Well, what a difference a year makes and all that. This time last year my biggest concern when writing the equivalent piece was holding down the rising bile and thus avoiding chuntering all over my keyboard. So utterly feckless were the impostors who made up the Rangers side that they were lucky to collect 10 points collectively, never mind individually. It was, as I said at the time, the first Rangers squad that contained players I genuinely hated. A year later, I have been returned to the far healthier position of, y’know, quite liking them again.
What changed, of course, was the arrival of Mark Warburton and recruitment of younger, fitter players. A work ethos seemed to emanate from the top down and was immediately noticeable to a support who’d grown accustomed to players sauntering about the park disinterestedly while waiting for the cheque to clear. A telling moment came in an early 3-0 League Cup win over Peterhead at Ibrox – six or seven players were involved in a passage of play which involved tracking back, winning the ball, bursting forward to try to get a shot in then closing down the clearing Peterhead player. This was in the 83rd minute with the side 3 up. Ibrox gave them a spontaneous standing ovation just for the effort, something which clearly moved the players. It was like ditching a bastard of a partner and striking lucky on Tinder straight away.
Anyway, enough waffle, here are the individual ratings. If you disagree with anything, please @ The Terrace and not me. If you agree, @ me about how great I am and how you dream of us becoming mates.
Wes Foderingham – 6
An ever-present this season, Wes was a big improvement on the clowns we had between the sticks last season. Admittedly, the Venus Di Milo after eight pints of fairly hefty lager would have been a step up, but still. Mostly solid but with enough errors throughout the season to suggest he hasn’t fully nailed down the spot for next season yet.
Lee Wallace – 8
A man reborn under Warburton, Wallace has played very well for most of the season and conducted himself exactly the way you’d want a captain to. Needs to work on occasional defensive lapses but overall an excellent campaign.
James Tavernier – 7
Started the season like a bullet train but dipped badly just before Christmas before picking up as the season went on. 15 goals from right-back is exceptional in any league. Has had a few defensive shockers though so still room for improvement.
Danny Wilson – 5
An up and down campaign from the ex-Hearts skipper which saw him benched after a very shaky spell. No doubting his talent but lack of concentration at times costs him. Capable of better and will benefit from a proper holding midfielder.
Rob Kiernan – 7
Similar to his partner in that good displays could occasionally be jeopardised by silly mistakes. Equally, the caveat also applies that it can’t have been easy playing in what could often turn into a 2-0-8 formation when the team got over-excited. Still improving.
Andy Halliday – 7
Thought about a 6 as his form did dip but it has to be remembered that he was playing a position he hadn’t played often before and did so very well. Plus, he’s staunch, so there’s the extra point. Much loved by the fans but will face serious threat to his starting berth next season and may actually feature more as a wide player.
Jason Holt – 8
I love Jason Holt. Intelligent, hardworking, scores goals and is vital in knitting together possession when we try to pass through packed defences. Had an absolutely fantastic first season for us.
Gideon Zelalem – 6
Very, very talented player, always has time on the ball and rarely wastes possession. Slightly frustrating at times and he does need to add more penetration to his game. However, you can easily see if he keeps improving what a good player he could become.
Dean Shiels – 5
Permasub. Has actually done quite well off the bench this season, tempered by usually being really poor when he started. Made a contribution though.
Nicky Law – 3
Nicky Law’s time at Rangers can best be described as ‘a thing that happened’. Gaffer clearly didn’t fancy him and he was used sparingly. Will leave in the summer.
Harry Forrester – 7
The man with the lovely testicles stepped up when Martyn Waghorn got injured and fired in several vital goals to get us over the line in the Championship. Looking forward to seeing him after a proper pre-season. Looks to get a shot away as often as possible, a great attribute in a side which can occasionally get bogged down in sterile possession. Also, he’s pure sex. Admit it. The man is gorgeous.
Dom Ball – 6
Played here and CH this season and did well. Would not be upset to see him return for a second spell.
Barrie McKay – 9
Fantastic season from a player who looked surplus to requirements last summer. Works incredibly hard – Wallace misses the cover he provides when he’s not there – superb link-up play, fast and now adding goals to his repertoire. Also scored a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ goal in successive matches. Quite the feat.
Kenny Miller – 8
I thought he was done last season. I then thought he might have something as a sub. I was wrong; he’s been immense and been one of the players of the season. Superb campaign from the veteran and looks like MW rates him as a coaching prospect too.
Michael O’Halloran – 5
Sadly his best game at Ibrox came AGAINST Rangers and has taken time to settle since his move. Showed glimpses of what he can do and his pace could well prove to be a useful asset next season when teams sit in less against us.
Martyn Waghorn – 9
My player of the season. Goals, workrate, pace, strength and hits a decent penalty. Throw in a turkey and a family argument and you’ve got Christmas. Looking forward to seeing how he does in a stronger league next season.
Billy King – 5
Obvious nomenclature jokes aside, King arrived in January – his mode of transport still unverified – and his memorable winner 89th minute winner against Falkirk was a huge goal for us.
Nicky Clark – 4
If God loves a trier, he must adore Nicky Clark. Sadly, God didn’t see fit to give him talent to match. Works incredibly hard but just doesn’t have the ability. Still, had a memorable night with the injury-time winner against Kilmarnock in the Scottish Cup and had three years at his boyhood heroes.
David Templeton, Liam Burt, Jordan Thompson, Fraser Aird and Ryan Hardie all made appearances but not enough to garner a rating.
Seriously, what do you think I’m going to say? To go from the previous management team to this one is akin to being grabbed from a disappointing handjob off a £10 hooker and bundled into the sheets with Jennifer Lawrence. A real step-up in class.
I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.
Written by David Edgar