The Renaissance of Rangers - Going for 55

How to bring a giant club back to where they belong. Rangers are the most successful team in Scottish football, but have had troubled times recently. They have worked their way up from the fourth tier of Scottish Football to the second, after being relegated there in 2012/13, due to financial troubles. The challenge is to re-instate Rangers as a dominant, if not the dominant team in the top tier of Scottish football; then try and conquer Europe. However the ultimate goal is to beat the record for consecutive Scottish Premiership titles in a row (currently held by Celtic and Rangers), which is nine.

List of honours Rangers have won, and league positions since 98/99.

Rangers FM16 Story:

Starting transfer budget - £500,000

Starting wage budget - £141,000
Stadium capacity - 50,947
Founded: 1872


Arguably one of the biggest football clubs in the world - Glasgow Rangers, are currently sitting in the second tier of Scottish Football for the second season running, following a playoff final loss to Motherwell the previous season. In this Football Manager 16 story, I will attempt to bring Rangers back to the top of Scottish football. 54 Scottish Premiership titles (including nine in a row from 1988/89-1996/97), 33 Scottish Cups, 27 Scottish League Cups, and 1 European Cup Winners Cup is not a bad number of trophies to have won. But the most recent Scottish League Two, and League One titles do not do them justice. I have set myself some goals that I ultimately want to achieve with Rangers, as well as goals for the first season of this save. These goals will also have the challenges they face, and I will look to add more season-long goals at the beginning of each season.

Major Goals:

  • Develop young, homegrown players into the first team.
  • Sign young promising players to mix with experience.
  • Make Rangers a dominant, if not the most dominant force in Scottish Football.
  • Win a European trophy, possibly even a number of them.
  • Ultimate goal - Win 10 Scottish Premiership titles in a row.

1st Season Goals:

  • Win the Scottish Championship, win the Scottish League Challenge Cup, reach at least the semi finals of the Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup. 
  • Develop as many promising young players as I can by giving them as much first team experience as possible as Rangers are in the Scottish Championship, with the aim of them progressing into quality Scottish Premiership players within three seasons.
  • Challenges faced - Hibernian (Hibs) will be hard to beat and should give a real test in the race to get promoted to the Scottish Premiership, Falkirk should also not be underestimated. Also the squad depth is not the best to begin with.

The Beginning - Squad and Tactics

The Squad:

Rangers' squad depth

Rangers' squad in terms of quality is not too bad, the main worry is the lack of depth. There are some solid players who are some of the best in the division, and would be more than capable of having potential to be quality Scottish Premiership players. Wes Foderingham, James Tavernier, Danny Wilson, and Jason Holt fall into this category. 

Rangers also have some young players with the potential to be quality Scottish Premiership players, such as Barrie McKay, Liam Burt, Jordan Thompson, and Ross Lyon. There are also a two players on loan: Dominic Ball (from Tottenham), and Gedion Zelalem (from Arsenal) also fall into this category, I will look at trying to acquire Ball after the first season finishes as his contract with Tottenham is due to expire (unless Tottenham offer him a new contract of course). Zelalem has great potential, but his contract expires in 2017, and I am guessing Arsenal will offer him a new deal, but I will keep a close eye on him after this season.

Other quality players within the squad are:

Defenders: Lee Wallace, Rob Kiernan
Midfielders: Andy Halliday, Michael O'Halloran
Strikers: Martyn Waghorn

As you can see, it is imperative to add to the squad. I will obviously have to see what is available in the transfer market and who I can afford with the budget that I have.


In previous Football Manager games I have always attempted to set my team up to play a fluent, possession-based, and high pressing style of football; luckily Rangers have a number of players who have good attributes to fit this style of play. I tend to spend a very long time setting my team up the way I want them to play, including set pieces, making sure the right players will be in the right place at the right time. I believe that doing this can set the right foundation for the team to become as familiar as possible with the tactics you employ, and it can be a launching pad for future success - IF the tactics fit in with the players you have, and buy in the future.

I have set three different formations to attempt to combat any in-game situation:

This is the main tactic I will use in the league this season. Fluidity is important I believe, and I don't want my defensive line being stretched wide, so they can press high as a unit and hopefully use the offside trap to good effect. I also don't want them to take any risks in terms of challenges so by staying on their feet and marking tight should help. Ideally the center backs will look to play penetrating passes to the midfield, thus eliminating a line of defence from the opposition. I am also hoping that by instructing players to retain possession it will encourage players to be more expressive on the ball. I am aiming for Tavernier and Wallace to overlap the wingers as they did to great affect during last season in real life, and they have great crossing ability as well. Tavernier will get forward more as he fits the Complete Wing Back roll well, so whoever will play on the right will play as a Supporting Winger or Advanced Playmaker so they have more of a chance to cover Tavernier if needed. I do want the team to retain their shape, hence instructing them to stay in their positions, but this will hopefully allow the offensive players to stay in their most effective positions. 

With this tactic, I have employed similar instructions. Although I have set up to counter-attack, hence the extra holding midfielder, the right winger being pushed forward more as an attacking winger, and the right back reverting to a traditional full back roll. This will enable a more solid shape. I will aim to use this tactic more in cup competitions, especially if we get drawn against a top Premiership side. (Some players will change positions obviously, the picture is mainly for demonstration purposes).

Again I have set similar instructions with this tactic. The reasoning behind this tactic is due to some teams in the Scottish Championship having small pitches, and they set out to get behind the ball, and it can make it very difficult play expansively. This is why I have set up this diamond tactic, with instructions to play narrow, hoping to combat negative opposition tactics. (Some players will change positions obviously, the picture is mainly for demonstration purposes).

Positional Changes:

I want to give the younger, promising players a chance in the first season, but to fit into the team, a couple will need to adapt to a position that they aren't entirely comfortable with at present. But if there's ever a time to get a player to learn a new role it is when they are young, and being in the second tier I am hoping they will still be good enough to do well and gain confidence.

Barrie McKay played on the left wing, as an inside forward for Rangers in real life during last season and did exceptionally well, earning his first Scotland cap at the end of the season. However in Football Manager 16 his natural position is on the right, or through the middle as a number 10. I have faith that McKay will adapt quickly and do well on the left, cutting inside and creating chances.

Ross Lyon is a natural number 10, but is comfortable playing as a striker, and I will attempt to make him a successful one. Martyn Waghorn will still play a number of games throughout the season (he can also play on the right wing), however Lyon's potential is far greater than Waghorn's current ability, and I have always been inclined to play players with good potential in the first team as early as possible because it speeds up their development as a player, and can even increase their potential. They might not be as successful as you want them to be for a while, but show faith in them and they will eventually succeed for you. I will give Lyon as much game time as a striker as I can this season.

Liam Burt is also a natural number 10, but he can play on the right as well, and that's where he will play for Rangers. I will hopefully develop him as an advanced playmaker on the right, as his attributes fit that role well, and I am hoping he can form a good relationship with James Tavernier on the right.

Jordan Thompson is a natural central midfielder, but he is accomplished in a holding midfield role and I want him to play there as his attributes as a holding midfielder are decent, and are only going to improve. He will play some games as a central midfielder throughout the season but with Jason Holt, Gedion Zelalem, and Andy Halliday all being very good ball players and passers of the ball (Holt and Zelalem in particular), he will see more game time as a holding midfielder.

Game Time

Time to get stuck in. I hope you enjoyed this blog, hopefully this will only be the start of it. I'll aim to provide updates every month. I apologise if there is too much material to read (I left out how I set up defending and attacking set pieces as I'm sure everyone will have their own individual preferences), but I am a huge believer of making sure all the tactics are as thorough as they can be, having a complete understanding of every player and staff member in the squad. It is imperative I believe. It's how I have always played Football Manager, I hope it helps you improve or if you have any suggestions on how I can improve please comment. 



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Football Manager 2017 Blog: The Renaissance of Rangers - Going for 55
The Renaissance of Rangers - Going for 55
How to bring a giant club back to where they belong. Rangers are the most successful team in Scottish football, but have had troubled times recently. They have worked their way up from the fourth tier of Scottish Football to the second, after being relegated there in 2012/13, due to financial troubles. The challenge is to re-instate Rangers as a dominant, if not the dominant team in the top tier of Scottish football; then try and conquer Europe. However the ultimate goal is to beat the record for consecutive Scottish Premiership titles in a row (currently held by Celtic and Rangers), which is nine.
Football Manager 2017 Blog
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