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Wednesday, 21 August 2013 00:00

Beattie on Scotland: Rangers must change or be swept away by the tide

The Ibrox club seem ignorant of their plight as they continue to waste money as if there’s no tomorrow
by Douglas Beattie

Scottish sports comment: Whatever else we may say about Rangers — and so much has already been said — it is clear that despite all they have endured this remains a club who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Basically they are living well beyond their means. They know this, but refuse to recognise it.

Pride, that dirty old scoundrel, is getting in the way of reality. No matter who sits around the boardroom table or in the dugout, there has to be a concrete realisation that Ibrox is not the place it once was.

The power and the glory in the Scottish game no longer reside therein. It would have been so much better had the financial smelting of 2012 been followed by a down-scaling of the entire operation.

Sometimes it feels as though the very opposite has happened. Will no-one there proclaim it? Will no-one say the squad, the wage bill, the salaries and the transfer budget must be decimated — and much more?

It would be easy to feel sorry for Ally McCoist who stands on the sidelines complaining about “dirty linen” being washed in full view and hoping football will still win the day.

Yet isn’t the Rangers boss also culpable in some respects? He is, after all, demanding a signing policy which pays over-the-odds salaries to many among the first team.

Having won promotion last season using a side which outstripped the rest in the old Third Division with a whopping 24 points to spare, McCoist has gone large.

This is dangerous because it is taking place at a club which is down as much as £1 million a month. Think, for instance, of Lee McCulloch on a reputed £7,000 a week, and summer signing Jon Daly, aged 30, being paid around £5,000.

Is any of this value for money? Highly doubtful, I would say, but there’s precious little which can be considered good value round Ibrox these days.

There are plenty of folk who watch every scratch and spit of the Scottish game and will gladly tell you that Rangers are now nothing more than a “tribute act” playing out of Govan. They insist they are dead and gone.

Let me be frank, the club itself is, at this moment, doing a more than passable impression of going through the very throes of death.

On any given day it seems we may find shares being traded in their millions out of the blue, coups being hatched, rows with the press, threats of legal action, and in one case allegations of betting offences levelled against a prominent player — Ian Black.

Such madness cannot go on indefinitely. Yes, Rangers are bigger and grander than any club in Britain ever to sink beneath the waves, but do not let that fool you.

They remain in real trouble, pretending to wave and yet failing to spot they are in fact drowning.

Scottish stars must be at their best as Games fever takes hold

They may not say as much but organisers of the Commonwealth Games must have been delighted to have seen long delays when online ticket applications opened on Monday.

Obviously this suggests there is real public demand for next summer’s events in Glasgow, a far cry from the apathetic response by Muscovites to the World Athletics Championships in their own backyard.

I have not a shred of doubt the stands will be packed to the rafters for every available event, be it lawn bowls or the 100 metres final, for Glasgow has always been a place deeply in love with sport.

Certainly the thought of watching Mo Farah, Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis-Hill will appeal, but possibly not as much as the chance to witness the making of a local hero.

There are several names who could yet emerge as Scotland’s darling, though Eilidh Child, who took a fine bronze in the 4x400m relay in Moscow, and swimmer Michael Jamieson, the Olympic silver medallist from the East End of the Glasgow, are the most prominent.

Their stories are yet to be written but as they, and many others, train and prepare over the coming months they can be sure they will not lack for encouragement when the time for action comes.

Bill Shankly – a footballing giant who never forgot his roots

Great football men cast long shadows — think here of Matt Busby, Jock Stein and the incomparable Bill Shankly.

With the centenary of his birth due early next month it’s heartening to learn that plans are afoot for a museum and football academy honouring the former Liverpool boss in his home village of Glenbuck.

If you do not know of Glenbuck, nor its exquisitely named football team — the Cherry­pickers — there’s a good reason. Just a single building now stands there, a sad reminder of the demise of opencast mining.

What had once been a tiny but thriving Ayrshire community produced the man who would grace the colours of Preston North End and Scotland before commanding Liverpool at the start of their era of English and European dominance.

More remarkable still is that Shankly was just one of many to emerge from the local coal pits to play the game professionally.

It can only be hoped that a museum to the man, the team, and the culture which nurtured him, will to some degree reinvigorate this forgotten corner of Scotland — a footballing stronghold — which by all accounts the great man never forgot.

Follow Douglas on Twitter: @alpha_beatt

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