Rangers have learned lessons over Bassey sale

The imminent sale of Calvin Bassey to Ajax for £20-plus million demonstrates that Rangers have learned their lesson from their failure to cash in on Alfredo Morelos when the time was right.

Cast your mind back two years ago to the summer of 2020 when there was an offer of £17m on the table from Qatari side Al-Duhail for the Colombian striker.

Morelos had just enjoyed a prolific scoring run in the Europa League – having netted against European sides such as Porto, Feyenoord, Young Boys and Midtjylland – and had finished the season with a haul of 29 goals. He was in demand and ripe for selling. In the end, Rangers rejected the deal on two scores: there was a dispute over the payment structure and the club felt they could fetch more than the £12m up front plus £5m in add ons that Al-Duhail were offering. It is believed Rangers were advised at the time that the fee would be hard to surpass given Morelos' reputation as a combustible character and the likelihood that he would not better the campaign he had just had.

And so it came to pass that Rangers did not sell the striker. Fast forward a couple of years and Morelos's contract is due to expire next summer. And while there are said to be talks ongoing over a new deal the longer that contract impasse – and his recovery from a thigh tear – persists you get the feeling the club would be willing to cash in if an offer of £17m was forthcoming.

Which brings us to Bassey. The left-sided defender was an undoubted revelation for Rangers in the second half of last season. His man of the match performances in the Europa League and Scottish Cup finals, and his displays in the league and Scottish Cup wins over Celtic demonstrated just how much he had progressed since arriving in Glasgow from Leicester City in 2020. But, it must be stated, there is a caveat: as good as Bassey was in the period from January to May, we're talking about a small window in which he showed the form that he did. Very recent history also shows that with two years left on Bassey's contract they do not want to find themselves in the same position as they did with Joe Aribo, who left Ibrox for Southampton last weekend for the bargain fee of £6m due to having a year left on his deal.

In short, the time is right for Rangers to sell the Nigerian defender, not least because it places the club on the kind of footing that will allow them to bring in the players required to present a better challenge to Celtic in the league then they managed last season.

Same old Scotland, always losing

There was a moment during Scotland's last-gasp defeat by Argentina in Santiago del Estero when you just knew they were going to lose. Having been 15 points to the good at one point, they were on the back foot when scrum-half Ali Price kicked for touch, got his angles all wrong and – rather than pinning the Pumas back in their own half – referee Ben O'Keeffe marched the ball all the way up to Scotland's 22 and ramped up the pressure another couple of notches. Scotland had struggled at the lineout all evening so it was little surprise when they lost another and – not long after – Emiliano Boffelli was crashing over for the winning try. In truth, it was a defeat that came from nowhere. Despite some particular irritating errors – such as Dave Cherry overthrowing at a lineout deep in Argentine territory – Scotland looked in control. But the usual tendency to aim a pistol at their foot and pull the trigger was in evidence once more and was in marked contrast to the manner in which Ireland withstood a similar fightback against New Zealand earlier that morning and gave an indication of how far Scotland still have to come ahead of next year's World Cup.

Earning their Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur play in Scotland for the first time since 2004 when they take on Rangers in a pre-season friendly at Ibrox on Saturday. The night prior to Antonio Conte's men taking on the Europa League finalists, the Glasgow Official Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Club will host an evening with special guests (at which, I'm reliably informed, a former Spurs player of some renown will be in attendance) in Citation in Glasgow's Merchant City.

Formed in 2012 by Barry Graham, Annette Smith and Keely Strang, the club has grown to 300 members, more than 120 of whom are fully paid up, in the 10 years since a handful of Spurs fans first met in the Rhoderick Dhu pub.

James Robertson, chair of the club, said: “Glasgow Spurs has gone from strength to strength since it was formed 10 years ago. We are delighted that so many people will be in attendance to join us in our anniversary celebrations and would like to thank the club for its help in setting up what we are sure will be a night to remember.”

Hosted by TalkSPORT and Tottenham Hotspur official presenter Paul Coyte, there will also be a raffle on the night with prizes including some special autographed Spurs merchandise. All funds raised will go to Homeless Project Scotland http://www.homelessprojectscotland.org.

No love lost for DJ

There are many reasons for wanting a particular golfer to win a major and I've found myself torn at this year's event. In no particular order I have cheered on Cam Smith (I tipped him to win the competition in our Open preview pull-out), Tommy Fleetwood (my two sons met him at Open practice day last Wednesday and he spent time chatting to them and signing autographs) and Rory McIlroy (for no other reason than he is a fellow Northern Irishman). Finding reasons for someone to win is not always calculated or contrived; all it takes is a quirk of fate that turns a player from stick-on favourite to overwhelming underdog and that can be enough to earn one's support.

Similarly, the desire for someone to lose can be imbued with a similar quality: which is why I found little sympathy for LIV rebel Dustin Johnson (and all the others) as he hacked his way from gorse to bunker to heavy rough during his third-round implosion on Saturday evening.

Aberdeen's bold strategy

Aberdeen have got plenty of decisions wrong in the past couple of seasons but you cannot fault them for trying to do what's right. With the emergence – and subsequent sale – of Calvin Ramsay and the arrival in the first team squad of current plat du jour Connor Barron, it's clear the club's youth academy is ticking along nicely. There are more – I'm reliably informed – where those two came from, as well. The club say the departures of Ramsay – and Lewis Ferguson who came from Hamilton Academical – are part of an overarching plan as outlined by Jim Goodwin last week: “We want to be a big attraction for players and their agents to send their players up here, knowing they’re going to get game time, good facilities at Cormack Park to work and develop and they’ll get opportunities to play.”

Of course, such a strategy works only as perfectly as the scouting and purchases that follow. Fortunately, Darren Mowbray, the Aberdeen head of recruitment, appears to have got that part correct: certainly with the arrival of Ylber Ramadani, the Albanian international midfielder brought in to replace Ferguson, who looks a player of real quality.


For all the talk of rounds of 59 at this year's Open, the record at the Old Course in St Andrews remains the 61 shot by Ross Fisher at the Dunhill Links in 2017. The closest anyone came to breaking the Englishman's record was the 64s of Cam Smith and Sam Burns (this is obviously dependent on no-one shooting a 59!)