Barry Ferguson says Rangers need more characters, regardless of which position they play in, if they are to mount a credible challenge to Celtic under incoming manager Steven Gerrard.
The former Ibrox hero and treble winning skipper was the star guest of the Lewis and Harris Rangers Supporters Club last week alongside another former Rangers captain in Lee McCulloch.
The pair arrived in Stornoway hot on the heels of the news that former Liverpool star Gerrard will cut his managerial teeth in the Ibrox hot seat as his first senior manager role.
And while Fergie backs him to do well he stresses the team need big characters brought in to help him on the park.
“It is a bold move, that’s what it is,” says Ferguson honestly.
“I think it could be a great move. People talk about a lack of experience but you could bring in a manager with 30-years experience and it might not work so you have to give him the chance to come in and rebuild Rangers.”
He continued: “You need four or five leaders in a squad, that’s one thing lacking at Rangers. Gerrard has been a top player, he is an intelligent guy, you listen to him speak and he knows the game inside out. He knows what Rangers need.”
To bring in new players, and also to shift on a number of high earning players on the fringes of the club, will require significant investment and Fergie reckons Gerrard knows he will have a kitty to aid his rebuild.
“I don’t think he would have signed a contract if he wasn’t guaranteed the funds to go and strengthen the team,” he said.
“He will also use his contacts all over England and Liverpool to bring people in. I think it is a positive move which is needed as there has been a lot of negativity around Rangers for such a long time. I say good on the board for this appointment.”
Lee McCulloch echoes Ferguson’s praise for the move to lure Gerrard across the border and he says it is a move which the whole country can benefit from.
“I think it is great appointment for the club and for the whole of Scottish football,” began McCulloch.
“It will only be through his successes he will be judged so it isn’t fair for people to judge him just now. He isn’t officially manager until June and people are being negative but that’s just the country we are in.”
Former Scotland skipper Gary McAllister has been confirmed as Gerrard’s assistant with McCulloch backing his appointment with his wealth of Scottish football knowledge.
“Gary McAllister was Gordon Strachan’s scout as well when he was Scotland manager so he has a good understanding of our game.,” he said.
“Gerrard has been, and played with, world class football players and that is where he will come into his own in the managers seat.
“I would love to see him turn the full club around.”
Early transfer rumours suggest a deal to bring former Rangers keeper Allan McGregor back to Ibrox are at an advanced stage and this is the kind of move which McCulloch says fits the bill for what Gerrard needs.
“If Allan McGregor is coming back then he is the exact kind of guy Rangers need to be looking at,” continued McCulloch. “If you gave me 10 or 11 Allan McGregor’s on the pitch I wouldn’t worry before any Old Firm game.
“I imagine there will quite a few frees coming in from his contacts and maybe loans too from Liverpool who he will know well.
“I don’t know who he will go for. I think they need characters ion the dressing room regardless of positions.”
Having big characters and personalties, and dressing room leaders is something both Ferguson and McCulloch are adamant is required and obviously lacking at Rangers after painful 4-0 and 5-0 Old Firm hidings in recent weeks.
“The last couple of Old Firm games has been a sad watch,” sighed Ferguson, “but you can’t compare to the teams I played with as we had a number of characters in the team.
“I’ve been on the wrong side of heavy defeats, like 6-2, but we came back to win the next one 5-1. It’s all about reactions. I expected a better reaction and there are not enough characters at Rangers now.
“And I don’t just mean the first-team, I think throughout the full club. But a guy like Gerrard coming in will bring that back into the club.”
Interim manager Graeme Murty parted company with the club following the second heavy Old Firm defeat but McCulloch doesn’t feel he was harshly treated.
“Everyone forgets Graeme came in as U20 manager,” he explained.
“He was doing a good job with the under-20s and was asked to come as interim manager where he did pretty well at the start as he turned the club around bringing positivity back to the stands but he was outdone by a Celtic team far superior on the pitch.
“He maybe feels harshly treated but that’s just football.”
In Ferguson and McCulloch, who were both in Stornoway as the latest star guests of the world’s biggest Rangers Supporters Club, there are few more dyed in the wool bluenoses who live and breathe the Ibrox giants.
They are both firmly in Gerrard’s corner and are backing the former superstar midfielder to finally reposition Rangers back onto the trophy trail.
“The club have had a difficult time form League Two and back to the Premiership back where they belong,” added Ferguson.
“There are no guarantees with any manager but its putting Scottish football back on the map with a guy of his calibre coming in and I think now we have the right guy to lead us forward.”