The Rangers way: Old Firm title fight

So back to business, could we keep hold of our slender lead and see out the league for our 55th top flight title? It was a proper title fight, drop in form, twists and turns and it went to the final day. This blog was given a shout out on a latest Deep Lying Podcast which was great so thanks for the continued support.

Transfers in

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You may remember that I despised paying Phillipe Senderos £16k per week as our second highest paid player, he had to go. To facilitate this move I needed to bring in some players in at centre back, I moved for Tyias Browning who would be more of a squad player, I know he’s safe and dependable but on the last day of the window I went and secured the loan of Reece Oxford.

Rangers were rumoured to be looking to loan him and with his potential ability very high, I felt this was a good move to make. At some point he’s the type of player I’d like to attract permanently but for now a loan deal is a good alternative. He slots in the first 11 straight away.

The last signing was Jack Paterson signed from Killie for £125k possibly leading to £155k, he is 16 years old and is a potential 5 star player. For a Scottish young talent at that price it was a no brainer, Jack is a technical centre midfielder with first touch of 15 and passing at 11 at his age.

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Disclaimer – I forgot to screenshot the players upon joining so had to do it in my current part of the save, sorry.

Transfers out

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Not much to report here but Fraser Aird left on loan again to Hamilton, Crooks went to Killie on a similar loan deal with both players not in my long term plans it made sense. Senderos left on a free but we freed up £16k per week, well £12k per week as I got lumped with paying £4k p/w of his wages until the summer but a good deal I think.

Lastly Ursene Mouanda left on a free with no hopes of making it with us, good luck to the kid. Further attempts to move on Joey Barton and Matt Gilks proved impossible and this was £25k per week being wasted, that’s £1.25 million a year we could save.

Youth intake

We had a fairly positive youth intake, the majority weren’t good enough but we had a very promising left back in Owen Miller who could be a 4-5 star potential player, Greg Connely who is a left winger who has potential ranging from 3.5-4.5 stars and lastly Ross Anderson a striker who has 3 stars potential. I’m working on their personalities by tutoring them to help their development.

As I mentioned above we signed Jack Paterson from Killie in a potential £155k deal and he has some great attributes – 15 first touch, 13 technique, 11 passing and 14 for vision. Excited for his future with us.

We also seen good strides in the development of Jack Thomson, a 17 year old flexible at either centre back, defensive midfield or central midfield and has 4-5 star potential and a determined personality which is encouraging.

To add further quality to our under 20 ranks, I signed Barry Barr (£45k), Jonny Mitchell (30k) and Steven Farqhuar (free). Barr is a potential 4-5 star wide man with a professional personality and incredible physical stats, Mitchell is a 3-4 potential star centre back signed from Falkirk who are known to have a good youth academy. Lastly Farqhuar was on a free from Queens Park, I took a chance on him but doesn’t look good enough.

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Scottish Premiership

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17 games, 14 wins and just 2 defeats seems a strong second half of season and it was in most places but was it enough to win the league title? Memorable wins include the 5-2 win over Hearts at Tynecastle with Jamie Walker returning with deadly effect with 2 goals, delightful. A 3-0 win over Aberdeen away was also a great result with Jordan Rossiter, Matthew Knox and Jason Holt sharing the goals but it was the 1-0 victory over Celtic on the penultimate day that swung the league in our favour.

The 0-1 defeat to Dundee brings up fresh memories but in game it was a game we deserved to win so quite annoying and then we capitulated against Celtic 4-1, these Old Firm games were becoming high scoring events and Dembele scored a hatrick. He is deadly and would finish the season on 36 goals.

We went into the split in 2nd place, one point behind Celtic and when we drew with Partick Thistle and Celtic won I knew the league was slipping away however Celtic then drew with Aberdeen allowing us to capitalise to bring the gap to 2 points and within our own hands.

Win the last 3 games and we would win the league, 1-0 victories over Aberdeen and Celtic at Ibrox resulted in taking the league fight to the last day with Waghorn scoring in the 89th minute in the Old Firm derby, scenes! The stage was set, Ibrox , Saturday 3pm against Hearts – win and title 55 was ours and we put on a dominant display to run out 2-0 winners.

Barrie Mckay opened the scoring after a delightful bit of hold up play and then through ball by Martyn Waghorn and then the title was secured in the second half when Mckay went down the left wing and cut it back for Waghorn to smash it in. Those 2 developed a great understanding of each other and went a long way to a successful season.

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Scottish cup

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So that’s two trophies down but could we complete the treble? This has been achieved on 7 previous occasions in the history of the club and hasn’t been achieved since season 2002/2003, we started off in the fourth round against Dundee United and were going through until a 92nd minute Tope Obdeyi goal on the break meant a replay was forced.

Celtic were then drawn in the fifth round and at Ibrox we taught them a football lesson, smashing them 5-1 with goals from Josh Windass and doubles from the excellent due of Barrie Mckay and Martyn Waghorn with Dembele scoring for Celtic. Mckay also had 2 assists and was the star of the game once again. Stats below…

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A closer 1-0 win over Partick Thistle followed in the quarter finals before the real battle commenced in the semi final stage, Aberdeen were our opponents and I’m not sure if it was tiredness but we were shocking but were 2-0 up through captain Lee Wallace and Reece Oxford before Aberdeen scored in the 74th and 88th minute to take it to extra time.

Jordan Rossiter then stood up, thought this is our time and belted it from around 30 yards out in the 113th minute and put Rangers fans into celebrations that would last 7-10 days..

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Final – A day for revenge

Hibs had won the Scottish cup final against us just one season ago so it was quite fitting it was a re-run of that final again, I’ll be honest by this point in the season the goals were drying up but we rarely conceded and that followed in this game.

We were awful, a side devoid of ideas running low on energy but we weren’t going to be beat today, not again and we ground out the win after a goal worthy of winning a final. Mckay took the pass from Wallace on the half way line, jinked inside played a one-two with Waghorn who controls and back heels it to Mckay who takes it on the run and smashes it from just outside of the box.

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Best performers

Barrie Mckay – Barrie delivered an outstanding season finishing with 22 goals, 9 assists and 7 man of the match displays in 40 games. He also missed 6 weeks of action in March but came back for the run in and was vital in goals to win us the title and the Scottish cup. 7.35 avg rating.

Martyn Waghorn – Martyn surprised me with a deadly season in front of goal and lead the line superbly, 29 goals and 13 assists in 35 starts shows how important he is. Another who was out for a period 9 weeks to be exact.7.36 avg rating.

James Tavernier – Unlike irl Tavernier was a dependable full back and topped our average rating at 7.57, 6 goals (all free kicks), 7 assists and 6 man of the match awards in 51 starts completed a strong season.

Very few players had bad seasons with Danny Wilson with a 7.5 avg rating, Jordan Rossiter 7.26 avg rating and Reece Oxford 7.34 avg rating getting notable mentions.

Finances

A quick note to say we made a profit of £657,886 in our first season, without any European football I’m happy with that.

So treble winners in our debut season, have to be delighted with that but lots to do, I received a new contract until 2019 and the board agreed to upgrade our youth facilities. We have the tricky champions league qualifying rounds to get through but a lot of potential money if we make the group stages and can we defend our league title?

Thank you for reading, it is really appreciated. If you also want to discuss anything you can ask me anything on my twitter which is below or on the comments section here.

Twitter – @JohnMcIntosh19

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Author: johnmcintosh92

football obsessive, blog about my football team Rangers, cover their youth side for a magazine and football manager addict and new fm blogger

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