The Rangers Way: Road to Wembley

In the previous update we detailed that we had sadly been beaten by Celtic in the League cup final, finished 3rd in our Champions League group and would face Copenhagen and were top of the league by 10 points from Hibs and 11 points from Celtic after 21 league games. First thing is our transfer business in January and we secured a big signing.

Transfers in

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I had a bit of money to spend in January after asking the board for more money for transfers and they gave me £9 million but I moved about half of this to our wage budget. Brandon Robertson a talented striker from Hamilton at 16 years old at the time of signing and Kieran Robb a 4 star 16 year old, centre back from Inverness were positive deals to compliment an already strong under 20 side.

Jon Toral was at the time performing very poorly, despite positive attributes this wasn’t helping me so I needed a player that can unlock defences and Ravel Morrison popped up for £1.1 million and £20.5k p/w and seems a good deal.

Then Tin Jedvaj was transfer listed by Leverkusen and we bid the asking price of £2.7 million instantly but after offering our contract, Celtic bloody offered him a contract so I went back in to offer an extra £5k p/w to be sure and we won the race for him. Finally on the last day of the window Luka Jovic was listed for loan and he has been a god for me on previous versions so snapped him up.

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Transfers out

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So we allowed a few under 20 players with no hopes with us out on loan but I won’t bore you with going into detail with them, Jai Quitongo has been terrible so loaned to Bristol City which is a good level, Josh Windass went to Leeds as his playing time has been non existent due to better quality, Rob Kiernan went to Hearts as again playing time limited and Harry Forrester went on loan for similar reasoning to Nottingham Forest.

Oh yeah we got Joey Barton to fuck as well, it may have taken 18 bloody months but he’s gone to Bradford – we’re paying £10k per week to the end of the season (50% of his wages) but it’s a decent saving for a player who never played for us.

Road to Wembley

Last 32 – Rangers vs Copenhagen (2-0 agg)

A frustrating first leg tie where it finished 0-0 despite us battering their goal all game and we could feel aggrieved not to have won comfortably but great character to win 2-0 away in a very tight game. Barrie Mckay played a delightful ball into the box and Hourihane ran on to the ball to finish well before Torres peeled off his man to receive the corner around 15 yards out before drilling low to make it 2-0.

Last 16 – Rangers v Olympiakos (5-0 agg)

First up was the home leg and we were by far the stronger side with 18 shots to 5 against, 9 on target to 0 against and 59% of the ball. Hourihane started us off scoring a tap in after great play on the left by Mckay and a perfect cross, Tarkowski scored from a Roberts cross before a beautiful 12 pass move as seen below finished by Ravel Morrison made it 3-0 at Ibrox.

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In the away leg we would win 2-0 with goals from Jon Toral and Luka Jovic both coming in the second half to secure our place in the quarter finals and we were gathering a bit of momentum now and surpassing my expectations.

Quarter finals – Rangers vs Dynamo Kiev (6-3 agg)

A hatrick from Luka Jovic gave us a 3-0 lead at Ibrox in the first leg before we lost two goals in 6 second half minutes to cut the lead to 3-2 and to be fair they gave us a fright in the second half. The 2 away goals could  have been vital…

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Potentially our best display all season given Kiev is never an easy place to come and that they had 2 away goals so were in a decent position to attack us but we dominated the game and Barrie Mckay was on the ball a lot, 102 completed passes is sensational. Rossiter first was a great goal with Toral playing a back heel pass into the space vacated which Rossiter took advantage of finishing from 20 yards. Toral and Hourihane would finish off Kiev, semis here we go!

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Semi final – Rangers vs Celtic (3-1 agg)

I was pleased to avoid PSG here as we drew our greatest rivals who were weaker than us by a bit in the league but stunning for Scottish football, the first leg was played at Celtic Park and they went 1-0 up through loanee striker Ze Gomes who is always a handful but nothing like Dembele’s level thankfully, we would respond by Luka Jovic laying off for the on rushing Rossiter who placed it in the bottom corner. 1-1 it would end in a nervy affair but delighted with the away goal.

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This game was anything but close as we hammered Celtic and the 2-0 scoreline really flattered them, Jedvaj got the goal to send us through after just 5 minutes, the ball was worked into Toral who shot was deflected in to the net by the Croat, Rossiter would seal the win on the 20th minute and send Rangers to the fifth European final in their history.

Chants from around Ibrox could be heard of “Que sera sera whatever will be will be, we’re going to Wembley, que sera sera!”

Final – Rangers vs PSG (0-3)

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As above I decided to do my first ever live tweeting of an FM game, the odds were stacked against us but thought it would be fun and generate a bit of interest in the blog. PSG had a net spent of £189 million this season, ours stood at £4.9 million. Their line up below for the final shows the difference in quality, I’m sorry but for the Europa League that is just insane and despite a more conservative set up from us to counter them they had far too much for us.

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Lucas Moura put them 1 up but despite their dominance it was 1-0 by 60 minutes so I went more attacking and Jovic had our only clear cut chance of the game, a 1 on 1 played in from Rossiter but hit it right at Sirigu and PSG would add two late goals from Auba and Matuidi.

It’s hard to be too annoyed given the strength of PSG and us exceeding expectations but positive news for Scottish football as for season 2019/2020 we will have an automatic side in the group stages and also 2nd place will contest the Champions League qualifying stages.

Scottish Premiership

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Look at those beautiful green dots, the only annoying aspect is that despite being the far better and dominant side we would lose three times to Celtic this season with 2 of those defeats coming in the league  stopping us having an unbeaten league season.

We went into some detail for our run to Wembley so I won’t break it down game by game but instead give you some numbers – we hit 96 points which represented a 7 point improvement from last season and seen us hit 91 goals, a 14 goal improvement and our goal difference of +58 was a 17 goal improvement too so very real progress.

We were really strong in the second half of the league season with 46 points gained from a possible 51 on offer, with 15 wins in 17 games and would win the league by a massive 22 points, the 4-1 battering of Celtic was impressive away from home with Barrie Mckay getting 3 goals.

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Scottish Cup

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We would navigate a potential massive upset in Cove Rangers and then saw off St Johnstone in a tight game before Dundee would come back from 2 down to equalise before we saw them off in ruthless style 4-0 at Ibrox with goals coming from Fernando Torres and another Barrie Mckay hatrick.

Aberdeen were then battered as our free flowing football was gathering some momentum, 5 goals in a cup semi against a rival is always a good way of getting to the final before we would face Hibs, again. This would be the same final three years in a row now.

We were poor here and looking back I’m not surprised as some of our main players had played 63 games this season before this cup final but individual brilliance from loanee Patrick Roberts who would score twice in the 74th and 76th minute would see us 2-1 victors.

5 trophies in 2 seasons as we aim to dominate Scottish football and our European run would see us slightly ahead of schedule in my plan.

Performers

Barrie Mckay was by far my player of the season with 29 goals, 16 assists and a 7.35 average rating,  again James Tavernier was excellent from right back and even improved defensively but going forward he created 15 assists and scored 7 goals all from free kicks.

In terms of signings who impressed, Tin Jedvaj was a rock at the back and a 7.53 average rating is testament to that and very excited to have him for many years, Conor Hourihane also began to contribute for his first season with 12 goals and 9 assists helping the team. Also Luka Jovic scored 14 goals in 16 starts to push us to the end of the season.

Finally Foderingham picked up a long term injury and Robby McCrorie stepped up massively to the point he is now my number one.

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Youth

We had 2 decent talents in our youth intake in Connor Adams and Michael Ramsay both 16 years of age who we’ll see how they develop but also went and signed John Connoly from Hamilton who are renowned as having a good youth system but his personality needs worked on, Martin Love was available for just £18k from St Mirren and looks to have some decent attributes.

Finally though our best young signing was 16 year old Ben Kane from Partick Thistle who we parted with some £275k for but I think he’s going to be a star, a lot of the attributes for a centre back are already at a decent level and he’s a driven personality, despite what that screenshot says he is now a potential 5 star player.

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As an aside to this at the end of the season I promoted three youth players as I mention previously, those were Barry Barr, Owen Miller and Jack Thomson who have all really improved and developed to a first team standard now.

Owen Miller is attracting serious interest from Liverpool and I have had to reject several derisory bids, Jack Thomson has attracted interest from Everton and Barry Barr came on as a 57th minute sub and finished the game on his debut with 3 goals and 1 assist, incredible for a 17 year old.

Also finally, our improvement to our youth facilities are set to be completed by January 2019 which will hopefully help with development of our future talents.

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Finance

I forgot to take a screenshot of our finances but we made a profit of £17,270,519 this season which was obviously helped by our run to the Europa final, wage costs risen and we had a net spend of £4.9 million so all in all a decent financial result.

Funny

As has been pointed out on my slack channel, my Director of Football is called Ralph Minge who does have decent attributes and a scout I signed at the same time is called Santi Coch for any immature people haha!

Again I’m hopeful of the next update being out in around 10 days time, what did you make of this season? Would you have set up different against PSG? Thoughts on the Road to Wembley?

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, speak on slack or on the comments section here.

Twitter – @JohnMcIntosh19

 

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Author: johnmcintosh19

Football obsessed, football manager addict who has ventured into FM blogging with Leeds on FM18

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