ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - Rangers FC
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So the new SPL Season is well underway for Champions Rangers; performances in the creative sense may not be on par with any brand of ‘sexy football’ thus far however goals have been hitting the back of the net and points mean prize at the end of the campaign after all.

The man handed the task of filling the big void and equally XL size jersey to boot has fallen to Kenny Miller who has been handed the number 9 jersey at Ibrox this season and to his credit Miller has stepped up to the plate and delivered the goods. To reach a tally of 5 goals already for the season is impressive whilst at the same time sends a message to his new striking comrades James Beattie and Nikica Jelavic.

Miller has led both the attacking and rescue missions against SPL opposition so far with his vital goals by opening his account for the season in the first fixture of the campaign with a 2 – 1 win against Kilmarnock at Ibrox, grabbing an impressive second half hat-trick against his former side Hibs and saving his side of embarrassment at home with a late winner against St Johnstone.

Miller must continue to integrate his industrious work rate alongside playing the role of the archetypal number 9; be selfish and expect service to him if he is to continue this rich vain of scoring form. He no longer has Kris Boyd to feed and the onus is very much on him to supply the goods and demand the service from his fellow teammates. Much needed new additions to bolster Walter Smith’s squad include James Beattie and Nikica Jelavic will of course have their say on striking affairs at Ibrox this season.

We all know about James Beattie credentials from his time in the EPL but I’m particularly looking forward to seeing 25 year old striker Jelavic in action for Rangers after all he is a decadent buy at £4 Mil for Ibrox these days. Walter Smith persevered for weeks on end to capture his signature in what was dubbed the longest transfer saga of the summer in Scotland and for Smith’s patience to be tested and coupled with working to a tight transfer budget I reckon we will see something special from the Croatian international at Ibrox this season; if he mirrors half the success of his fellow country man Dado Prso’s career at Ibrox he’s certainly half way there to being a success at Ibrox.

With two strikers in and one hitman heads out of Ibrox as Andrius Velicka famred out to Aberdeen in a swap deal which was concluded just before the transfer window shut with utility man Richard Foster moving in the opposite direction. I’m saddled to see Velicka loaned on for a second time during his time at Ibrox as I rate the boy but he’s never been given a full chance be it lack of selection or injury. He’s the big burly British type striker that plays and holds up the ball well with a great physical presence however Walter Smith does have a tendency to snap up decent players or certainly players with potential who simply aren’t give a chance just ask Alan Gow.

The only down side to all the new faces is well a lack of more new faces! But quality over quantity perhaps is the scared mantra, especially when one peeks across the city eh Sean? Yes one or two more additions in the Midfield area would have beneficial to the team especially as Kevin Thompson is no longer at the club and frustratingly Jelavic is cup-tied for Europe this season but then you take the good with the bad!

And talking of bad…

Kylie Lafferty’s temperament has already been called into question which didn’t do his bad boy image any favors as he saw red in the ill tempered SPL fixture against Hibs. He was kept at Ibrox this summer after inquires from EPL new comers Blackpool during the recent transfer window, many of the Ibrox faithful would have been glad to have cut their losses with the big man BUT this is the season he must deliver the goods as he starts his third term with the club.

But I what considered more embarrassing was Keeper Alan McGregor faking injury in an altercation with Hibs striker Derek Riordon though Walter Smith had a more jovial take on it and well as John Lennon once sang ‘Love Is You Need’, Walter you will be missed come the end of the season!

In amongst it may not have been pretty to watch on the park but goals and results are certainly going the right way so no complaints so far to the start of the season.

One man who is helping the case for the pursuit of pleasing football on the eye at Ibrox is Manchester City winger Vladimir Weiss who joined the club on a one-year loan deal just before the transfer window closed. After just two appearances he has already made impact with his impressive wing play and setting up the second goal with for Rangers in the victory against Hibs.

I reckon Walter Smith has pulled one out of the bag here as the boy looks a real talent.

The Manchester connection doesn’t stop there for Rangers this season as a ‘Battle of Britain; is about to commence in this years Champions League’s. Alongside Govan old boy Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side Rangers have been drawn against Spanish side Valencia and Turkish Champions Bursaspor. A tough draw in Manchester United and Valencia here hoping for the shake of Scotland’s co-efficient and the country’s sole representative in Europe this season - Rangers must improve on last year’s outing in the competition and let’s all hope for a trouble free match/post match.

So a new season, new players and domestically things are looking on course lets just hope Rangers don’t get travel sick again whilst on the road to Europe this season!

Once again there are things always more important than football, the hugely popular former Rangers winger Brian Laudrup has been diagnosed with cancer. Brian our thoughts are with you at this time and we wish you speedy recovery.

Forthcoming fixtures:

Saturday, 11 September 2010
Clydesdale Bank Premier League
Hamilton v Rangers, 12:00

Tuessday, 14 September 2010
Uefa Champions League
Man Utd v Rangers, GpC, 19:45

Saturday, 18 September 2010
Clydesdale Bank Premier League
Rangers v Dundee Utd, 15:00

Keep up to date with the Blue Half of Glasgow via ESPN’s Soccernet Rangers Homepage and Club Blog.


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