a knee injury can have on a young man's career. I don't need to remind anyone of the talent that was Ian Durrant and that mugger from Pitoddrie.
Anyway enough of the retrospective, this is about the full recovery and brilliant way Naismith has started the season.
Going all the way back to the Scotland V Holland game I think Naismith has only now been given the recognition he deserves. He was our best player that night and was arguably the best of the bunch. I know it was only his second cap, but try telling that to a lad who got his footballing life back on track and was given a chance to face one of the best sides in the world.
I genuinely believe that Naismith has responded to the departure of Kris Boyd better than anyone at Ibrox. I know Kenny Miller is having his best season so far, however if you look at the significance of Naismith's goals it plain to see he really is very confident at the moment. He's enjoying the autonomy and responsibility that comes with that role. Playing a little more up the park and being allowed to burst late into the box has been excellent to watch. He scores a decent amount with his head for an average size player and is like a terrier on coke in the tackle when the mood takes him. His attitude is carrying him through games and his approach to always seek an opportunity is something we have lacked from midfield for a while. I did wonder how we would adjust to life without Boyd and to a lesser extent Tommo.
We have relied far too heavily on Steven Davis to fill both roles of playmaker and goal scorer. The independence afforded to Stevie Naismith has been the catalyst for a list of consistent displays. His latest contribution at the time of writing was to pop up and score a header against the best team in the world at Hampden. This will be the first of a few for his country. He also shown remarkable fitness. The cup final against St Mirren when we were reduced to 9 men proves my point. He was responsible for gathering the ball in midfield and setting up Kenny Miller with an inch perfect pass to score what proved to be the winning goal.
Let's hope his rise in stock, overall play, contribution and maturity continues. He is only 24. As always at Ibrox, given the financial pressures we dread any type of bid for our best players in the coming transfer window. Now that he has genuinely shaken off his injury I'm predicting Naismith to be a contender for some form of player of the year award within Ibrox or within the league.
We Must Be Bolder