Welcome back to The Rangers Way as we detail what happened from January until the end of season 4, could we go unbeaten for a full league season? Would we shock Real Madrid? Let’s find out.
There isn’t really much to discuss in terms of transfers, we let a few under 20 players go out on 6 month loan deals in January and we also made Thomas Lemar a permanent signing for a bargain £5 million and that’s it so we’ll get to the football.
We won our group which involved Atletico Madrid so I was very pleased with how we had fared albeit in an easier group than normal, for winning the group we would face Real Madrid. I felt this was very unlucky but we had to go and try and match them.
Real were by far the more attacking and better side over the two legs and duly won 5-2 on aggregate however there were several key moments. In the first and away leg we were 2-0 down before Jovic would sweep an inviting Barry Barr cross home in the 82nd minute.
2-1 would have been a great result to take home but Ronaldo would strike in the 94th minute and get his hatrick. In the home leg we gave it a good go and despite Bale putting Real 1-0 up, we hit back via Zach Clough on the 45th minute, Barrie Mckay missed a golden chance from the penalty spot on the 30th minute.
Real would then win the game on the night through a sublime Lacazette finish, their side has great quality throughout and comfortably won but if those 2 big moments in the tie had went for us then it would have been close. Ifs and buts maybe, however this is good progress from us.
We had went 21 league games in season 2019/2020 unbeaten and we needed to stay unbeaten for another 17 league games for an invincibles seasons, we did it even if the last 6 games had some nervy moments in them.
I think I mentioned in the last update that Dundee were doing very well and they finished a decent 3rd place just behind Celtic, so to smash them 6-2 in the split was impressive. We had been incredible defensively this season but I’m not sure what happened in the split as we lost 10 goals in 5 games having lost only 14 in 33 games prior to that stage.
Coming to the end of the season knowing the unbeaten season was on, I know despite Celtic having another poor season that they would be the most likely opponents to stop me and reflected that in 2 draws.
11 wins in a row from Celtic at Ibrox in January until Dundee in April showed our dominance including a 6-0 romp over Partick Thistle and 4-1 away win over Aberdeen.
There were a few outstanding performers but we’ll come to them near the end but now for the league table below. A record number of points under my management of 100, record number of goals scored of 99, record low number of goals conceded of 24 and a record points difference of 36 points to 2nd place Celtic.
We knew that having won the League cup and the league smashed that the Scottish cup would represent a third clean sweep of domestic trophies and we were goal friendly in the competition this season.
We opened our run up with a 4-0 rout of St Mirren who managed by Lee McCulloch seemed to have a problem with me and stated his team were still better after the heavy loss..
Hearts would prove to be tough opposition in the 5th round taking a shock lead against us before three goals by James Tavernier, Zach Clough and Abdelhak Nouri before a late consolation goal from Hearts finished the game 3-2 to the Gers.
Celtic would be swept aside in a dominant 3-0 victory in the quarter final stage with Nouri, Clough and Barr scoring however the performance was much closer than the scoreline suggests, before we faced Falkirk who would finish bottom of the Premiership and duly hit 5 against them.
This time we were the far better side and controlled it from the first minute, goals coming from a double from Clough, Tavernier, Thomson and an own goal from former Ranger Luca Gasparotto.
A final against Killie who would finish the Premiership in 9th place was hardly a daunting fixture and we showed up properly for once in a cup final, dominating possession by 65% and having 19 shots to just one against. Lemar, Clough, Mckay and a goal from man of the match Mikkel Eide who was deputising for the suspended Tavernier was enough to seal a comfortable Scottish cup win.
This win takes our trophy haul to 11 trophies from 12 possible domestic trophies in 4 seasons, consider that in Rangers history they have amassed 7 trebles, we have taken that to 10 in just 4 years. Brilliant work.
Squad value increases
I wrote at the end of last week about exploiting elite clubs with Sergi Samper held up as an example but I also noted at our players massive increase in price at the end of season 4 with most players doubling or even tripling their valuations. Post is here https://johnmcintosh19.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/sergi-samper-an-experitment-in-exploiting-the-interest-from-elite-clubs/
Value of players – March 2020
Value of players – June 2020
I’d say most of our squad performed very strongly but the top mentions have to go to three. James Tavernier with 7 goals and 19 assists from right wing back is very good once again despite my assistant report showing him as only a 2.5 star player for my side now.
Zach Clough with 30 goals and 14 assists showed his worth this season although feel his all round play could be better to link up the play at times.
However our standout player was for me, Thomas Lemar. 25 goals and 23 assists in 49 starts is a very good debut season and he scored many important goals in the Champions League group stage especially.
As FMSamo has mentioned in his own blog, Lemar is one of if not my favourite player I’ve managed in FM2017. The directness and effectiveness of his play is just a delight to watch, so far he has had no desire to leave however if he did I’d want £50 million plus.
Other notable mentions go to Abdelhak Nouri with 12 goals and 13 assists in his debut season, Owen Miller with an average rating of 7.50 over 51 games and he really provides strong defensive balance to the otherwise attacking Tavernier on the other side. Finally Robby McCrorie improved making 30 clean sheets in 55 games.
Only one kid from our youth intake this year stands out and it’s Brian Martin, I’m quite excited by his potential. Nothing really stands out massively but he just looks a very well rounded player and remember he’s only 16 years old and has been capped at u19 national level too.
In other news
Some progress made so thought it was best to share it, after another good season in Europe we moved up 10 places to 28th in the European club rankings with just 3 of the 5 seasons filled up having played in Europe. I’ve worked out if we only get an average co-efficient per season of 15 points over the next 2 seasons we’d end up around 14th position. Our average co-efficient point over the last three seasons is 23.05.
Financially it’s been a strange time, player wages are quite high but within our budget but it’s something I am thinking of bringing down slightly to give us profit, last season we made a £3.75 million loss despite making the last 16 of the Champions League and winning the treble. Our net transfer spend in that time was just £2.5 million too but somehow we moved from 97th to 51st richest club in the world with our club value rising to £223 million.
As a league, the Scottish Premiership moved up three places to 8th position behind Russia in 7th who get their league winners as first seeds in the Champions League. Breaking in to the top 7 has to be the target.
In terms of the Hall of fame for the best managers whilst managing within Scotland, I moved up from 9th to 6th best, there is a bit of a gap now to 5th but we’ll keep plugging away.
The champions League final was contested by Bilbao and Sporting Lisbon with Biblao winning 1-0 in a final no one would have expected, veteran Susaeta with the only goal of the game.
I think that’s everything covered for season 4, a dominant season and some progress in the Champions League, what do we need to do to take it to the next level?
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, join and speak on my slack channel “johnmcintosh-19” or in the comments section here, I’d love some interaction on this series and please RT the promoted tweet, it really helps.
Twitter – @JohnMcIntosh19