'I don't buy it, nonsense': Bullish Ross Wilson rejects specific Rangers criticism and is 'absolutely sure' on mandate delivery

Ross Wilson has been one constant amid the recent flux at Rangers with the sporting director often appearing to operate below the radar at Ibrox.
Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson will be expected to help new manager Michael Beale in the transfer market.Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson will be expected to help new manager Michael Beale in the transfer market.
Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson will be expected to help new manager Michael Beale in the transfer market.

Wilson has been portrayed, whether unfairly or otherwise, as the Teflon man. As managers depart and others arrive, he has been an elusive, often invisible, part of the Rangers management structure at a time when questions are being continually raised about the club’s recruitment policy.

Wilson is hardly able to remain in the background when a new manager is unveiled, particularly when it’s someone with whom there is an existing relationship and who he clearly had a major say in recruiting. Michael Beale can enjoy a few weeks’ honeymoon at least but Wilson, who was appointed in 2019, knows he is long past being able to rely on that luxury.

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Fans want to see some evidence of a well thought-out, rational transfer strategy which would prevent a situation where Rangers are over-reliant on players who are either too old or else dropping weekly in value, as is the current case with Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos.

It wasn’t so long ago that Rangers lined up against Napoli for a first home Champions League group game in 12 years with a team that included nine players who were at the club in Steven Gerrard’s first season. Indeed, two of them were at the club for that previous Champions League campaign in 20011-12. Such details have been employed to contradict Wilson’s claim to have a coherent plan in place.

News of a new Celtic signing in the current break – defender Yuki Kobayashi was unveiled on Friday – has only increased the scrutiny on Rangers, who are already trailing their rivals by nine points in the league. Wilson, however, is comfortable with how things are progressing at Ibrox on the personnel front. He says he is “proud” of what he’s achieved so far in tandem with Gerrard and then Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who he says he has spoken to "every day" since he was sacked last month.

“Certainly from my perspective I know the mandate I was given on the day I walked in the door here and I am absolutely sure I have delivered on my part of the mandate so far,” said Wilson. “But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things I wouldn’t look back on and say ‘I could have done that bit better, or that bit'. I am certainly proud of a lot of the work and there is still loads of work to do here and a load of work to do in the coming windows for sure.”

One interesting aspect of Beale’s return is his relationship with Kent, which dates to their time at the Liverpool academy. It might lead to a breakthrough in re-signing talks – if, indeed, that's something that both parties want. Whatever happens, Wilson firmly rejected criticism of the club's contracts policy.

“I don’t buy it,” he said. “I don’t buy into that at all. Nonsense. There are two key assets here who have been talked about for a long time in Kent and Morelos. There is another group of older players … I’m sure everybody understands good contract management is to have those lads on one-year contracts and review them year on year. And there are a couple of boys who have been injured quite a lot so again it is sensible to keep reviewing before the end of the season as well. So I don’t buy into that.”