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Stephen Craigan: Rangers flops need to show guts for battle

Alarm bells must be ringing after The Rangers couldn’t beat Stirling Albion, who prior to Saturday's game where officially the worst side in Scottish senior football sitting 42nd out of 42 teams.

Ally McCoist said it wasn’t an embarrassment and that he felt more disappointed, and I agree with him to an extent as both teams are in the same league, but surely the Rangers players will be humiliated at such an abject performance and result.

That’s four away games in the Scottish Third division and they have yet to win any of them. Some say it’s the manager’s fault, others talk about the surroundings and small stadiums that the players aren’t used to, but is it just simply that the players aren’t good enough?

Shocks in football happen, of course they do. That’s what makes football special, on any given day anyone can beat anyone else like when Roy Keane made his Celtic debut in 2006 away to lowly Clyde in the Scottish Cup and the Hoops embarrassingly lost 2-1, Gordon Strachan was in charge.

Rangers also suffered a similar defeat in the Scottish Cup in 1987 under Graeme Souness at home to Hamilton Academicals when they lost 1-0.

It’s about how you react however, both those sides went on to secure the Scottish league title after the setbacks which was down strong individual characters within the dressing room and of course good players.

The same can’t be said of the current Rangers side as they had warnings already at Peterhead, Berwick and Annan with poor results before Saturday’s shocker at Stirling.

The players’ ability is now in question as it isn’t a one-off. Time and time again the players haven’t fulfilled what their manager or fans expect of them.

When you consider Ian Black was man of the match in the Scottish Cup final in May for Hearts, Deans Shiels was among four nominees for the Player of the Year award in the SPL last season and captain Lee McCulloch has played in the English Premier League and won EIGHT major trophies at Rangers it’s inconceivable to think they aren’t good enough for the Scottish Third Division.

The signings of unknown foreign players has left a lot of people questioning Ally McCoist's transfer policy and I don’t think he can argue with that so far. Emilson Cribari, Sebastian Faure and Anestis Argyriou have all struggled to cope with the physical demands of the Scottish game and have yet to convince the fans that they have what it takes.

The only bright spot so far is the emergence of young talent coming to the fore. Lewis McLeod, Barrie Mackay, Fraser Aird and Robbie Crawford have enhanced their reputations.

These young players should be allowed to develop and progress in their own time and the senior players should be carrying them in certain games.

Unfortunately it’s been the other way round; the young players have been carrying the burden of reviving this great football club, which is worrying.

Attitude, hard work and desire are the least a footballer should give on a match day.

I understand players have a bad game, play a bad pass and make mistakes but not to have the guts to match that of your opponent is unacceptable.

That is what people are questioning about the current squad; do they have the heart for a battle or do they lack the quality? Only the players can answer that.

Charles Green was quoted as saying last week Rangers won’t play in the SPL as long as he’s chief executive.

I think after Saturday's result he’s got bigger issues rather than worrying about Rangers playing in the SPL.

Belfast Telegraph


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