Rangers depleted after summer filled with departures.

Bill GardnerContributor IJuly 30, 2010

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 28: Maurice Edu of Rangersis tackled by Stuart Musialik of Sydney during the pre-season friendly match between Sydney FC and Glasgow Rangers at the Sydney Football Stadium on July 28, 2010 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
Mark Nolan/Getty Images

As the 2010-2011 Scottish Premier League season nears, we find Rangers standing at a cross roads in the team’s history.  

Gone are the old reliable stars Nacho Novo, and Kris Boyd. Novo, an Ibrox legend has joined La Liga side Sporting de Gijon after years of dedicated service to the club.

While Boyd the often enigmatic striker left on a free to Middlesbrough. Boyd scored an amazing 101 league goals in only 143 appearances. Right that’s 101 goals in 143 appearances in the league and he left on a free at 26 years of age.

Joining Boyd and Novo off the books is19 year old defender, Danny Wilson, who was sold to Liverpool, and 26 year old Kevin Thomson who joined Boyd at Middlesbrough.

 American DeMarcus Beasley was also given his release by the Glasgow side after a turbulent time last season which included a surprise car bombing. Evidently someone was upset with his sudden loss of pace and lack of form.

The biggest names Rangers have been linked to this summer are Marlon Harewood the often loaned ex- Aston Villa striker, and Stoke Winger Michael Tonge. Neither of these players will give Rangers half of what was lost.

So, Rangers stand at the cross roads having lost two reliable scorers off a side which won the league by only 6 points despite a massive plus 54 goal difference and losing only 3 times in 38 league matches.

The good news for Rangers is Hoops (Celtic) were soundly beaten in Portugal 3-0 yesterday by Braga, and looked terrible on their tour of the States.

The bad news is, Celtic might be out of Europe already with a far deeper squad.

While Celtic’s Neil Lennon may be new as a manager, I don’t think it will take him long to catch on. If Celtic are out of Europe by this time next week that’s not good news for this young Rangers side or Walter Smith.

Former Rangers man Craig Moore, AKA OZ, working as a television commentator in Australia said yesterday.  “It’s obviously a good opportunity for the young ones and hopefully they can step up but you would think Walter can add some depth to the squad.”

Well you would wouldn’t you?

 Walter Smith should be adding some depth but Harewood is not the answer for Boyd’s departure and while Michael Tonge is a good player he is no Nacho Novo. Neither of these players is signed mind you.

So we look at the youthful faces shining with expectation waiting for a chance to run onto the pitch at Ibrox with the first team side. Who will step up, who can be the next Rangers star. I’d don’t know who it will be, and neither do any of the current players.

Can Kyle Lafferty be an every match striker? David Weir seems to think he can as he backed Lafferty to turn heads at the end of last term. Will American Maurice “Mo” Edu stay fit and contribute in both the midfield and at the back, yes he will. He was the best American player at the World Cup outside of Donovan.

But at the moment the Gers feature only 14 first team players, according to Steven Naismith, as he urged fans to have patience according to the team’s official web site.

Patience is a virtue and few if any Scots have any patience at all. My Da is long dead and even he is calling me wondering what the hell Walter Smith is doing? Hell he even asked me if Smith was planning on running Super Alley out for 20 minutes a match! I tried telling him to have patience but he is having none of it.  

C’mon sign someone Walter it’s time already! Let my Da rest in peace.