Rangers are finally back in the top flight in Scottish football and despite their poor start to the season, they have big expectations and on Football Manager 2017 this is no different. Well maybe even higher demands with the board expectations that you reach the Semi final of the Scottish cup, get to the final of the League cup and win the top flight. Tough ask but it is achievable.
Rangers Football Club have a rich history to be proud of winning 54 top flight league titles, Scottish cup 33 times and the League cup 27 times and can lay claim to be the most successful club in terms of domestic success, however they are back after a four year absence having been demoted down to the third division in 2012 due to major financial issues. The club were formed in 1872 and their home ground is Ibrox with a seated capacity of 50,817 and have “great youth facilities” and “excellent training facilities” so there are some solid foundations in place but there is still a rebuild to get on with.
When you take over you are given a £1.2 million transfer budget and £227k per week wage budget which leaves you with £24k p/w spare, there is very little room to maneuver and with the board expectations being a bit over the top, it’s a tough challenge in the first season.
You also receive 80% of any transfer sales however this may be boosted to 95% if you ask the board nicely but I wouldn’t recommend saying you’ll win the Scottish cup/League cup to boost the budget as it’s a very small increase and heaps pressure on an already difficult debut season.
Goalkeepers – An important position and one Wes Foderingham is clearly the best you have and can be relied upon to save you on countless occasions, Gilks is an able back up however once again Robby McCrorie is highly rated and if you don’t wish to send him on loan you may want to install him as number 2.
Full backs – Lee Wallace and James Tavernier should be your left and right backs respectively, personally I play Tavernier as a complete wing back and has all the stats for it however he’s harshly marked with positioning of just 7 and vision of 1 weirdly.. This vision stat doesn’t deter him making countless assists though.
Lee Wallace is the more rounded defender but won’t get to the byline as much as Tavernier but even so is your captain and is the only natural left back in your first 11, so you may wish to bring in a back up here or promote Scott Gray from the under 20s who shows some promise. Lee Hodson is an able back up for Tavernier on the right.
Centre backs – Danny Wilson is your star man and can be your chosen centre back for a few years to come, good stats in all the main areas without being outstanding anywhere. Your choice is now who do you play beside him, Rob Kiernan is decent and performs well but nothing special, Clint Hill is 37 and with pace of 5 I wouldn’t play a high defensive line if you select him. Senderos is on a mammoth £16k p/w contract and is also very slow but apart from that has decent stats.
If none of those three suit you, you may wish to look to the transfer market I ended up signing Jack Baldwin from Peterborough in January on a cut price £350k deal but had been unsettling him for 6 months before.
Deep Lying midfielder – Jordan Rossiter is a god, my advice would be to start him in this role – he can be a ball winning midfielder, a regista or deep lying playmaker so is very flexible too and could be your deep lying midfielder for many years to come. The big issue you have to deal with is Joey Barton, do you keep hold of him or as is expected in real life to bin him? You can offer him our for around £200k and should get some interest in the summer window or you can try and get the best out of him.
Matt Crooks looks really average on the game so not sure if he will ever reach much despite a 3.5 star potential rating but 16 year old Jack Thomson from your under 20s could be one for the future with between 4 and 5 star potential and I’d advise sending him out on loan if possible.
Centre midfield – Jason Holt starts injured for 2 to 3 months which is a blow as he has 18 off the ball and 17 vision so I’d promote Liam Burt and either send him on loan or play him as a rotation type player as he’s already showing promise at 17 years of age, Halliday is very poorly judged by SI which is a shame and never featured much for me however Josh Windass despite being judged poorly by stats in my opinion had a great season as a Box to Box midfielder.
Niko could be a good player in certain types of games but I prefer a younger team if I’m honest, however Harry Forrester was more effective for me as an inside forward so that could be an option. I decided to sign Stevie Mallan from St Mirren for £300k and he’s now worth £1.7 million for me so that’s an option.
Wide men – Barrie Mckay is your best wide player and one of your best talents, I urge you to sign him to a long term contract as I forgot to and has been eyeing a bigger club ever since and although he’s performed very well, his morale has stuck at very poor for the full season and with his contract ending in 2018 I’m a bit concerned. I prefer Waghorn as the central striker but he’s an option and seems to be slightly improved from last year, Joe Dodoo had a great season for me as an inside forward on the right hand side so he’s very able.
Michael O’Halloran is a speed merchant but much like in real life I was never able to get much of an end product and in the summer I’m in the process of looking to move him on. You are well equipped wide in the first season but if you wanted to improve it Sam Nicholson can be signed for around £500k from Hearts.
Striker – Martyn Waghorn was the striker I went with and he did well notching 18 goals in an injury plagued season, being honest Miller didn’t do much but his stats aren’t too bad given his age of 36. Joe Garner didn’t suit my style of passing, intricate football so I loaned him out in January but if you play a different way he’d be a handful as an Advanced Forward.
You may get offered Matthew Knox, a 16 year old from Livingston with potential of between 4 and 5 stars, he can be signed for between £50k-100k but Celtic and Aberdeen are generally interested in him too. Ryan Hardie starts on loan but I think his god like performances have been toned down a bit this year which is understandable but he still has some good stats and potential.
Long term target – In the second season if you do well you can get a budget of between £3 and £8 million before any transfer sales dependent on how you perform in first season and Zach Clough is an achievable signing for £2-3 million and could turn out to be a star.
This is the tactic I went with and I managed success with this with some tweaking to get to this stage, you may wish to play 4-2-3-1 or even 4-4-2 though but the squad seems set up for 4-3-3 on FM.
Rangers are an interesting team to manage and there are certainly challenges in your first season you’ll need to address but winning the title is very achievable despite Celtic financial power and better squad, there is no europe to contend with so that’s another positive as you can focus on the league.
Long term however you’ll want to make a mark in europe, can you be the one to win the clubs first Champions League/European cup? It won’t be easy and will likely take a few seasons but it is possible, scouting will need to be top notch and sorting out the staffing/scouting issues should be one of your first aims.
Look even I won the treble in my first season and I can’t claim to be one of the better FM players.
If you found this useful or just want to discuss your own Rangers save on the Beta, leave a comment or you can get me on twitter @johnmcintosh19