Alex Rae was interviewed by manager Pedro Caixinha for the No 3 role at Rangers last season. The post eventually went to another former Ibrox player, Jonatan Johansson, but that has not prevented Rae from dispensing advice to the Portugese.
The former Scotland midfielder, a championship winner at Ibrox with Alex McLeish’s team in 2005, has concerns about two groups of players currently at his former club; the new arrivals and the players they have been signed to displace.
Seven of the eight new signings have been foreign players; four from Portugal, three Mexicans and one Colombian, with Ryan Jack the only Scot. Rae would have preferred a more even balance.
“It was always going be the case that Pedro would recruit players who he was familiar with and he’s done that,” he said. “His knowledge and his work experience hasn’t been in the British game so it doesn’t surprise me that he’s brought people in from places where he’s worked [previously].
“Most people I have spoken to have asked where the British element is to his plans. Pedro is on record saying that this isn’t a gamble but I actually think it’s a bigger gamble going the way he has; if you look historically at Scottish football then there haven’t been that many South American success stories.”
Rae is also wary of the negative impact the players Caixinha has consigned to the periphery will have on the others as Rangers attempt to muster a credible challenge to Celtic. Of the players under contract, only Joe Garner has thus far been removed from the wage bill.
“The issue they have is that these players are on so much money,” he said. “It’s a different kettle of fish when it’s players on a few hundred quid. Nowadays it’s about the player and what suits them and they’ll sit tight until the club comes up with a compromise.
“The hardest part will be trying to get the players who aren’t in his plans out of the door as some of them are on two and three-year contracts. If you are on six or seven thousand pounds a week then it’s very easy for them to sit tight and say they’ll see it out.”
l Alex Rae was speaking at the launch of the A&M Scotland and Manorview Hotel Group’s Legends Charity Football Match. The game will feature many former stars from Scottish football, including Arthur Numan, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Bert Konterman. It takes place on Sunday, 9 July at Hamilton Accies FC, 1pm ko.