• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Spiers on Saturday: why old ones are best in eyes of McCoist

The jokes are flying thick and fast these days about Ally McCoist's "youth policy" at Rangers.

Kris Boyd at Murray Park after re-joining Rangers.  Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
Kris Boyd at Murray Park after re-joining Rangers. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS

Yesterday, on social media and elsewhere, people were suggesting that Bobby Russell, Richard Gough and Peter McCloy were all set for playing comebacks at the club.

These gags are obviously absurd, but the roots of them are not so mysterious. McCoist is a Rangers manager hellbent on restoring the Ibrox brand in as risk-free a way as possible. For McCoist, in terms of player recruitment, this means "tried and tested" is the way to go.

On top of previous summers of signing up former SPL yeomen - Jon Daly, Cammy Bell, Richard Foster, Stevie Smith and others - in recent weeks McCoist has added Kenny Miller, 34, and now the 30-year-old Kris Boyd to his ranks. He has also taken Ismael Bouzid, the 30-year-old former Hearts player, on trial this week, with a view to stiffening his defence.

It has been said often enough so it needn't be over-egged here but it all could have been so refreshingly different at Rangers in the post-liquidation period.

No-one doubts the pressures on McCoist or the political mayhem going on around him. Boardroom shenanigans appear rife at Ibrox and rebel fans are baying at the gates.

McCoist has had plenty on his plate yet many Rangers fans believe the rebuilding period could have been marked by a far greater emphasis on youth, and with an onus on coaching and teaching, which is what Murray Park is supposed to be all about.

McCoist appears not to believe that a full-time Rangers, with all their advantages, could have got past the part-time posties and labourers who stood in their way in the lower tiers of Scottish football, had he not crammed at least eight or nine experienced pros into his team.

Instead of rearing or seeking out exciting young talent with which to rebuild Rangers, the McCoist regime has preferred the safety-first, immediate benefits of the likes of Ian Black, Nicky Law, Dalys, etc. But many believe the fans would have bought into a team flavoured with youth trying to fight their way towards the Scottish Premiership, even while being more erratic.

Well, that wasn't to be. The football on offer from Rangers has been grim, bordering on an eyesore, but what hasn't been in doubt so far is the bludgeoning efficiency with which the club has headed upwards.

Meanwhile, Charlie Telfer, hungrily snapped up from Rangers by Dundee United, adds insult to injury with his comments about seeing youth getting its chance at Tannadice.

McCoist wanted Telfer, a Scotland youth international, to stay at Rangers - that cannot be disputed. The significant factor, though, was Telfer's belief that he didn't feel so coveted at Ibrox.

That said, even those Rangers fans who tend to be more high-minded about all this could not really quibble with yesterday's signing of Boyd. The striker was prolific with Kilmarnock last season and should fire goals like buckshot in the SPFL Championship.

Boyd will be 31 in August but appears to be a better footballer than he has ever been. He has also fought back pretty commendably from various career setbacks in England, Turkey and the USA to earn himself a return to one of Scotland's biggest clubs. Few can begrudge Boyd his reward, in being back at Ibrox, four years after he left for Middlesbrough, after 18 impressive months at Kilmarnock.

Given McCoist's mindset it is also pretty obvious why he steered Rangers back to their former striker. It was at one point agreed by all that the new Rangers would be in Scotland's top flight within three years of the liquidation of Rangers Football Club plc. But this is no longer a given. The Championship in 2014-15 could be a gruelling slog, with Rangers, Hearts and Hibs all fighting it out.

Never mind before but even more so now, for McCoist this is no time to be dallying with youth. This is crunch time for the Ibrox club, the season when their mettle will really be tested. In Boyd, McCoist sees a striker he hopes will fire Rangers into the top flight almost, if not quite, single-handedly.

As with Miller, Rangers' return to the past with Boyd is being done on relatively modest wages. In 2010, with impending doom still not quite visible on the Ibrox horizon, Rangers offered Boyd wages of a reputed £18,000 a week to sign a new deal. Four years on, the reborn striker's remuneration is a fraction of that figure.

Boyd won't worry about that. He has made his money in football. Now all he wants to do is play and score and prove himself once more. One of the most ruthless goalscorers Scottish football has ever seen is back at Ibrox to aid a manager who will face more scrutiny than ever this coming season.

Contextual targeting label: 
Football

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

243748