King Bougherra: A Seamless Transition

RangersMedia .co.ukCorrespondent IMarch 2, 2009

Last season in the run up to the UEFA Cup Final our best player was Carlos Cuellar.

The Spanish centre back was a rock and he was instrumental in our run to the final. His importance to Rangers was perhaps best demonstrated upon his departure to Aston Villa where, just weeks after watching their team crash out of the Champions League to Hearts reserves, Rangers fans threatened protests, boycotts, and everything else.
What has changed since then?

Some fans will point to the 4-2 victory at Celtic, perhaps allowing many fans to put it behind them, others will say that Cuellar’s sale was necessary to bring in some much needed flair into the team which Walter Smith did with the introduction of Pedro Mendes but the reason for why Cuellar seems to have not been missed is simple—it’s because of Madgid Bougherra.
Bougherra has been one of the most underrated players this season but I would say that he has been Walter Smith’s best buy this season. He is fast, a good tackler, heads well and has good positional sense. He is also fairly young and could be a regular at the centre of that defence for years to come.
Perhaps we should look at the three Old firm games this season. In the two that Bougherra has featured—both at Parkhead—he has been fantastic and the whole defence has looked good. He missed the game at Ibrox and in that game Scott McDonald took the ball past the hapless Kirk Broadfoot before firing into the net to win that game. If Bougherra had been playing that wouldn’t have happened.

So perhaps, when after the split we visit Tannadice, Tynecastle and perhaps Fir Park it may not be a piece of Mendes magic or Miller movement that wins us the game, but it might be because we have a centre back that we can rely on.