They Played At Ibrox: Gianluigi Buffon

WE will be taking a look at some of the great names from our many opponents to have graced the pitch at Ibrox Stadium. 

We begin with Gianluigi Buffon, the legendary Italian goalkeeper who played twice for Parma here in Govan in 1998 and 1999.

The Player

Ask anyone who the greatest goalkeeper ever to play the game is and the vast majority of answers you’ll receive will reference Gianluigi Buffon.

Having left Juventus at the end of last season, where he spent an astonishing 17 years, Buffon began his career with Parma, who at the time were one of the leading lights in European football.

While there he won the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup in season 1998/99, knocking out Rangers en route to the latter, but more on that later.

Buffon moved to Juventus in the summer of 2001 for a world-record fee for a goalkeeper of around €51million.

His spell with the ‘Old Lady’ was incredible. He won 11 Serie A titles (although two have since been stripped) and Coppa Italia on four occasions.

He also stayed with Juve for their season in Serie B in 2006/07 after they were relegated following the Calciopoli scandal, in which they stood accused of rigging referee selections along other Serie A clubs.

It took Juventus many years to recover from their relegation but in recent seasons they have been one of the strongest sides in all of Europe, dominating Serie A while reaching two Champions League Finals, losing to Barcelona in 2015 in Berlin and to Real Madrid in 2017 in Cardiff. It remains pretty-much the only major honour to evade Buffon.

Internationally, Buffon is simply legendary too.

He made his debut in 1997 for Italy and since then he has claimed an astonishing 176 caps and played a key role as the Azzuri won the 2006 World Cup in Germany, defeating France on penalties in the final.

He is the most-capped Italian player of all-time and the most-capped European of all-time, and despite retiring in November 2017 following their failure to qualify for the World Cup he recently performed a u-turn on his decision and could play again for the national side before officially retiring in May 2018.

The Matches

Dick Advocaat’s Rangers were motoring along nicely in the UEFA Cup in season 1998/99 until they ran into Parma at the Last 16 stage in November of that season.

The Italians were packed with world-class talent such as Buffon, Hernan Crespo, Juan Sebastian Veron, Lilian Thuram and Dino Baggio.

After a tight first forty-five the visitors went in front through Abel Balbo six minutes after half-time before Rod Wallace sent Ibrox wild with an equaliser 18 minutes later.

Gordon Durie then missed a sitter in injury time nodded the ball over Buffon’s bar from inside the six-yard box.

The second leg saw Jorg Albertz put his side ahead after 27 minutes but Rangers, who later had Lorenzo Amoruso and Sergio Porrini red-carded, fell to a 3-1 away defeat.

Parma went on to win the UEFA Cup that season and at the beginning of the next campaign they were drawn to face Rangers again, this time in the Champions League final qualifying round.

This time the Light Blues were incredible, turning over the Italians 2-0 at Ibrox, with Buffon helpless for Tony Vidmar and Claudio Reyna’s goals in front of a fervent home crowd. Indeed, Parma had Buffon to thank for keeping the score down on that night.

The second leg was more nervy, with Parma winning 1-0 through a Johan Walem goal, but Gers held out to reach the promised land of the Champions League group stage.

This article was originally posted here

Winning Title At Rangers Would Be Icing On Cake, Jamie Murphy Admits

Rangers winger Jamie Murphy has admitted that winning the Scottish Premiership title with the Gers would be the highlight of his career.

The former Motherwell wide-man has been a Rangers fan throughout his life and sealed his dream move to the club in January 2018, initially on loan from Brighton, before making the deal permanent in the summer.

Murphy though suffered an unlucky blow during his first season as a permanent Ger when he suffered a cruciate ligament injury which saw him sit on the sidelines and miss most of the 2018/19 season.

The winger is currently on loan in England at Burton Albion, where he has scored seven goals and bagged two assists in ten games for the Brewers.

With the loanee making good progress after coming back from injury, he admits winning the league with the Gers would be a career crowing accomplishment.

Even though the 30-year old is currently on loan at Burton, Murphy’s target is eventually to go back at Ibrox and continue scoring goals in Scotland.

“I said this to my agent and my dad the other day: if my career was to finish now, have I achieved most of the things I want to achieve? Yeah, but there is still that bit in you that wants to play more games for Rangers and to score more goals at Ibrox”, Murphy told The Atheltic.

“Winning a league title at Rangers would be the pinnacle so, if I was to come back and win a trophy with the club, that would be the icing on the cake for my career.

“I’m sure I’ll go back and speak to the manager in the summer and see what the situation is for me.

“I’m just looking forward to be playing again.”

Murphy will be hoping to win over Steven Gerrard when he returns to Rangers in order to secure another opportunity to stake his claim for a spot in the first team at Ibrox.

This article was originally posted here

Rangers plot signing Liverpool 28yo Nathaniel Clyne set to take big pay cut

Rangers may assess the viability of luring Liverpool defender Nathaniel Clyne on a summer free, Football Insider understands.

The right-back, 28, is out of contract at the end of June and is set to leave Anfield after not being offered an extension.

Ibrox sources have told Football Insider that manager Steven Gerrard is weighing up enquiring about Clyne’s interest in a move north of the border.

The defender’s career has stalled in recent years, due to two serious injuries and the astonishing emergence of Trent Alexander-Arnold.

He has not had a single minute of senior action this season after suffering a cruciate ligament injury on Liverpool’s tour of the US last July.

The 14-times England international is likely to have to accept a major pay cut on his current deal, worth around £70,000-a-week and signed when he moved from Southampton in 2015.

As revealed by Football Insider earlier this month, Clyne is one of five senior Liverpool stars set for the exit in a significant summer overhaul.

Gerrard may look to sign one new right-back this summer, amid doubts over the futures of all three of his current senior players in that position.

Skipper James Tavernier may depart following his recent fall from grace, another former Liverpool man, Jon Flanagan, is out of contract in the summer while there is a possibility Matt Polster could be let go as well.

Were all three to leave, Rangers would need a new recruit to provide competition for their highly-rated teenager Nathan Patterson, who is regarded as a first-team star of the future.

Gerrard has used his Anfield contacts to previously sign Ryan Kent in the club’s second-most expensive ever signing and also Sheyi Ojo and Ovie Ejaria on season-long loans.

This article was originally posted here

Craig Mulholland RYDC Q&A Highlights

ACADEMY Head Craig Mulholland took part in a Twitter question and answer session for the Rangers Youth Development Company today.

Supporters had enjoyed a Q&A with former Rangers defender and Academy graduate Steven Smith recently and Craig was next to answer fans’ questions.

He covered a variety of topics during an educational and informative hour and here are the highlights of his session…

Q – In Rangers We Trust – Where do you rank our youth set up compares to other top set ups throughout the world and what other set up do you inspire to be like or surpass?

When we started the new project we set the ambition of becoming one of the top 15 Academies in Europe. We still hold that ambition today and it motivates all of the staff who work in the Academy on a daily basis that we make the incremental steps towards that strategic goal.

We were independently audited by world renowned auditors Double Pass who have worked with the EPL, MLS, Bundesliga, etc. and achieved a score of 88% which was the highest in the country and significantly above the European average where the percentage is in the mid 60’s.  This was a fantastic achievement, which we wouldn’t have been close to achieving 5 years ago, but every day we push on and we look to get better again.

Q – In Rangers We Trust – How soon do you reckon we will have a 1st team (starter) star that has been promoted through the youth? I know ideally all of them would.

We have some exceptional talent in the Academy at the moment. As an example the number of youth internationals has risen from 14 when we started the project to well over 40. These lads are competing exceptionally well in our ‘best v best’ programmes with the top talent from countries like Holland, Germany and England, therefore we believe we have now produced a quality of talent who can push on and play in a successful Rangers winning first team.

The Manager, Steven Gerrard our Sporting Director, Ross Wilson and all of the 1st team and Academy staff are unified with a one club philosophy which embeds our desire for this exciting talent to push through and become regulars in the first team. With careful planning through the Academy to first team transition phase we all firmly believe that we are on the cusp of some of our best talent making the breakthrough, provided of course, they continue to show the attributes required to play for a club like Rangers.

Q – Euan – How strong are the links between the males and the female youth groups?

Rangers have been pioneering in their approach to Women’s football. Our women’s team are now training alongside our other three professional teams housed at the training ground and are fully integrated in our high performance environment. They use the same dining rooms, gyms, pitches, analysis suites, etc. as the other professional teams. This is unique in Scotland and it is great, and in keeping with our tradition, that Rangers are the first to do so.

The club have now employed a head of programme, an operations exec, two full-time coaches, a sports scientist, an analyst, a GK coach, a kit person / driver all on a full-time basis to support the Girls and Women’s programme. Importantly we have also removed all fee’s that the Girls Academy players were paying previously which means all provision is free the same as the boys. Our initial focus has been the Women’s first team, and now that it has been established in a very short timescale, attention will now go to improving standards throughout the Girls Academy, creating something that everyone at Rangers can be proud of.

Q – How do they share resources, learning and development strategies?

All of the football methodology which is utilised in the boys Academy will be replicated identically in the girls Academy. Our culture, our game model, or teaching methodology, player characteristics, etc. will all be the same in keeping with the one club philosophy which runs through the whole of the football department

Q – Jamie – Asides from the obvious health concerns what’s the biggest challenge you’re facing at the moment in terms of keeping the players fit and busy?

We would obviously love life to be normal and having our daily interactions with all of the players throughout the Academy however it is important, in keeping with our Academy value of ‘Positive’, we look for positive opportunities to come out of this crisis. Our staff have worked tirelessly and continue to do so to put in place the best ‘distance learning resources’ we can to ensure that our players are still learning and improving and return to the training ground better players than when they left.

Our enthusiastic and driven staff team have put in place – game model education videos, Rangers skills challenges, brain training curriculum with sense ball challenges, Coerver moves challenges, game model webinars, sports science webinars, individual physical development programmes, diet and nutrition advice and monitoring and a whole range of webinars on educational topics. At the oldest age group the players physical data and well-being data is all returned for monitoring by the sports science team.

Importantly our Player Care Team is also available to all players at this challenging time and among others includes our Well-being officer, mental health nurse, club chaplain and 2 sports psychologists.

Q – Jamie – What’s the thing you most enjoy about your job?

There are so many terrific aspects to this job. Working with intelligent, driven and innovative staff who all have a desire to improve learn and push the boundaries in developing talent is fantastic. The variety in the Head of Academy role from coaching and curriculums, to matches and tournaments, to contracts and football business, to strategy and people management, to player profiling and recruitment, to innovation and research, to dealing with so many different internal and external stakeholders, the list could go on – stimulates and motivates you every day. The belief that we on the verge of something very exciting at Rangers is tremendous.

The best aspect however has to be the young people. Watching players who you care for go through their journey both as footballers and people, helping them overcome roadblocks and challenges, while sharing in their highs, and ultimately seeing them achieve their maximum as a person and as a player is so rewarding. Anyone who has the pleasure of working in this industry needs to absolutely love it, be prepared for long hours and sacrifice when it comes to personal life ad family, but the feeling of reward when you see young people achieve makes it all worthwhile.

Q – Jamie – There’s obviously been a few changes in manager over the last few years. How hard/easy has it been to keep consistency with the work you’re doing with the young players?

At Rangers we have developed and continue to evolve a methodology which we believe will produce players for what football will look like in 10 years. For all of the teams below the Development Squad this methodology doesn’t change greatly when Managers change.  The Development Squad is different in that it must more closely align to the first team so that any young player making his first team debut is completely familiar with how the Manager wishes to play. We have a great and close relationship with the Manager and his coaching staff, particularly the likes of Michael Beale, and we ensure that the programmes are aligned.

The appointment of a Sporting Director is critical in ensuring a continuity exists to the way we develop talent as is the case at all of the top European clubs renowned for player development over many years. Ross Wilson is massive on a one club philosophy which ensures joined up working throughout all of the football departments.

Q – Wilf Marshall – Hi Craig. How do you envisage the current situation is going to affect the progress of the youths?(particularly those of Development squad age)

It is challenging as we would like to be playing games, undertaking training, delivering analysis, undertaking individual programmes, pushing their S&C, etc. at what is a critical time for a lot of development squad players. That’s why we have put in place a fantastic robust on-line programme with a range of challenging home exercises, all of which are carefully monitored, to try to minimise this impact.

Q – Can you see a fast tracking of a few – Kai, Nathan, Dapo etc – due to a protracted transfer window; to more first team action?

No one is quite sure how the transfer window and the current / new season will pan out yet. The message to all Academy players however is no different – to keep pushing, be ready and make sure you are fully prepared so you grasp that opportunity when it comes.

Q – Dave – How far do you see this crop of kids going at Rangers & into the future?

We have as exciting a group of players as I can remember at Rangers, reflected in the number playing international football. If we look at their performances in ‘best v best’ situations in the UEFA Youth League and against men’s first teams in the SPFL Challenge Cup and Glasgow Cup we see players with high technical ability who can dominate the ball, the pitch and their opponents. In the younger age groups at the Alkass Cup a Rangers player has won ‘player of the tournament’ two years running ahead of players from Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Roma, Bayern Munich, etc.  This all augurs well for an exciting future.

Q – Elsie McCready – Hi Craig. How much have you enjoyed watching the young ones doing their training at home, and how do you plan to keep that going?

Hi Elsie, hope you are good. We love your support for the boys on twitter – thanks. All of the planning we have done will allow us to keep interactive and fun practice coming the way of the players for as long as the restrictions are in place. All of the staff are coming up with new ideas all every day to further engage and interact with our young Rangers players.

Q – Calum – What convinced you to go into football and be a coach?

Good question.  I think as anyone who works in football will tell you it is an absolute love of the game and probably as my career has developed a love of developing people.  We often work 60 hour weeks in Academy football but at times it still doesn’t feel like a job, we are very fortunate to work in a terrific environment, in a sport we love, at a fantastic club, with young people you can help on their journey and ultimately contributing to creating a successful Rangers.

Q – Revan – If you were given an extra £50,000,000 budget for the academy what is the first thing you would do with it?

I think if we received those kind of sums the Manager and Ross Wilson may wish to get their hands on it first to sign a few new players! Seriously, one of the things we would prioritise would be the creation of a Rangers ‘B’ team playing in the SPFL. We believe this is a fundamental, and critical, part of our player pathway which is missing and would be a catalyst in realising positive outcomes from all of the other new and innovative work that has taken place over the last few years.

Q – Craig Sutherland – Hi Craig what is your best training methods for the kids to keep them interested and to keep them sticking to positions? I coach a 2011s team and it’s tricky at times to keep them in their positions. thanks 

Hi Craig,  thanks for your question. At 2011 we wouldn’t be too concerned by position – the key messages would be to allow them to be free to be creative, express themselves, experiment with many moves and tricks and play a variety of positions – let their imagination run wild and fall in love with the game. Encourage creativity and one v one play and all of the positional and tactical development can come later in their journey.

Q – Colin – Following last year’s Reserve, SFA Youth Cup, U18 League, U16 League and Alkass wins how important is it that the Academy teams win?

The Academy teams are only ever a vehicle for bringing through individual talent, the only team that needs to win at Rangers are the 1st team. A critical part of our ‘player challenge’ objective is to try to create a circumstance where 50% of the games our players play are even in nature and competitive, 25% they should win comfortably and feel a freedom to express themselves and be creative  and we will try to create 25% of the games where it is a real struggle for them and they need to fight with their lives to keep a score down and stay in the game.

The final 25% where they struggle creates resilience, gives the players a massive roadblock to overcome and so long as we support the young players carefully may prove to be the most critical part of their learning on their way to becoming robust hardened elite professionals. We achieve this by sometimes playing players up age groups when we know it might be too much for them, while we couldn’t do this all of the time, it is a key part of the programme and eventually they will find a way to win through adversity.

The biggest challenge of course is educating players, parents and external supporters on this philosophy that sometimes we have achieved more player ‘wins’ in defeat, something that is normal at the big player developers on the continent, less so in Scotland!

Q – Andrew – I was very impressed by Kai Kennedy at the recent game v Brentford B. On a soaking night with the team 2-0 down, his attitude was superb nonetheless and he showed tireless energy, lots of skill too. How far do you think he is from joining the first-team squad for good?

Hi Andrew, good to see you at Brentford – a wet night indeed. The Brentford game was another terrific example of our ‘best v best’ programme where we are thinking out of the box to give our young Rangers players experiences and challenges that young players at the majority of other clubs to not benefit from. This year they’ve had the likes of Ajax, Chelsea, Man Utd, etc. so great that we are pushing them every week.

Kai has had a terrific season and is already being carefully integrated into the 1st team programme by the Manager and his staff.  This is reflected when you look at just the last three months alone where he has travelled with the 1st team to their winter camp in Dubai, playing in a 1st team friendly game, made his competitive debut at Ibrox in the Scottish Cup, trains most days with the 1st team and was on the bench for the last 1st team league game at Ross County before the enforced break. All of this achieved while still only 17 and still eligible for the U18’s.  We are all excited by Kai’s potential and that of many of his colleagues.

Q – Stuart Clark – Silly question been watching the boys doing their skills at home. Why do they roll their hands whilst doing keepie ups?

Good question and good spot!  As part of the new brain training curriculum that we are rolling out things like ‘washing your hands’ while doing the keep up’s is part of well researched methodology to achieve the brain stimulus we require to make the actual activity almost innate. Have a look at the brain training video on the Academy Twitter feed which explains more.

Q – RFCNC – Favourite moment working at Rangers?

I’ve had many great moments from seeing the tears in the eyes of a mum you have known for years when her son is making her debut at Ibrox, to the excitement of signing the new U10’s group each year who all start so enthusiastically on their journey’s each year. The best moment however was being given the opportunity to take on the Head of Academy role by the current board, having turned down a couple of excellent opportunities in England, and now being trusted to lead, with their support and together with a now fabulous Academy staff team, to create a special pathway for talent who contribute to football and financial success for Rangers. We are proud of the strides we have taken so far but with the current Board, Manager, Sporting Director, players and staff all pushing for the same goal it feels as though we are in as good a place as we have been, and with more hard work and innovation, a very exciting future lies ahead.

Q – Derek Warren – Hope you and yours are well Craig. How difficult it is to tell if a talented kid has the mentality to step up to the first team at Rangers. Footballing talent and physical development can be fairly easily assessed, mental strength is a lot tougher I’d guess?

Hi Derek, hope all good with you also. We assess the players using a – ball, game, body and mind – framework.  Probably one of the least trained areas of the four corner model in football clubs is ‘mind’. We therefore now have two sports psychologists who work directly with the players on key mental characteristics we would like Rangers players to have, and they also educate the coaches in this area so that mental skills development is taking place in every session every day. After all to be a Rangers player it is an absolutely fundamental characteristic.

Thanks to everyone who sent in a question for today’s Q&A and with so many, apologies to those who sent in questions we didn’t get to. 

This is a horrible time for everyone, please stay safe and follow the guidelines.  Colin Stewart and his fantastic team at RYDC are also struggling to continue as normal at the moment so we really do appreciate any support you can give them.

Once again thanks for supporting RYDC and Rangers Academy.  When everyone at Rangers comes together we can achieve something special.  Thanks, Craig.


For full details on all RYDC products – Rangers Pools, Rangers Lotto, The Union Jackpot, Scratchcards, and Stadium Bricks – visit www.rydc.co.uk or call 0141 427 4914.

It’s a difficult time for us all but RYDC will still continue to operate as well as possible during these unprecedented circumstances.

We hope you all stay safe and we wish you and your families well. We will have further Q&A’s in the weeks ahead.

This article was originally posted here

Hall Of Fame: Moses McNeil

RANGERS FOOTBALL CLUB is a name that resonates around the world with a remarkable history of success, innovation, great players and glory.

The club can rightly be classed as one of the most important anywhere given the achievements of the great teams throughout the decades and the impact it has on hundreds of thousands of people every day. It is incredible, therefore, that this institution of Scottish life began in the mind of a 16-year-old student who, like many in the Victorian era, had become excited by the new sport of Association Football.

Moses McNeil, his brother Peter and their friends William McBeath and Peter Campbell were walking in a park, now no longer in existence, in the Kelvinbridge area of Glasgow in the spring of 1872 when Moses suggested starting a football team. He had become excited by the game, pioneered in Scotland by Queen’s Park, and was eager to be a part of it all. He had seen the name ‘Rangers’ in an English rugby football annual and suggested he and his friends adopt it. In a carefree moment, the teenager with the biblical name had given birth to a club which would have an impact of biblical proportions on so many in the years to come.

Football was rough and ready to say the least in those early days and clubs played ‘friendly’ matches that regularly featured fist fights and other such rough house activity. There were no goal nets, those watching regularly impinged on to the playing area and tactics were as rudimentary as those used by primary school kids kicking a tennis ball about a playground.

The details are not completely clear, but it is thought that Rangers played their first ever match in May 1872 at Flesher’s Haugh on Glasgow Green where they played out a goalless draw with a team called Callendar. Moses was in that first line-up along with Peter and two other brothers, William and Harry, the latter already a successful player with Queen’s Park who was `borrowed’ for the occasion. In that first match Moses, his brothers and friends simply played in their street clothes. However, in their second game against Clyde — not the Clyde FC we know today — Rangers wore their famous light blue for the first time and won the match 11-0.

The first two years of Rangers’ existence are lacking in documented detail but it is generally accepted they played a team called the Rovers on at least three occasions and beat them each time, but lost 1-0 to sides known as Havelock and Star of Leven, both long gone.

Perhaps indicative of the pioneering age, Rangers had failed to join the fledgling Scottish Football Association, formed in 1867, in time to play in the 1873/74 Scottish Cup. So it was the following season that they played their first competitive match in the same competition. On 12 October 1874 Rangers took on Oxford at the Queen’s Park recreation ground and beat them 2-0. Moses, a small but powerful winger who liked to tackle back, scored the second goal in that historic match with David Gibb scoring the first. Sadly, they were knocked out in the next round by Dumbarton, a team with whom they were to have a great rivalry in the future.

Rangers, who had to compete with other teams to play on the public park at Glasgow Green, moved to their first ‘home’ at Burnbank near Kelvinbridge in 1875. But they were on the move again within a year, this time to Kinning Park on the south side of the River Clyde, taking over from Clydesdale Football and Cricket Club who moved to Titwood where they still play cricket to this day.

By this point Moses and Peter Campbell had become the first Rangers players to gain representative honours when they played for Glasgow in a 2-0 win against Sheffield at Bramall Lane. Then on 25 March 1876 Moses became Rangers’ first international player when he lined up beside his brother Harry in the Scotland team that beat Wales 4-0 in front of 17,000 fans at Hamilton Crescent in Glasgow. He played for a second time in 1880 when Scotland defeated England 5-4 at the first Hampden Park.

McNeil was also a key protagonist for Rangers on the club’s march to its first-ever Scottish Cup final in 1877. En route they knocked out Queen’s Park Juniors, Towerhill, Maunchline and Lennox and faced Vale of Leven in a highly controversial final that took three matches to decide.

The first game on March 17 at Hamilton Crescent ended in a 1-1 draw. They replayed the game on April 7 and produced the same scoreline. It was agreed that 30 minutes of extra time would be played – thought to be the first time this had happened in world football — and Rangers scored what they thought was a legitimate goal. They claimed the ball had crossed the line, hit a spectator — there were no nets in those days – and bounced back into the hands of the Vale keeper. But the referee, James Kerr of Hamilton, disagreed and when spectators spilled on to the field during the incident, he terminated the match.

Rangers led 2-1 in the third match on April 13 – this time played at Hampden – with Moses scoring the second goal, but the experienced Vale of Leven proved to be too strong and they scored twice more to deny Rangers their first major honour.

McNeil was also heavily involved when Rangers played in England for the first time on 16 February 1878 when he scored twice in a 4-2 win over Nottingham Forest and then played in the 2-1 win over The Wednesday, as they were known then, in Sheffield two days later.

There was more controversy in 1879 when Rangers reached the Scottish Cup final for the second time. Again it was Vale of Leven who were the opponents. With Moses at the heart of the action, Rangers were leading 1-0 thanks to a Willie Struthers goal when they thought they had scored a second goal through a Willie Dunlop header, but it was ruled offside. To make matters worse Vale of Leven equalised near the end.

Rangers lodged a protest on the grounds that their second goal should have stood but the SFA ordered a replay. In protest Rangers refused to turn up. The players were actually at the Ayr Races when the match was due to kick-off and Vale of Leven were awarded the trophy — the third time they had won it in three years.

Revenge, however, was sweet. A month later Moses was in the Rangers team that won their first-ever trophy —the Glasgow Merchants’ Charity Cup — when Vale were defeated 2-1 in the final at Hampden. It was to be his only honour and he retired from playing in 1882 to pursue his profession as a commercial traveller.

His last appearance for Rangers was in a goalless draw with South Western on 5 April 1882 – almost ten years to the day that he brought Rangers to life. The young man from Rhu had little idea at the time, but he had set the wheels in motion for one of the greatest stories in world football. He no doubt looked on with pride as Rangers became the best team in the country in the 1920s and 1930s.

McNeil died of heart disease at the age of 82 in 1938 and he is buried at Cardross cemetery, a matter of miles along the coast from his birthplace in Rhu. His place in Rangers’ history is, of course, assured forever.

This article was originally posted here

Rangers set for U-turn on blockbuster new deal for Alfredo Morelos

Rangers are set to make a U-turn on trying to secure Alfredo Morelos to a blockbuster new deal before the summer, Football Insider has learned.

The Scottish giants had been planning to open talks with the Colombia international’s camp over a contract extension after extensive interest in him in January.

Ibrox sources have told Football Insider that potential negotiations with Morelos, 23, are on hold and that the club do not intend to rush into handing their prize asset new and improved terms.

The change of tack comes amid great uncertainty in Scotland and Europe’s other major leagues about the current season and the transfer window that follows.

Morelos’ future is a key issue for the club as he is their outstanding player and one also capable of securing a £15million-plus transfer fee.

The centre-forward attracted strong attention in the January transfer window, with Football Insider revealing that both Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan were keen to snap him up.

Rangers rebuffed all enquiries for the controversial front man at a time when the title race was up in the air.

Morelos’ form was outstanding in the first half of the season, when he banged in 28 goals in all competitions.

He failed to reach anywhere near those heights after the winter break, scoring just a single goal from 11 matches in all competitions.

That came against lowly Hamilton Academical in the Scottish Cup.

Morelos’ current contract, worth more than £30,000-a-week, was signed in March of last year and runs until the summer of 2023.

This article was originally posted here

A Message From The Captain

RANGERS captain Clare Gemmell has asked supporters to take responsibility for their actions during the COVID-19 response.

With the country operating under strict government guidelines, the women’s skipper said people should be aware that their decisions during this time can affect others dramatically.

The midfielder is maintaining her fitness by adapting her workouts to the new rules. The club captain signed a contract extension in February, ahead of the now halted SWPL season.

In a video message she said: “I would like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to the NHS for the amazing work that they are doing during this difficult time.

“I also have family members who work for the NHS and I would like to extend my thanks to them for their role in this, along with all other key workers within the UK. 

I know it can be hard during times like this when you can’t do the things that you would normal do and for myself that is football.

“I am looking forward to getting back on the pitch, however I understand that the safety and wellbeing of everyone in the country is paramount and we need to look after that first and foremost.

“I am keeping myself fit by going out running and doing some circuits within the house.

“I would encourage you to practise social distancing and if you must leave the house ensure that you are complying with government guidelines. Your decisions don’t only affect you but others around you. 

“We need to work as a team and we need everyone to step up so that we can support the NHS in their fight to save lives. Take care of yourself and your family.”

This article was originally posted here

Jamie Murphy Says Steven Gerrard On Board With Loan

Rangers winger Jamie Murphy has revealed he and manager Steven Gerrard were in mutual agreement for him to go out on loan in January, stressing the pair knew game time was key.

Murphy moved to English League One side Burton Albion on loan in January and has proved to be an influential player for the Brewers as he bagged seven goals and two assists in ten appearances for the club prior to the campaign being suspended.

The Gers player explained his decision to go out on loan, stating it was a long-term plan rather than a short term one, as the goal is to extend his professional career.

Murphy admits he needs to be playing regularly if he ever hopes to break into the Gers team again, adding he needs to have that ten to twenty per cent extra in his system to operate at a club like Rangers.

The 30-year old will be hoping to add more goals and assists to his tally, if and when, the season comes back to life.

Murphy is aware that his fitness levels are still not up to the mark and stressed that he will have to work on his fitness to prove his calibre as a professional.

The wide-man admits he spoke to Gerrard before he moved and the manager was fully on board with the loan.

“I felt Dubai was going to be a mini pre-season to get me ready”, Murphy said to The Athletic.

“Me and the manager agreed we both had to go out to play. This was a move for me to be a footballer for the next five years rather than two years.

“Until you play, you don’t get the real fitness. At a club like Rangers, you need that extra 10 per cent or 20 per cent. It wasn’t a frustration.

“I feel like I’d had to have had four or five full 90 minutes to get to the level of being a Rangers player.

“And we all know five games not up to scratch is not acceptable, so it was definitely the right thing to go on loan, prove my fitness and prove I can still be a professional player.”

Murphy has made 29 appearances for the Gers in all competitions, scoring six goals and bagging 13 assists.

This article was originally posted here

New season return date to be announced as Celtic & Rangers title hopes iced

Scottish football set to follow the lead of England by announcing this week that matches will not resume before June as Celtic and Rangers title hopes are put on hold, Football Insider has learned.

The SFA is holding extensive talks behind the scenes after insisting the aim is to complete the fixture programme and fulfil broadcast contracts and contractual obligations.

A Scottish source has told Football Insider that the hope of football chiefs is to restart the season at the beginning of June and cram the remaining matches into a six or seven-week schedule.

This comes as the Premier League and EFL are set to announce a new return date after they meet later this week.

Officials have accepted that, with the country in lockdown and players only able to train alone, the current April 30 target is completely unrealistic.

There is an acceptance that teams would require at least three to four weeks of training in what would effectively be a new ‘pre-season’ before playing competitive matches.

There will be dialogue between the Premier League and EFL this week, and an announcement about further delaying the season is likely to follow.

Scottish football is likely to fall in line with the plan from the top leagues south of the border, and announce similar intentions.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced strict new curbs on UK life last week that placed the entire country in virtual lockdown for a minimum of three weeks, and there is a strong possibility that will be extended.

Celtic released a statement two weeks ago via chief executive Peter Lawwell insisting that “our strong preference is, of course, to complete all remaining matches” and that voiding the season would be too “severe”.

Rangers’ public stance is that the “final standings can only be confirmed when all games have been completed” and “any attempt to finish the season with a significant amount of games still to play, impacts upon the integrity of sport in Scotland”.

This article was originally posted here

A Message From Ianis Hagi

IANIS HAGI has taken time out to send a message from the Rangers family to those working to tackle COVID-19.

The attacker, who has travelled to his homeland of Romania to be with family during the break in football, thanked medical staff for their fight against the global virus.

Hagi, who is on loan with the Gers from Belgian side Genk, admits he can’t wait to be back training with his teammates in Glasgow but offered some good advice to supporters in the meantime.

In a video message the 21-year-old said:

“I just want to send some love and support from the Rangers family to the whole world, especially the doctors, nurses and health workers.

“The ones that have the courage to go every single day out to work and try to save lives.

“On the other hand I am really excited to get back to training. I am looking forward to seeing the guys again and be training with them every single day.

“But we know we are in a difficult situation right now so the only thing is just to stay healthy, stay safe, stay home, try to follow the rules and everything will be alright.”

This article was originally posted here