The sacking of Giovanni van Bronckhorst was perhaps inevitable after Rangers’ draw at St Mirren two weeks ago.
The club face a huge task of rebuilding Celtic’s lead in the Scottish Premiership, and with no European football to look forward to after the World Cup break following a poor Champions League campaign, Rangers are on the hunt for a new manager.
Whoever takes over will have a lot to think about before Rangers return to Hibernian stay on Sky Sports on December 15.
Here, Chris Boyd analyzing what went wrong for Rangers and the Dutchman…
A decline in employment
Rangers had been riding high in the summer and there was an opportunity to build things to take the club forward.
However, the business done was not at the level I expected. It was clear that there was a need for three or four players going into the starting XI, and although money was spent I don’t think it was well spent.
Rangers summer business
Ben Davies – Liverpool
Ridvan Yilmaz – Besiktas
Rabbi Matondo – FC Schalke 04
Antonio Colak – PAOK Thessaloniki
Tom Lawrence – Derby
Malik Tillman – Bayern Munich (loan)
John Souttar – Hearts
I think when you’re chasing the money that Rangers did, it should be on players who are guaranteed to be able to step up and hit the ground running – they can’t be gambles.
Ridvan Yilmaz spent several million and got nowhere near the team for the first few months and since then he has been in and out. Ben Davies also commanded a penalty and there wasn’t a single player Van Bronckhorst could call on every week.
With a player like John Souttar, Rangers knew that injuries could be a problem, so it should come as no surprise that they have been short at the back at times.
There are still questions about Rabbi Matondo as well and while Malik Tillman has shown what he can do in the light, it has not been permanent.
The injury to Tom Lawrence was unfortunate but if the internal vision is not there then the reason things are not going well then there are bigger problems I thought first.
Only Antonio Colak has come in and created what is needed, but let’s not forget that he was brought in to push Alfredo Morelos, who is not the starter for Rangers.
The next two windows are two of the longest in Rangers history. This is a very important time ahead and it is important that those involved learn from what has happened.
The answer is no more strengthening the team, additions need to be made which will make the starting XI better.
There are great calls to be made and there is no margin for error. There should also be plans ahead of next season and the number of players in the last six months of their current trade.
A lot of people talked about Allan McGregor, Scott Arfield and Steven Davis when they got new contracts but Giovanni went back to them time and time again so he tells you all you need to know and that it was good business.
Going for another season can be a step too far for some and when you look at the number of players that can leave, players have to come.
I think the recruiting team will be doing their job but it has to be very good, there’s no doubt about it.
If you go back to August and Rangers beat PSV to qualify for the Champions League group stage, it was a big step forward for the club.
It would have boosted confidence within the team, knowing they could compete in Europe, following their run to the Europa League final under Van Bronckhorst.
However, their six defeats in the group stage certainly didn’t help and would have wiped out all that good.
These players had a problem with their confidence because that’s what happens when you lose a lot.
We must not forget the number of matches, especially if Liverpool and Napoli, were of a higher level than those they faced last season. Even Ajax, who brought in one of Rangers’ best players at the time, Calvin Bassey, for less than £23m shows his size.
However, there is a way to lose games and when you allow 22 goals in six defeats, it only adds to the stress and frustration of the fans.
Disappointment of Fans
At a club like Rangers, the fans expect you to win every game. However, if this does not happen, they will still need a certain level of service.
If you look at what’s going on in Europe and recently in the league, it’s clear that the fans didn’t get what they wanted.
The management had a record last year and this year they faced opposition. It’s only part of being at a big club if things don’t go well, but I don’t think they’ll do well.
If the followers are converted but not happy – I know from the past it is very difficult to win them over unless there is a change.
It’s a video I was in when I was at a club directed by Paul Le Guen. I’m not comparing players or coaches between seasons, but most of what happened when things went bad.
The only way was to change. Giovanni knew what was required when he returned to the club he played for and it is no secret that the performance did not meet the expectations of the fans.
There is no doubt that at times Van Bronckhorst was unable to field his preferred XI due to injury.
St Mirren were without Ridvan Yilmaz, Ben Davies and Antonio Colak.
Then there are those who have not been around for a long time such as Filip Helander, Connor Goldson, John Souttar, Ianis Hagi, Nnamdi Ofoborh, Alex Lowry, Tom Lawrence, Fashion Sakala and Kemar Roofe.
Missing players of that quality has affected his team’s formation and may have disrupted the game.
I have a degree in philanthropy with Van Bronckhorst. At home, they have only lost to two teams – Celtic and St Johnstone – and managed to win the Scottish Cup last season and reach the Europa League final.
When the level of work went down, for a while the results were good but when the results went down then the problem got worse.
Rangers aren’t looking as good as they were last season and with the number of injuries, perhaps questions need to be asked about what’s going on in that department going forward.
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