Darren McGregor insists that Rangers’ support are right to label the remaining members of last season’s Ibrox squad “failures”.
Despite having the second biggest budget in Scotland, Rangers saw their promotion bid collapse.
They could only limp to a third-place Championship finish before being humiliated by Motherwell in the play-off final.
That 6-1 loss cost Stuart McCall his chance to keep the manager’s job on a permanent basis and Englishman Mark Warburton has now been charged with winning promotion.
His first act will be to replace the 11 players who were allowed to leave following that Well disaster but McGregor believes the men who remain are determined to make amends.
The defender, speaking at a press conference to promote Ibrox season-ticket sales, said: “There is no point beating about the bush. We were out-played and under-performed over the two legs. It’s difficult as a football player to admit that. You never like to admit that you did fail. But I’m sure if you ask 99.9 per cent of the fans, they will say that the boys who were here were failures because we never got up. So that’s a tag that we rightly got.
“Now it’s about this season and trying to prove that we are not failures.”
He added: “Obviously it was a disappointment last season so for us it is just about righting the wrongs.
“We under-performed massively last season. All the boys who have gone and those who are still here are still bitterly sore about that but we now need to wipe the slate clean. It’s a new season, a fresh start under a new manager with new ideas.
“We just need to galvanise the troops and, hopefully, the guys who are coming in are ready. They look like quality signings already, though.”
Warburton met his new side for the first time on Saturday as the players reported to Murray Park for pre-season training.
The former Brentford boss made a good first impression with McGregor admitting he was “impressed” by his new manager’s opening address. But the 29-year-old knows he has to prove himself after Warburton made ex-Hearts skipper Danny Wilson and Wigan centre-half Rob Kiernan his first captures.
“All our signings have so far been defenders,” McGregor said. “But, at a big club like Rangers, you can’t expect players not to come in.
“I played against Danny when he was at Hearts and he’s very good technically as well as a good defender. Kiernan looks very good in training, too.
“I was asked last season if I was worried about competition, but I played 50 games. I just work hard and hope the attitude I show in training gives me a shot.”