The significance of the summer transfer window for his beloved club Rangers isn’t lost on Ian Durrant. Yet, however monumental he considers manager Pedro Caixinha’s attempts at a squad overhaul, the nine-in-a-row pivot and former coach at Ibrox refuses to believe an end game is underway that will inevitably conclude with Celtic raking up ten consecutive titles.
“The recruitment will be key and this is possibly going to be one of the biggest transfer windows in Rangers’ history,” said Durrant. “I don’t know Pedro at all but, looking at it from the outside, he needs time. He’s made his mind up about how he wants to refresh the team. If they’re going to put a challenge in, he needs backing to freshen the team up. That’s the key to it.
“Reading between the lines over the past week he’s identified players and now it’s a matter of going and getting them. But between now and the Europa League doesn’t give you much time in terms of bedding players in, so it’s an important time for him.
“[But ten in a row for a Celtic team now on six championships] that’s a few years away. Having been there, once you get to eight and nine you start talking about it. We’re all talking about Rangers but everybody else will be trying to put a wee dent into Celtic.”
It is only two years since Dave King was expected to put a major dent into Celtic’s dominance after succeeding in a bitter takeover battle of Rangers. Now, his commitment and financial muscle is coming under question constantly.
Even Durrant, while expressing a degree of sympathy with the South African businessman, has serious doubts that Caixinha will have the means to pay off large swathes of the current side and buy a new one capable of giving Brendan Rodgers’ men any causes for concern.
“He [Caixinha] has intimated there could be a clear-out but whether or not they can do it is different. They’ve some ones on good money and long contracts. It’s not as easy as saying ‘you can go’. Players do have a level of power and they can dictate to the club whether they move or stay. It’s not impossible. Mr King has said he’s going to back his manager, so here’s hoping.
“Mr King’s got a lot of business things over in South Africa and, when the team’s not doing well, it’s easy to pick on somebody. But he’s backed the club up and there’s a lot of things going on within the club to try and get a level of investment in, so I’m sure he’ll be working on things like that. Because, although we’ve a really strong Celtic just now, we need a strong Rangers as well to keep things competitive. Aberdeen have done great, wee Derek’s done great there. I’m sure they and Hearts will strengthen, so Rangers have to do the same and I’m sure Mr King will back the manager up.
“Rangers are going to have to try and catch up as quick as they can. It’s got to start now – the next two or three weeks will be vitally important in terms of getting players in. Because it’s basically a fortnight then they’re back into the Europa League. And, if it’s going to be virtually a new team, you want to hit the ground running.
“You’d like to think there’s more to come from the players who are there, a bit of personal pride.
“They’ve taken a few knocks this year, albeit Celtic have been on a different level.”