Gers looking forward to pre-season games

Posted by John Gow

Danny Lawson/PA WireThe Rangers faithful are sure to once again pack Ibrox to see their beloved club.

As the football is about to begin, Rangers and the fans are looking forward to a new season in a new league. After an influx of players into the squad, there is an expectation that the dire football from the last campaign will not be repeated.

In his interview with the club's director of communications, James Traynor, Rangers manager Ally McCoist has heavily hinted that he will, at last, play two up-front in the coming season.

McCoist's statement that he didn't have two strikers in the Third Division and couldn't play the system seems strange when Andy Little and Lee McCulloch both played in the same matches.

Whether or not you agree with the Gers boss is a matter of opinion, but with Nicky Clark and Jon Daly signing there are no excuses for not playing two strikers now.

Another bonus, compared to the last campaign, is the ability to have a full pre-season fitness programme. Already there have been good comments from the players and staff about the new head of sports science Jim Henry.

One of the criticisms last year was the fitness of the team, so it's a positive sign that Nicky Law has commented that his pre-season training "has probably been the toughest I've had so far and quite a few of the lads have said that as well."

Overall, the team is looking good although the search for another couple of centre-backs continue. There is still talk that Scottish international Christophe Berra, and Bosnian international Boris Pandza, are still on the manager's radar.

New central defenders are needed, but with Emilson Cribari and Ross Perry still on the books, along with other defenders who won’t get a game, it looks as if the squad must be cut or it will be too bloated.

Rangers literally cannot afford to have the latter, and for all the moaning about last year, it would be better to play Chris Hegarty and McCulloch at the back than have four or five central defenders who are taking a wage and yet aren't good enough.

Whatever happens next is going to be fascinating. The first match is on Sunday against Brora Rangers in the Highlands, and although the result won't mean anything -- since pre-season is all about fitness -- how McCoist starts his team will give some indication how he wants his team to play in the third-tier.

Superb Rangers fans

For all the uncertainty over the last two years, the one constant has been the phenomenal support of the Rangers fanbase. When some pundits were predicting 15-20,000 attendances at Ibrox in the Third Division, the supporters smashed that with an incredible league average of 45,000.

Once that was over the same people said this year would be a real test. There is an element of truth to this as the Second Division is more of another obstacle than the excitement of playing in the First Division for a chance to get into the top league again, or the 'Premiership' itself.

Yet, even before the public sale, the Light Blues legions have snapped up 30,000 season tickets and it's estimated it could reach around 35,000 plus. To paraphrase McCoist, Rangers fans don't do walking away.

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