McGregor hurting from failure time can’t erase
Ibrox player of the year is still licking his wounds but vows to right the wrongs with second chance
THEIR sights are focused on the future, but it is hard not to have a glance back over their shoulders.
The appointment of Mark Warburton as manager, the arrivals of new players and the return to pre-season training are all reasons for Rangers to look forward to a campaign that surely cannot be any worse than the one they have just come through. But it is only by reviewing and learning that they will ensure there is no repeat of the same mistakes for a second successive time.
It was a season that saw Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall removed from the dugout and Stuart McCall’s side finish third in the Championship before the embarrassing collapse against Motherwell in the play-off final. That afternoon at Fir Park was the culmination of a wretched few months for Rangers as they suffered many blows along the way before being hit with the knock-out punch.
There was a Petrofac Training Cup capitulation at Alloa, a William Hill Scottish Cup defeat at home to Raith Rovers and more below par Championship showings than supporters care to remember.
Darren McGregor has not forgotten them all and time has not healed the wounds for the defender. Unlike the handful of players who were released from their contracts last month, McGregor has a second chance at Ibrox, an opportunity to right the wrongs as Warburton looks to transform Rangers’ fortunes.
“It’s a tough one,” McGregor said as he reflected on a campaign that also saw him win Rangers’ player of the year prize in his first season at the club. “I’ve thought about it and wondered why we finished so far off Hearts. Was it lack of quality? Listen, everyone has their opinion about players getting to a certain age – and I’m getting on myself – but I think it was going away and not picking up points against teams you would expect us to beat.
“Whether or not it was complacency it’s difficult to say but those were points we should have won but we didn’t.
“That’s no disrespect to Alloa, to Livingston, fair play to them for taking points off us, but as a group of players we underachieved.
“That’s a personal opinion but I know the boys feel that way as well. But we are looking to right the wrongs of last season and hopefully with the new manager and new players coming in we can do that.”
There may be a new man at the helm and more new faces on the way at Ibrox but the challenge next season will be a familiar one for McGregor.
Rangers will once again make trips to Alloa and Livingston and battle it out with Hibernian for promotion as they bid to make it second time lucky. Danny Wilson is another player who knows what to expect in the Championship following his success with Hearts last season but the learning curve will be steep for Rob Kiernan and anyone else who signs up this summer.
“A lot of guys coming here will know Rangers are a big club, an institution,” McGregor said.
“But it’s for us guys, knowing we have failed – and we have to admit that to ourselves that we failed – to make sure that the new guys and the younger lads coming through know there can’t be any slip-ups this season. We can’t afford any.
“It’s a big season and we need to show our worth. The boys who are still here from last season have a point to prove and we all know that.” Today is the deadline for Rangers fans to renew season tickets for the 2015/16 Championship campaign. Visit www.rangers.co.uk, call 0871 702 1972 or visit the Rangers Ticket Centre.
DUGOUT BLUES: Darren McGregor has pondered long and hard why Rangers finished so far behind Hearts last season.