McLeish: It’s on Rangers to usurp Aberdeen as best of rest
Alex McLeish believes the onus is on Rangers to prove they are better than Aberdeen.
The Gers kicked off the campaign hoping to push Celtic close for the Premiership title but Brendan Rodgers’ rampant Hoops have marched off into the distance after opening up a 19-point lead over their old rivals.
Now Mark Warburton’s Light Blues find themselves being chased down by the Dons, with Derek McInnes’ side just two points behind with a game in hand.
But former Gers manager McLeish, who made his name as a centre back while playing for Sir Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering Aberdeen side of the 1980s, reckons Warburton’s side should relish the fight.
He said: “That’s the challenge for Rangers. They have to cope with the fact that Aberdeen want to take second place from them.
“It’s been Derek’s men who have been in second place for the last couple of years and they will want to stay there. It’s up to Rangers to prove they are good enough to meet that challenge.
“But Rangers shouldn’t be worrying about it. They should be all-out confident about proving they are the second best side in the country.
“Mark is trying to bolster his side with a couple of signings and that should give them an extra bit of quality and extra legs. Now he’s done that he will feel a little more certain that they are better equipped to fend off the threat of Aberdeen.”
Gers have opened their January business with the loan captures of Bournemouth midfielder Emerson Hyndman and Arsenal midfielder Jon Toral.
But those short-term additions will not ease the concerns of supporters casting a fearful eye at Parkhead, where Rodgers has already started his planning for next season by signing £2.8million midfield anchorman Kouassi Eboue. Walter Smith this week suggested Light Blues chairman Dave King needed to risk putting the club further into debt in order to breach the Old Firm spending gap. But McLeish says the current Gers regime is right to be cautious with the Light Blues finances. “Mark will hope these new lads can improve the speed of the team,” he said. “I haven’t seen too much of either player but on paper – looking at the potential they have – Scotland could be a good platform for them.
“This is the market they are having to shop in, though. I don’t think Rangers can go big in the transfer market right now.
“They are being very cautious and trying to bring in the right players for this moment.
“Recruitment is absolutely vital over these next few years but right now they can’t go absolutely crazy in the transfer market. The resources just aren’t there and they have to live by their means.”
“Second the last couple of years and they will want to stay there”
Alex McLeish: Reckons the chase is on