THERE are four categories into which players within the current Rangers squad can be placed into.

The first are the ones good enough to be at Ibrox – Josh Windass, Declan John and James Tavernier to name three – who have done the club a real turn and will probably be there next season.

Then there are those who don’t want to be here at all, and that includes Alfredo Morelos, let’s be honest, even with his new deal.

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Thirdly, those who aren’t going to take the team to the next level or at least won’t get much of a chance from now on. There are quite a few I could mention.

And, finally, there are the loan players. 

Sean Goss and Russell Martin will leave in May and there are those, we are told, who will sign long-term deals – Jason Cummings and Jamie Murphy – in June. I won’t believe it until the contracts are signed.

For the life of me, I can’t foresee anything other than a frantic summer at Rangers. Again.

So, the question is, with so much needing done over the next few months, do the Rangers board appoint a new manager or stay with what they have?

I watched Sunday’s game in a pub just off Dublin’s iconic O’Connell Street. 

There was one Rangers fan called Dougie. He’d been at the previous day’s rugby and had dragged his two rugger friends, who hardly watched a second of the action, out of their hotel to take in the game.

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Dougie was a nice guy and we got talking for a bit. At the end he turned to me and said: “Well that’s the Rangers board got an easy decision to make now about Graeme Murty.” 

I nodded in agreement.

Sure, Rangers could win the Scottish Cup – although I personally don’t give them much chance in the semi-final against Celtic – but even that is probably not going to be enough for Murty, a genuinely nice man, to retain the job beyond this season.

At least that was my thinking until I got talking to someone yesterday who made some good points which I will shamelessly steal from him in a bid to make myself look half-way intelligent.

Let’s say Murty does go. Who do Rangers get in? Seriously, they’ve made such a mess of the last few appointments and non-appointments that the mind truly boggles as to who they would go for next.

If it was, say, Steve Clarke or Tommy Wright, then they can likely be considered something of a safe bet. Clarke could even be considered a coup given the job he is doing at Kilmarnock.

But a new manager means a new way of working for the players already there and the new faces, whoever they may be.

And all this costs money.

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Rangers have four qualifiers, eight games, to get through if they want to play in the Europa League where they really need to be this time around. But it is impossible to say who will be in the starting line-up for the first game and that’s far from an ideal situation to put it mildly.

Murty is a youth coach by trade and is learning on the job. There are former Arsenal players all-but demanding that Brendan Rodgers replaces Arsene Wenger. 

Celtic have far better players than Rangers, they haven’t lost a derby in the Rodgers era, and they went into Sunday’s game having won on their three previous visits to Ibrox. 

That’s why the game went the way it did, that’s why Celtic will win the league and most probably a treble which would make football history.
However, there is no doubt Murty has Rangers playing better football and the gap, while for me is a lot bigger than the point total would suggest, has closed for several reasons. The players seem to like the man and continuity is so important.

Do Rangers stick or twist? Those who will have to do the sticking or indeed twisting don’t know the answer to that question and that’s a bigger problem than any other hanging over the club.

My guess is that Murty will be given more time. It’s not his fault Rangers are so far behind their city rivals, but he is at least one person at the club who seems to be trying to do something about it.


AT a pre-season game in Paisley last summer, Neil McCann was given a less than civil welcome by a few of the locals.

One St Mirren supporter in particular angered the Dundee manager with whatever he said.

There were some verbals between the two and it was obvious McCann was fuming.

When asked about it later, McCann started to talk about it, stopped himself, and then demanded that the incident wasn’t reported in any newspaper, as if to do so would be unprofessional.

It wasn’t much of a story so it didn’t appear but having watched his behaviour on Saturday, I did find it ironic that McCann had once instructed me on how to do my job properly.