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December 29, 2010

Tonight's SPL clash between St Johnstone and Rangers was postponed yesterday on police advice about the safety of the supporters.

The winter weather has affected a number of fixtures in the past month with the Gers now having five games to fit into the congested calendar after the new year. If the Gers beat Motherwell and reach the Co-operative Insurance Cup Final then a trip to Pittodrie will need to be rescheduled.

After an impressive win at Motherwell, manager Walter Smith was understandably disappointed at the postponement. He told the official Rangers website: "We are obviously disappointed. With the break in the weather we hoped the game would be on."

"We are a little disappointed not to be playing but there's not a lot we can do about it. It has been a bit stop-start for a lot of the matches but everyone has had to put up with that.

"But after playing well at Motherwell we thought we would have another game. Sadly it's not to be."

© Sky Sports

December 26, 2010

A stunning individual display from Slovak Vladimir Weiss helped Rangers to a fantastic 4-1 win at Fir Park this afternoon.

Weiss was positioned just behind Kenny Miller in the starting 11 and produced a superb performance capped off with a wonderful solo-goal in the second-half. Surprisingly, Rangers fielded the same side which flopped at Inverness but it looked like a totally different side on show who entertained the thousands of Rangers fans that made the short journey to Motherwell.

Rangers started well, inspired by Weiss, but also by Steven Naismith who played a big part in the first goal with a neat one-two with Madjid Bougherra and the Algerian Player of the Year cut back for Kenny Miller who fired home. Weiss was involved in the second Rangers goal which was helped by Steven Saunders who headed the ball into his own net from the Slovakian winger's free-kick.

An almost perfect first-half for Rangers was slightly shadowed by Steven Naismith coming off just before half-time after picking up a hamstring injury. Rangers will be hoping Naismith's injury will not be as bad as first feared.

© BBC Sport

December 22, 2010

With 2010 coming to an end, it's time to look back on another successful year for Rangers.

January: A welcome point at Celtic Park kicked-off a fine year for Rangers which brought two domestic trophies back to the glittering trophy room. Lee McCulloch's bulleting header just minutes after Celtic took the lead would be enough for the champions to take a point from San Giro. The Gers then stumbled through the rest of the month and after being forced to a replay by Hamilton in the Scottish Cup they had to rely on Andrew Little's injury-time winner against Hearts to keep Smith's men on track.

February: Another unbeaten month followed in February with the only league points dropped at Fir Park after the Gers could only manage a draw on Motherwell's joke of a surface. St Mirren forced another Scottish Cup replay which Rangers just scraped through but the special moment of the month was left to the last Sunday of Feburary .. Step forward Maurice Edu!

March: David Weir got his hands on the first piece of silverware in March after a stunning 1-0 win over St Mirren with just 9 men after Danny Wilson and Kevin Thomson were sent-off. The fighting spirit of the Rangers side was evident as Kenny Miller headed home a dramatic winner towards the end. In the Scottish Cup, Dundee United forced another replay with a 3-3 draw at Ibrox, but this time Rangers could not do enough to get through and lost 1-0 at Tannadice. In the SPL, Rangers won 3 from 4 including a 4-1 win at Tynecastle and we'll just ignore what happened at McDiarmid Park in the other game.

April: Wins against Hamilton, Aberdeen and Hearts meant that Rangers could win the title at Easter Road on the 25th. Kyle Lafferty's winning goal in the first-half was enough to clinch the 53rd League Championship for Rangers!

May: With the title clinched, it was time to party and the league trophy was presented on the final day at Ibrox after a 3-3 draw with Motherwell. In the two games before that, Rangers won 2-1 at Tannadice before losing 2-1 in the final Old Firm game of the season.

Steven Naismith has signed a new 4-year-deal at Ibrox and has encouraged his fellow team-mates to follow suit.

Rangers are also in contract talks with Kenny Miller and will begin talks with Sasa Papac in the next few days. After extending his contract to May 2015, Naismith told the official Rangers website: "We've got a great squad here. I'm happy to sign for the long term and hopefully now a few of the other boys do as well. I definitely hope that's the case. I couldn't ask a better group of players to work with and everybody wants to fight for each other."

Naismith has been one of Rangers' most impressive performers this season in a new role on the right-side of midfield. His performances this season have made him the hot property in Scottish Football and manager Walter Smith will be hoping that Naismith is here for the long-haul.

© Daily Telegraph

December 20, 2010

Exactly 13 years ago, Walter Smith was on course to lead his Rangers side to a record-breaking 10th league championship in a row. Smith announced in October that year he would be retiring for a period after winning 6 League Championships as Rangers manager. The Gers were in pole position at the halfway mark of the season after spending £13m on new players for the final push for 10-in-a-row.

One of Smith’s summer signings, Marco Negri, was heading the goalscoring charts in Scotland with 28 League Goals by mid-December. Negri was signed from Italian side Perugia in June 1997 for a fee of around £3.5m and took the Premier Division by storm with an incredible start to his Rangers career. There could be not stopping Negri who was scoring all-types of goals in abundance including 5 goals in one match against Dundee United, 4 goals in one match against Dunfermline and a hat-trick against Kilmarnock.

© BBC Sport

Unfortunately for Rangers, the same could not be said for the second-half of the season in which Rangers capitulated to throw away the chance of going one better than Celtic to win 10-in-a-row. Eventual title winners Celtic defeated champions Rangers 2-0 on January 2nd and in the final four months of the season, Negri netted just three goals as Rangers threw away their title lead and their dream of 10-in-a-row.

Many similarities have been drawn between that season and this year where Walter Smith is approaching the end of his tenure at Ibrox. The Gers are sitting top of the Scottish Premier League with the next Old Firm derby approaching on, ironically, January 2nd. Instead of Mr Negri at the top of the goalscoring charts, Kenny Miller has perfectly filled the void left by Kris Boyd who departed in the summer. Miller has 19 League goals and has proved invaluable to Rangers with a number of important goals this season.

Rangers will again need to try and fit their trip to Dundee United into the calendar after the game was called-off for a second time.

The game orginally failed an early morning pitch inspection on November 28th and was re-arranged for the 21st but the harsh winter weather has returned this week and Tayside Police advised that game would be called-off.

An SPL statement said: "Tuesday night's Clydesdale Bank Premier League match between Dundee United and Rangers at Tannadice has been postponed following advice from the police.

"A new date for the game will be announced in due course."

December 15, 2010

Rangers are on the trail of FK Sarajevo's midfielder Muhamed Dzakmic.

The £1m-rated playmaker has attracted big interest from around Europe and the Bosnian press has linked Rangers with a move for the FK Sarejevo skipper.

FK Sarajevo sit third in the Bosnian top-flight and the 25-year-old is a key-part of their side and has made over 150 appearances for them.

However, any more for Dzakmic may have to be delayed until the next transfer window unless Craig Whyte's proposed takeover goes through earlier than expected.

December 14, 2010

Rangers striker Kenny Miller has adequately filled the role vacated by last year's top scorer Kris Boyd since the summer by netting 20 League Goals so far this season.

Miller has been linked with moves back to England, to Turkey and even to AC Milan as a replacement for Filippo Inzaghi. With the January transfer window approaching, chief executive Martin Bain said he will not be looking to sell Miller in the summer.

Bain said: "Kenny is in a situation where I've had discussions with him and as Walter said at the weekend, talks have stalled. I really value Kenny and Walter wants him to stay - certainly not leaving in January. We have no desire for that to happen. He's playing exceptionally well."

© Daily Record

December 11, 2010

Kenny Miller came to the rescue for Rangers but went from hero to villan after missing a late penalty that proved crucial in the final reckoning as Inverness Caledonian Thistle held on to a vital home point.

Miller's strike from 20 yards out brought Rangers back on level terms after Jonny Hayes scored a spectacular 30-yarder in the first-half. It was a game of two-halves to be fair and both sides squandered a number of chances either side of half-time.

Rangers will thank Allan McGregor for keeping them in the game during the first-half after making a superb block to stop Adam Rooney adding to his 13 league goals. The SPL champions looked lethargic and lacked a spark to cut-open Inverness' resilient defence. Vladimir Weiss created two brief glimpses of goal with two crosses which were almost met by Naismith who looked at his most dangerous arriving late into the box.

Inverness' Jonny Hayes opened the scoring on the half-hour mark with a stunning 30-yard effort which swerved into the top corner leaving McGregor helpless. Rangers keeper McGregor was fuming at the way Hayes drove half-way up the pitch without any challengers and he punished Rangers for that by scoring his fifth goal of the season.

© BBC Sport Scotland

December 9, 2010

Rangers' lunchtime kick-off with Inverness Caley Thistle is likely to go ahead this Saturday after SPL Officials cancelled two of the weekend's matches.

Celtic against Kilmarnock and Motherwell's trip to Tannadice have been postponed for safety reasons and Hibs' match with Hamilton Accies could be called-off tomorrow.

The Gers haven't played in the SPL since they beat Kilmarnock 3-2 at Rugby Park over 2 weeks ago. Wednesday's match with Bursaspor saw Madjid Bougherra return to the squad and he will be joined by Sasa Papac who is available after a nasty head-knock in the 3-0 defeat to Hibernian.

December 8, 2010

Walter Smith bowed out of the Champions League as Rangers manager with a decent 1-1 draw against the Turkish champions Bursaspor.

Kenny Miller netted his first Rangers goal in over 1000 minutes with a fantastic finish from a quick breakaway, but the Gers could only manage a draw after Sercan Yildirim bundled the ball home late in the second-half.

With Europa League qualification already secured, Smith stuck with his 5-4-1 formation and handed a debut to 18-year-old defender Darren Cole who started at right-back. Rangers were also able to welcome back Madjid Bougherra who slotted in alongside Steven Whittaker and David Weir at the back.

The Turks left skipper Omer Erdogan on the bench and Volkan Sen out of the squad after a defeat to Besiktas on Sunday. It was a 4-2-3-1 for the Turkish champions with the talented striker Sercan Yildirim starting on the right-side of the three attacking midfielders with Leonel Nunez spearheading the attack.

Sky’s highlights last night consisted of three clips, including both goals, which summed up the type of match on show. Rangers looked dangerous on the break and had their counter-attacks led by a centre-half most of the time. The ability of Whittaker and Bougherra to steam forward was working to-a-tee for Rangers and Whittaker’s marauding run forward on the counter set-up Kenny Miller to swing home a lovely left-footed finish. Rangers were able to rely on McCulloch or Hutton to move deeper whenever a defender moved forward.

So far, Rangers have looked their most dangerous in the competition from breakaways, and the high energy levels of Steven Davis and Steven Naismith to link midfield to attack have been absolutely crucial.

Whenever the opposition is in possession of the ball, the Rangers defence is very comfortable with sitting on the 18-yard-line. It is sometimes forced upon the Gers through Davie Weir’s lack of pace but with McCulloch and Hutton shielding the three central-defenders; it’s unsurprising that Rangers have been a tough nut to crack in the Champions League. Even when teams do break through the Rangers wall, they have to face up to Allan McGregor who has produced some superb saves this season.

© The Guardian

December 7, 2010

18-year-old Darren Cole will make his Rangers debut this evening as Rangers take on Bursaspor in the Champions League.

© Rangers FC

Manager Walter Smith will take charge of the Gers for the final time in Europe's premier competition and once again will show faith in the Murray Park youngsters with both Cole and Hutton starting this evening.

Smith will stick with the 5-4-1 system this evening with Cole at right-back with Steven Whtittaker at centre-half alongside Madjid Bougherra and Davie Weir who is the joint oldest outfield player alongside AC Milan legend Alessandro Costacurta.

December 5, 2010

It might prove meaningless in terms of the Champions League, but there is a lot at stake for both Bursaspor and Rangers heading into their Matchday 6 clash on Tuesday night.

The Turkish Champions will be hoping to get their first points on the board and manager Ertugrul Saglam has come under pressure from the board over their poor performances in this year's Champions League. Bursaspor currently sit 2nd in the Turkish SuperLig, just 5 points behind leaders Trabzonspor with a game in hand.

Walter Smith will have Sasa Papac and Madjid Bougherra back for the trip to Turkey, and the return of James Beattie from a hip injury could afford Kenny Miller a longer rest ahead of a congested winter calendar.

© BBC Sport

December 3, 2010

Businessman Craig Whyte has agreed a £33m takeover deal 'in principle' with Sir David Murray, according to STV and Sky.

Whyte was in Glasgow today and had talks with Rangers chairman Alistair Johnston, but it is understood that these talks were not to do with the takeover. Whyte will fund the £33m deal, which will clear off Rangers' debt, and Andrew Ellis will pay a 25 per cent stake back to Whyte.

© Scottish Sun

©Daily Record

The Daily Record are reporting that Kris Boyd is hoping for a move back to Ibrox in the New Year.

Again, another Scottish transfer story without any quotes or substance.

He's apparentley issued a "come-and-get-me" plea to Rangers - but no quotes? Hmmmm.

Just typifies the tabloid rags in this country.

Boyd made his decision to leave Rangers - despite being offered £18,000 a week - and went to Middlesbrough under Gordon Strachan. He chose a championship club over Rangers, and even ignored a superb oppertunity to join Shota Arveladze's Kayerispor who are riding high in the Turkish SuperLig.

You've made your bed Kris, now lie in it.

December 1, 2010

All of Saturday's Scottish Premier League matches have been postponed due to severe weather across the country.

Rangers were set to take on Hearts at Ibrox this weekend but the surrounding areas have caused major difficulties in travelling. The Scottish Premier League took the decision to call-off the games now to avoid any inconvenience for travelling supporters.

The SPL's statement reads:

In light of the severe weather conditions across Scotland, which are forecast to continue for some time, all Clydesdale Bank Premier League games have been postponed this weekend, Saturday 4 December. It is hoped that this early notice of postponement whilst disappointing will allow everyone to plan accordingly."

"New dates for the fixtures will be announced in due course."