RESTORING pride to the club has been one of the Rangers themes this week. And Dave King and the new Ibrox board members Paul Murray and John Gilligan watched as that phenomenon took place at Central Park.
The problem was that the club who restored pride just happened to be the home side Cowdenbeath. A week on from their 10-0 trouncing by Hearts, they restricted Rangers to one serious effort – Lee McCulloch thumping a header off the bar in the first half of a Championship encounter that you couldn’t help but feel epitomised the degradation of a club that King and his interim chairman Paul Muray and their backers must find a way of bringing back to life following their ousting of the previous directors.
In a dilapidated stadium, on a pitch that Rangers midfielder Nicky Law took kindly on in calling it a “swamp”, and with a corkscrew wind that was impossible to master, there was nothing to choose between Kenny McDowall’s team and their part-time opponents. That ought to damn Rangers, and be entitled to cause convulsions in King, Murray and all the wealthy supporter-backers they hope will invest in their rebuilding programme, were it not for the fact this Ibrox team have been damned countless times over. The crushing level of their inadequacies surprise no-one.
Conditions may have been horrible, but that does not erxcuse the poverty of a performance that means Rangers haver won only three of the nine games McDowall has been acting manager for. The latest scar in their Championship season of many cuts leaves them third and still three points behind Hibernian, having played two games fewer than the Leith club.
On the park, Rangers were supposed to receive a fillip from the club being placed in the hands of Rangers people. Until the team is in the hands of a coach who wants to be there and is capable of doing things differently that might not happen. McDowall, by his own admission, would recognise he is not that man. He is currently serving his 12 month notice after reluctantly stepping up to take the team in the same manner as the deposed, and on-gardening leave, Ally McCoist, he made allowances for his team’s latest desperate display.
“We move on to then next one and we have to get back to winning games,” said McDowall, whose side entertain Queen of the South on Tuesday and then welcome Alloa to Ibrox on Saturday. “it was great news for the club on Friday and hopefully the healing can start but it’s important we do our bit on the pitch and keep picking up points to keep ourselves in a play-off position if that’s the only option for us to get promotion.”
McDowall will remain committed to that until further notive, he said, having met King, Murray and Gilligan on Friday following the general meeting at which shareholders overwhelmingly backed them. “I’ll speak to them at some point but the games are coming thick and fast and the important thing is the club. I’ll carry on with the team until I’m told otherwise,” he said, statying he had “not even given a thought” to withdrawing his resignation. “It only happened yesterday and to be fair to the new board, they have a lot on their plate. I’m here and happy to carry on doing my duties.”
His Cowdenbeath counterpart, Jimmy Nicholl, meanwhile, could take some sort of satisfaction from carrying out his duties, which was wholly denied to him as his relegation-threatened, second-bottom side were taken apart at Tynecastle. The Irishman couldn’t resist quipping that yesterday was “ten times better” than that “embarrassment”.
“We had a talk during the week about the future of this club and the chairman [Donald Findlay] told us how it important it is that we stay in the Championship. Everybody’s future is at stake. That’s what we laid on the line to the players. They had to recover from last week. It wasn’t good enough. Our home performances and result shaven’t been good enough either. We went into a situation today where we had to [look to] win. There was a determination about our players to try and keep us in the Championship.”
Rangers players seen determined to keep their club in the Championship too, it often feels.
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