IT is to be hoped that Rangers investor Stuart Gibson was thousands of miles away back in the Far East when the interview he had given to the This Is Ibrox podcast during his recent visit to Scotland went online earlier this week.

Sporting director Ross Wilson is “doing an excellent job”? Commercial and marketing director James Bisgrove “played a blinder” over the Sydney Cup? Managing director Stewart Robertson “gets a lot of undeserved flak”?

The views expressed by the Paisley-born property funding expert, who is the third largest shareholder in his boyhood heroes now after ploughing in £5m of his personal fortune back in 2020 and reportedly parting with a further £1m last month, are not shared by many of his fellow supporters.

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To put it mildly. It is fair to say that after a calamitous return to the Champions League group stages, a bitterly disappointing cinch Premiership campaign and a Viaplay Cup final defeat to Celtic this season, the Bears are a bit brassed off at the moment.

Many have directed their anger at Bisgrove, Robertson and Wilson – the latter two have been targeted in banner displays at matches of late – and believe wholesale changes are required at executive level if Rangers are to become the dominant force in Scottish football and excel in Europe again in future.

Wilson in particular is firmly in their sights. He had an especially uncomfortable morning at the AGM back in December as directors were grilled by shareholders on their performance in the previous 12 months. There was approving applause when one of those in attendance stood up and asked: “Does the board firmly believe that Ross Wilson is the right man to develop this playing squad?”


The failure of high-profile and often expensive acquisitions like Cedric Itten, Juninho Bacuna, Amad Diallo, Aaron Ramsey, John Souttar, Rabbi Matondo and Ridvan Yilmaz to make significant impacts has not exactly gone unnoticed. 

There was, though, a line in Gibson’s interview which is worthy of greater examination. “He (Wilson) doesn’t have ample resources to work with,” he said. The budget the former Falkirk, Watford, Huddersfield Town and Southampton recruitment Svengali has had at his disposal since being appointed in the October of 2019 has been completely disregarded.

Arithmetic was (along with, it must be said, English) never one of your correspondent’s great strengths at school. But by my calculations he has had in the region of £25m to work with in the transfer market during the three-and-a-half years he has been in situ.

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In the corresponding period – and it should be stressed once again that these numbers have been arrived at after some real back-of-a-fag packet accountancy – Celtic have lavished over £65m on their squad.

Is it reasonable to expect the Govan outfit to be romping to the Scottish title when they have had £40m less to spend than their city rivals in the last seven windows? Has their failure to build on their 2021 league triumph really been down to their sporting director’s failings? Or do you simply get what you pay for at the end of the day? 

Now, determining how much a player cost without inside information is far from an exact science. Indeed, Wilson described the figures that were quoted to him at the AGM as “complete nonsense”. He pointed out, for instance, that Bacuna had been a free transfer and not, as was widely believed, a £2m buy.


Nevertheless, it is irrefutable that Celtic have splashed out tens of millions of pounds more than Rangers since he returned to this country.  

There are certainly valid criticisms which can be levelled at the Scot. His signings have often been sexy but not very successful. Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos have been allowed to run down their contracts when they should have been offloaded and a profit banked. There appears to be precious little resale value in the current crop of players.

Could he be trusted if he had £5m to spend on a right back instead of £500,000?

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However, there have, despite what his many detractors may claim, been hits as well as misses. No fewer than seven of those who were involved in the Europa League final against Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville last May, Calvin Bassey, John Lundstram, Ramsey, Kemar Roofe, Fashion Sakala, James Sands and Scott Wright, were brought in on his watch.

Bassey, who was snapped up from Leicester City for a compensation fee of a few hundred thousand pounds in 2020, was sold to Dutch giants Ajax for £20m in the summer.


Antonio Colak, Ben Davies, Tom Lawrence and Malik Tillman have all justified the outlays it took to secure their services this term. Todd Cantwell and Nico Raskin, too, have made favourable early impressions. Yilmaz and even the lesser spotted Matondo have time to prove their doubters wrong.  

But cash is king in the modern game. There should, after the sales of Joe Aribo and Bassey and Champions League qualification, be funds there to hand manager Michael Beale this summer. Rangers will only gain the upper hand on Celtic if there is a loosening of the purse strings by chairman Douglas Park and his associates going forward.