Where Now after the European Disaster?

Last updated : 06 August 2008 By PaisleyProd
The reality of it was simple. Our preseason was terrible, we didn't strengthen key areas of the side that needed strengthened, we failed to offload players not up to scratch and ended up playing them in key positions versus Kaunas. The manager has failed massively to identify what our team is lacking. Pace, movement, skill, the ability to deliver a dead ball at pace and to avoid the first man with it, the ability to pass and move and to want the ball and be confident on it.

At time of writing this Smith had signed three, yes three strikers yet we still have Novo, Boyd, JCD and Cousin and also signed a centre back after the signing deadline for the 2nd qualifying round of the CL. Genius, absolute bloody genius. He also has a strange fascination with Dailly, Adam and McCulloch. Those three in the same midfield are the stuff of footballing nightmares and so it proved in rainy Lithuania.
We've got to ask ourselves why yet another gamble by the club has cost us dear. Yes we gambled on selling Hutton last year, it cost us the league. This time we gambled on playing a totally inept midfield in two games v footballing nobodies and have been humiliated. A lot of questions need answering here. Why was Hemdani not playing? Did we not wish to cup tie him? Does Smith not rate him? He's one midfielder we have that can actually play a bit and uses the ball as well as he uses his mind to read the game.

We've seen him play to very good effect in many a european away match before but alas, Walter opts for Dailly or McCulloch before Brahim. Another valid question is this. Why was Davis or one or two other midfield players not purchased and in the side prior to the games v the Lithuanians? Surely a couple of natural midfielders, one with dig and mobility and another that can dictate play would have seen us avoid such a humiliating evening?

Another question that I'd love to know the answer to. Did Smith actually try to buy midfielders (our captain and central midfielder is out for months and others we have within the squad are not good enough) and if so why were purchases not made? Did Murray influence our signing policy or put a stop to buying midfielders for any reason? What was McCoist's role in all of this? I'm no qualified coach but it's blatantly obvious that our midfield is the weakest are of the side and creates nothing for our goal shy strikers. It's bereft of ideas, can't hold the ball up, beat a man, deliver decent crosses and is slow as a week in Barlinnie. 

The whole side looks lost without Carlos and Ferguson(who isn't exactly overly good when he plays these days - due to injury or otherwise) and that fact in itself tells me how limited in ability our squad is. We look short of confidence, lacking in motivation and was there actually any decipherable tactics that anyone noticed? We went behind, chuck on two strikers more and aim long balls at no one in particular with the ball generally not reaching it's intended target.
I can only guess at what the season ahead will have in store now. It's unlikely we'll strengthen that much if at all due to losing out on not just CL cash but all European income apart from gate money from a poorly attended first leg of the 2nd round qualifier where we refused to sell to the TV stations! It's more likely that we'll sell Carlos to "balance the books" but what of the Hutton, JJB or last seasons Euro monies? Where have they gone.

Well we know some of it has been spent on three strikers and after preseason and these european games it's not obvious what any of those add, we know what Miller doesn't add - goals. His three misses in the two CL games only raise more questions than answers as to why he was signed. He's not going to shoot us to the title, he'll probably be lucky to score ten goals this term. We've also signed the chap from Charlton but was this to partner or replace Carlos?
Will Walter do the honourable thing and walk after this debacle? Will Murray tell him there's no need to go? Will he be sacked? Will last season's Euro run be brought up again and again to try to make up for this shambles and attempt to pull the wool over the fans eyes? As I said in opening, this was going to happen sooner or later and we shouldn't be shocked by it. Sadly it had to happen against the worst team we've faced in many years at that level. We enjoyed parts of last season but shouldn't dwell on those, other parts we played pathetically, blew the league, failed to beat Thistle at home, capitulated to Aberdeen and our style of play and certain players lack of ability added to the disappointments. We almost blew the Scottish Cup against first division minnows too.

Yes this is very pessimistic and full of doom and gloom but if someone can point me towards anything positive going on at our club at present I'd be very grateful. I've said it before and I'll say it again, we have our history, traditions and values to be proud of and we have an amazing support no matter what anyone says. Sadly these good points are eroded and devalued by the club and the fans treated like nothing more than customers.
I hope Rangers can turn their fortunes round in the season ahead, I truly do. It's what we all want at the end of the day, isn't it? In my heart of hearts I can't see it with the players we have playing under Walter and with Murray and Bain at the helm of what should or could be a giant of a club but sadly it seems we are sailing closer to the abyss with each passing month. From two hundred thousand fans in Manchester to where? Your guess is as good as mine.