In the pantheon of things that cost a lot of money to assemble and just weren’t worth it, you immediately think of the classics: the Millennium Dome, Heaven’s Gate, the Segway… to that exalted list must be added ‘Rangers first team 2014-15’. Yes, from the people who brought you Fran Sandaza on 5k a week and ‘the difference in fitness between full-time teams and part-time teams these days is minimal’ came Ally’s last army – and what a shower it was. Featuring overpaid older talent lest anybody younger actually be given a chance, the team which McCoist had built started badly and got progressively worse. While performances were often sub-standard, wages certainly weren’t as McCoist’s folly enraged supporters and threatened to permanently scar his illustrious reputation at Ibrox. Here’s how they rated.
Cammy Bell – 5
Hard to judge due to missing 35 games with a serious shoulder injury, the jury remains out on whether the former Kilmarnock ‘keeper is up to the job. But his claims for a first-team spot were only cemented by the performances of his deputies.
Steve Simonsen – 1
You know when you watch one of those pro-celebrity games that Robbie Williams seems to organise every year? They invariably feature a celeb like Jamie Theakston in goals who does surprisingly well and you think ‘he’s really good!’ allowing for the fact that he isn’t actually a professional sportsman. That’s Simonsen. He looks really decent for an amateur moonlighting as a player. As a professional footballer, however, he is utterly dismal. One can only assume his re-signing was due to every other keeper in the world being unavailable when Ally called last summer.
Lee Robinson – 2
After injuries threatened to make Ally have to actually play a young player, he signed this dud for some reason. While slightly less bad than Simonsen, he’s still garbage. Looks like Avid Merrion and, sadly, kept goal like him too.
Ricky Foster – 2
Opinion is divided on Mr. Amy MacDonald; some say he’s a useless Aberdeen reject, while others maintain he’s a hairy useless Aberdeen reject. Looks like the uncoordinated kid who flings himself about at a school disco in a transparent attempt to impress the girls, fails and ends up cementing his status as a total spod. Runs like he has two pounds of hardening faeces in his pants. Has a relationship with the actual ball akin to that most of us have with a wasp – wary, distrustful, best avoided.
Sebastian Faure – 2
Lost weight. Rarely seen to show off new svelte figure.
Darren McGregor – 6
Rangers player of the year, the former St. Mirren man has had a solid season. Often shunted to right-back to accommodate Lee McCulloch, he’s usually discharged his duties in a calm, professional manner. In this Rangers team, these qualities made him look like Franco Baresi playing with some tramps in a park.
Marius Zaliukas – 4
The Lithuanian trained with Rangers for four weeks last summer, before turning down a deal in favour of a move to Leeds United. After failing down there, he trained with Rangers for four weeks before signing a two-year deal, the longest of any contract offered last summer. After such a long courtship, it was therefore somewhat surprising when Ally decided by October that he didn’t rate him and banished him to the wilderness. Re-emerged under Stuart McCall and did okay. Lacks pace and occasionally bombscareish, but decent in the air.
Lee McCulloch – 1
Absolutely dreadful campaign from a player who became the fans’ whipping boy. In his defence, he should never be in a defence. The staggering delusion that he somehow was a centre-half was cruelly and often demonstrated by Championship strikers as utter fallacy. His total ineptness, tendency to feign a head injury at least once a match and his incessant pointing are a sad legacy for a chap who did have some great moments in his Gers career. While some may doubt his motives, the fact is McCulloch DID stay when others bailed and for that I thank him.
Bilel Mohsni – 1
I had thought last season that there may be a player somewhere inside the big Tunisian, but this season confirmed that if there was, the player had long since legged it. Zero concentration, slow, easily wound up by opposition fans. Credit is due for not allowing his unerring ability to hoof passes into the stand put him off continually doing so.
Lee Wallace – 5
Up and down season for the fans’ favourite. Had some real shockers – the 3-0 defeat at Palmerston springs to mind – and certainly looked like the continuing morass had finally brought him down to everyone else’s level. However, he sparked again under McCall and hopefully having actual footballers around him in the future might help him maintain his usually good form.
Steven Smith – 2
Great free-kick against Queen of the South. That accounted for three of his points. He lost one for the red against Hearts. We could have signed Andrew Robertson but Ally wanted ‘experience’. Call me a heartless cynic if you must, but I’d prefer if we’d just concentrate on ‘talent’.
Ian Black – 1
People often say of irritating players ‘opposition fans hate him, but they’d love him if he played for their team’. Well, Ian Black does play for my team and I still can’t fucking stand him. Lacks the positional discipline to play as a holding midfielder, poor in the tackle and with limited passing skills, it’s been hard to see what he brings to the side. This may explain his virtual disappearance under Stuart McCall.
Kyle Hutton – 1
A puzzling one. The slothful midfielder can’t pass, can’t tackle, isn’t quick, isn’t good in the air, doesn’t have good stamina and doesn’t score goals. He is literally no good at anything to do with football yet continues to earn a career as a footballer. I genuinely think he’ll end up playing Juniors in the next couple of years because, truthfully, that’s his level. A mystery that anyone in the club thought he was worth a 12-month deal last summer.
Dean Shiels – 5
Revitalised by Stuart McCall, Shiels turnaround has demonstrated that it wasn’t just the fans who were left scratching their heads at McCoist’s tactics (or lack thereof). Often looked lost in his vaguely Number 10ish role under the old boss, under McCall he has been given a set of defined duties and performed them well. Good energy, decent passer and scores his share too.
Nicky Law – 5
Many have been quick to criticise the Englishman, but the fact that he is Rangers top scorer should not be overlooked. While he can go missing at times, he can be very useful in unlocking a defence and is always trying to make something happen. Certainly not a top-class player by any means, but there have been far worse performers in light blue this season. Speaking of which….
David Templeton – 0
Hard to know where to start here. Blamed lack of guidance under McCoist for his dearth of success at Rangers, which is a point of view I’d normally have some sympathy for. But it doesn’t explain his inability to dominate matches against part-time opposition for two years, his dreadful crossing, lack of impact and complete absence of heart. Insipid, cowardly displays were occasionally enlivened by a hint of petulance or a greet about having to play on a plastic pitch. A gigantic waste of money and a testament to the previous manager’s transfer strategy.
Lewis MacLeod – 8
Sob. Sniff. Cracking wee player who seems to be struggling with injuries at Brentford. Should he wish to come home, we’ll welcome him with open arms. Lots of talent which, with the right nurturing, could be transformed into something special.
Andy Murdoch – 7
The tiny Justin Bieber lookalike plays with a maturity far beyond his years and seems to have the ideal temperament to make it through. Organised, unfussy and does the simple things well. His positional sense is fantastic and it’s wonderful how often he’s in the right place to make vital interceptions or tackles. Looking forward to watching him develop.
Fraser AIrd – 3
Bit of a lost season for the winger, who seems to have dropped right out of the manager’s plans. Good engine and can occasionally be threatening but his distribution simply has to improve if he’s to have any chance of making it at a decent level. Next season is key.
Haris Vuckic – 8
Easily Rangers best player in the second half of the season. Lovely touch, good vision and has scored some cracking goals. Probably lacks the pace to play at the very top level for Newcastle, but has been a stand-out for us this season.
Kenny Miller – 5
Let’s be honest, he’s completely shot as a player but no-one can deny his workrate and his attitude has stood out like a beacon amongst the wasters around the club. Scored a few important goals along the way, but really should consider hanging up the boots.
Nicky Clark – 3
A player most Gers fans would love to see make it, Clark works hard, trains well and gives you his all. He deserves to be a success. However, football is a cruel business and sadly the one thing that seems to be holding him back is the most important – lack of talent. He’s just not good enough and his 41-goal season at Queen of the South increasingly looks like a fluke. I’d love to be proved wrong.
Kris Boyd – 2
Believe it or not, he gets the two for effort. Boyd has tried his best, he’s just been woeful. Has had long, long spells of serious banjo/cow’s arse interface inability. It’s puzzling but he can’t claim he hasn’t had many chances, he’s just missed most of them. A shadow even of the player who did so will at Rugby Park last season. Still, doesn’t look like he’s let the worry affect his appetite.
Jon Daly – 2
Always injured, fairly immobile when not so.
Well, that’s it then. I’d like to see Murdoch, Wallace and Vukic again. For the rest it varies between ‘meh’ and ‘get out and never, ever come back.’ One thing that is certain, when this season ends, let’s never speak of it again.
WRITTEN BY DAVID EDGAR
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