Four signings which will make or break Rangers’ season

Rangers certainly need someone of Clint Hill's experience, but will he fit into the Ibrox defence? Picture: SNS

Rangers certainly need someone of Clint Hill's experience, but will he fit into the Ibrox defence? Picture: SNS

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Despite this being their first season back in the top flight, Rangers remain insistent the aim is to win the league title and halt Celtic’s dominance at the top of Scottish football.

To do this they’ll need most of their nine summer recruits to hit the ground running.

We’ve selected four new boys that will have to shine if the Ibrox club are to seriously contend with the champions in their first season back.

JOEY BARTON

The capture of former Manchester City and England midfielder Barton, even at 33 and in the latter stages of his career, represented a significant summer statement of Rangers’ intent to pose a serious challenge to Celtic’s firmly established grip on the Scottish Premiership crown.

While he spent last season operating in the second tier of English football, Barton was widely acclaimed as the biggest influence on Burnley’s Championship title win. With Premier League football on offer at the Turf Moor club, it was something of a coup for Rangers manager Mark Warburton to persuade Barton to move to Ibrox.

In addition to bringing vision and creativity to Rangers’ midfielder, Barton’s deployment in front of the back four may also add some much needed protection to a defensive unit which has regularly appeared unconvincing.

NIKO KRANJCAR

Although not as startling as the recruitment of Barton, securing the services of Croatian international Kranjcar was another clear indication Rangers’ ambition to try and win the title at their first attempt back in the top flight.

The 31-year-old former Tottenham playmaker was persuaded to leave the comfortable environs of the North American Soccer League with New York Cosmos in order to add his undoubted class and pedigree to Warburton’s squad.

Kranjcar has already provided hints of the flair he can bring to Rangers. If he can adapt to the physical rigours of Scottish football, he could prove to be as pivotal as any players to his new club’s hopes of major silverware this season.

CLINT HILL

Just two months short of his 38th birthday, Hill became the oldest debutant in Rangers’ history when he made his first appearance for the club against Annan Athletic in the Betfred Cup last month.

The former Stoke City, Crystal Palace and QPR central defender may offer a short-term solution to what is widely regarded to be the biggest problem in Mark Warburton’s side. Danny Wilson and Rob Kiernan have never fully convinced in a central defensive pairing regularly exposed by the attacking licence given to the full-backs in Warburton’s set-up.

While Hill will certainly not add pace to the heart of Rangers’ back four, he does bring bucket loads of experience to the party, along with aerial prowess and an ability to read the game in front of him intelligently.

JOE DODOO

In the words of Claudio Ranieri, Dodoo “can smell the goal”. His opportunities to do so at Leicester City were limited, however, and the 21-year-old left the English champions to sign a four-year deal with Rangers this summer.

A former England youth international who has now declared his intention to represent Ghana, the country of his birth, Dodoo scored on his debut for Rangers when he appeared as a substitute in a Betfred Cup tie away to East Stirlingshire.

If he can share the goalscoring burden at Ibrox with last season’s leading marksman Martyn Waghorn and veteran striker Kenny Miller, Dodoo could prove to be an inspired signing for Mark Warburton.

READ MORE - Rumour Mill: Celtic face fight for McNair | Dundee reject Stewart bid | Barton ‘will stroll Old Firm game’

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