It was only a matter of time before the new Rangers board reached a settlement with former manager and club legend Ally MCoist. Since being placed on gardening leave under the old administration, McCoist has twiddled his thumbs waiting patiently for Dave King to swoop into power. Now fully in charge after what felt like a centuries wait, King and his new look board have set about cleaning up the mess created by years of mismanagement and under hand dealings. Out went the evil henchmen who seemed more intent on lining their pockets than helping this Scottish football institution. In came trustworthy names in business but more importantly genuine fans of the club who shared Kings long term vision. The South African based businessman has returned the club to the fans after three miserable years much to their delight. Progress albeit slow is being made as Rangers returns to normality. King was keen to work out a settlement with McCosit who in his eyes had done so much for the club under extremely difficult circumstances. The pair who have been friends for some time now met on several occasions but without the secured cash flow and with still a lot of uncertainty into how badly cooked the Rangers books were, a agreement couldn’t be reached. But now King and the rest of the board have agreed on a payment for McCoist that will draw yet another line under an outstanding legacy issue.
On the park, things couldn’t be rosier with new boss Mark Warburton and his assistant Davie Weir engineering the perfect start to the new campaign. Eight games played and eight wins with a total of 35 goals scored and 6 conceded. The side that struggled last year first under McCoist, then McDowell and finally McCall has found new life under Englishman Warburton. The squad has been radically reconstructed with many of the faces of the failed promotion campaign leaving. Out went McCulluch, Boyd, Foster, Smith, Moshni and Black as well as fringe players Faure, Simonsen, Daly and Hutton leaving a skeleton bare squad for Warburton to inherit. With limited funds, Warburton and Weir embarked on a persuasive tour of the UK, pinpointing and convincing select players that their futures lay in Scotland with Rangers. Many bought into their vision and signed on including Martyn Waghorn, James Tavenier, Andy Halliday, John Thompson, James Holt, Wes Foderingham and Rob Kiernan. Warburton has also used his contacts in England to secure some young talent on loan with Dominic Ball and Nathan Oduwa arriving from Tottenham whilst Gedion Zelalem arrived from Arsenal. They have been joined in the squad by several youth players such as Tom Walsh, Ryan Hardie and Craig Halkett as Warburton builds his squad for not just this season but beyond. But he hasn’t done it alone and on several occasions has used Weirs reputation in the game to get the players he needed. Leaning on a previous mentor relationship, David Weir played an instrumental role in convincing former Hearts captain Danny Wilson to return to the club where he made his breakthrough. Having help Hearts lift the Championship title last season, it was widely expected that Wilson would be playing for a Scottish Premier League side this year with Rangers arch rivals Celtic favourites to land his signature. A host of English Championship clubs also had shown an interest however when Weir approached Wilson about a return to Ibrox there was only ever going to be one winner. It was alongside Weir at the heart of the Rangers defence that Wilson made his debut for the light blues over seven years ago. Since then Wilson has gained a lot of experience playing in the English leagues and back home in Scotland which he now hopes to bring to Rangers title push. He has forged a strong central defensive partnership with Kiernan this season with Tavenier and captain Lee Wallace at full back positions which has seen Rangers only concede three times in their opening five league fixtures. The full backs have been impressive so far demonstrating their talents at both ends of the field. With pace to burn and a knack of finding the back of the net, Wallace and Tavenier are one of several success stories at the early part of this season. But in truth the whole team appears to be firing on all cylinders, even veterans like Dean Shiels and Kenny Miller who have found renewed energy under Warburton. 19 goals in their first five league matches demonstrates the gap in class developing between Rangers and the chasing pack.
So far the Chamionship looks like a breeze for the Englishman as Rangers stretch their lead at the top of the table. But there will be no resting on his laurels for the former City trader who is not unfamiliar to some hard work. First in and last out is his motto as he strives for perfection at Rangers. Bringing Rangers legend David Weir with him as his assistant has certainly helped the transition from English Championship to Scottish Championship. Weir’s knowledge and love for the club have been key in Warburton understanding the significance of his role and what it truly means to the fans who have been hungry for success for too long. His relationship with King is strong with the pair working hard to identify and secure the talent needed to not only win the Championship this year but challenge Celtic for the Premier League title next year. King has already pledged to do whatever it takes to get the squad ready for next season with potentially another five new faces arriving before that assault happens. It’s a relationship that McCoist had yearned for but never got. Whether it would have made a difference will never be known. Off the pitch, King is working hard to untangle the ball of elastic bands created by the previous regimes including a lengthy and obstructive partnership with Mike Ashley and his Sports Direct franchise. King is receiving help away from the club as the authorities look to press charges against those responsible for the clubs demise. Former owners Craig Whyte and Charles Green have already been arrested and face charges of conspiracy and involvement in serious organised crime. David Whitehouse, from administrators Duff and Phelps, faces the same charges whilst Green is also accused of fraud. Fans of the club heckled Whyte and Green as they left court last week and will be hoping that the pair are found guilty and jailed. That would signal a significant step forward for the Glasgow based club who is desperate to return to its former glories.
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