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As Per Usual, Keith Jackson Has Gotten Absolutely Everything Wrong Today.

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It is probably not going to surprise anybody that we find ourselves here again, covering a Jackson article. I will surprise you slightly by saying that it’s not all nonsense, but enough of it is nonsense that it justifies our returning to what has become a Monday morning tradition. Keith Jackson is the only writer in our media who could inspire this.

Full disclosure: I absolutely love the headline. Which we know he doesn’t write. It’s much of the rest of what comes after it which defies belief. Let us not tarry, and leap right into it.

Alarm bells ring at (Ibrox) as Philippe Clement resorts to flimsy logic and stars turn in shoddy work – Keith Jackson

Like I said, I love the headline. Remember last week when I said that if their club is already fragmenting inside the walls that a lot of our hacks know it? I read that and started to wonder if we’re seeing the first signs of Truth creep out from under the rug. The sub-headline, which is next up, actually made me burst out laughing.

The Ibrox boss should show his men the Walter Smith statue so they know what a real winner looks like.

They actually do subscribe to this kind of hocus-pocus, don’t they? They think that having their players stand in the “presence” of Smith will confer some wisdom on them or make them better players. In truth, what that sub-headline suggests is that the club hierarchy line up their players in front of the statue to berate them and remind them that they are losers. Before a cup final. Try it guys, please. See how well it raises the spirits.

The memory of the late great Walter Smith will be respectfully honoured on Saturday morning outside Ibrox.

I don’t know … whoever came up with that really was convinced they were going to be celebrating a title win. Because really, it’s a terrible time to honour a so-called “winner.” The timing of it is dreadful, but it reeks of egotism too because it clearly shows you they thought this would be a title winning season when they laid the ground for it. Instead, it will be marked by anxiety, pressure their own players and depress their own fans. It’s bonkers.

 Later the same day the (Ibrox) board will have to cross their fingers and hope it is not besmirched across the city at Hampden. The unveiling of a bronze statue will immortalise a true giant of a man. In his 10 full seasons in charge Smith collected nine titles, five Scottish Cups and six League Cups – an enormous haul and one which is likely to mark him down for the rest of time as the club’s greatest ever manager. By contrast, in the 13 years since he stepped down from the position (Ibrox teams) have won just one of each.

Was that the only legacy Smith left behind at Ibrox? It wasn’t. What are we missing here, Keith? What part of the picture are you deliberately leaving out?

The disparity in those numbers speaks volumes both for the genius of Smith’s work but also for the gross mismanagement which has followed in the subsequent years of almost unrelenting ineptitude. So while it’s a magnificent and fitting gesture for the current hierarchy to pay such a permanent tribute to the club’s single most significant servant, there is also an element of high risk in the timing of the big reveal.

A phenomenal paragraph. It makes the right point at the end, because, as I said, if it wasn’t egotism and rampaging arrogance that they would be champions which led to them setting this date then it was definitely lunacy … but I really marvel at the bit at the start. Gross mismanagement has followed Smith’s era. Stunning. Because, of course, that’s the missing piece of the puzzle; if you want to know what “gross mismanagement” looks like, look no further than The Great Walter himself.

There was more than one author of The Death Of Rangers … Murray was certainly the most guilty, but be under no illusions that one other man would be with him in the dock if this was a murder case. Smith was instrumental in spending them towards the grave.

Even when the bank was effectively running things, he refused to cut the wage bill, he was still bringing in players … their last three titles, the last three Rangers ever won, were only possible because he pushed for the spending of more money than they could afford.

He helped drive their club to the wall. That trophy haul is tainted by the end of the EBT era. But it also epitomises Ibrox’s crazy years … the ones that killed Rangers. Those were the years when “gross mismanagement” was truly running riot there.

Because the truth of the matter is Smith’s patience with these current day players would have been exhausted a long time ago. He most certainly would have had no wish to be associated with their pitiful record of failure and not so near misses. On the contrary, Smith was the embodiment of a champion and perhaps it might be a good idea for Philippe Clement to gather his players around the great man’s sculpture just to familiarise them with what a winner is supposed to look like.

And there it is. The idea that Clement should find another way to call his players losers, on the morning of a cup final which we’re going into with morale sky-high and the whole club hungry for more success. Brilliant. As I said, please, please, please do it.

And maybe even to remind them of their own responsibilities ahead of an end of season showpiece and a consolation crack at Celtic in the Scottish Cup Final. Of course, even a win at the national stadium will not make amends for their wobbly legged capitulation over the course of the title run-in.

No, it won’t. But a lot of your colleagues will try to dress it up as if it does.

But it would at least allow them to salvage a happy ending from yet another season of underachievement as well as provide a timely, appropriate nod to Smith’s achievements and legendary status. The trouble is Clement can’t be sure if enough of them really care about their own professional reputations, never mind expecting them to show respect to anyone else’s.

This is not going to come down to anything other than who is good enough and who is not. You can have all the “leaders” in the team that you want, and all the will to win that you like … without the basic skills and the talent and a manager to put it all together properly it does not matter one bit. Besides, every one of these voodoo mind tricks has been tried at Ibrox already in the course of this season. Celtic are the champions regardless.

On Saturday at Tynecastle he watched on from the sidelines as they took it upon themselves to toss away a two-goal lead to end the league season with another two dropped points. Over their final 10 games of the campaign, when wins were at an absolute premium, Rangers managed only four of them.

Yeah because teams – even Naismith’s team – have them figured out now. Clement is a one-dimensional manager just as The Mooch was, and the longer he’s there the easier teams are going to find it to beat him.

In total over that same period, they took just 15 points from a possible 30 which is a sure signal that something has gone seriously wrong inside Clement’s dressing room. And the lazy manner of their latest collapse at the weekend suggests their heart is no longer in it.

See above. Oh, I don’t doubt that morale has collapsed. I don’t doubt that there are problems in the dressing room. Clement is a loony. He’s already on the record as a man who left his own wife because she wasn’t a winner (at what? The monthly neighbourhood bake sale?) and who traumatised his kids by never allowing them even a token victory at The Game Of Life, so the idea that he’s a warm and open personality with his players is frankly ridiculous. He comes across as pathetically old school; he has that in common with Smith, the old “shout at them until blood comes out of their ears” style boss who will never command respect in a room full of millionaires.

A quick glance at the goal which brought Hearts back into the contest when, at 3-1 down, they ought to have been dead and buried perfectly highlights this malaise. It began when Fabio Silva carelessly gave away possession and then simply couldn’t be bothered tracking Dexter Lembikisa as the full-back steamed towards the Rangers box.

 There’s a reason Silva was offered to every club in the Western hemisphere in January – including Celtic – and it has nothing to do with his agents looking for a proper place in which to show off his array of talent. He is lazy, he’s a cheat, he’s nowhere near as talented as would remotely justify even the hype that the Ibrox club surrounded his capture with … and he is not in the smallest way worth the fee which Wolves paid for him and which is why Ibrox leaped in the first place, having learned nothing from previous failures which were more about headlines than accomplishments.

Todd Cantwell, Kieran Dowell, Ross McCausland and Leon King all then had a chance to get tight, stick a foot in and at least attempt to prevent the home side from advancing. None of them took it. Skipper James Tavernier also abdicated his defensive duties by failing to prevent a cross from reaching his penalty box, in much the same way as he did the previous weekend when Daizen Maeda waltzed around him to set up Celtic’s second goal.

When so many players are not on it, or out of position, that’s a coaching problem. Blaming so many individual players for that is suspect; it sounds to me like people trying to make sense of bewildering instructions and all looking at each other to see if someone else has it figured out.

And, having arrived at the back post without being troubled by Silva, Lembikisa’s presence there was also ignored by Ridvan Yilmaz who threw up his arms in apparent bemusement as the ball was thrashed into the back of Jack Butland’s net from close range.

I cannot wait to play this lot at the weekend. What a shambles.

This passiveness and reluctance to take personal responsibility is what has undermined Clement’s attempts to turn the season around. It smacks of a lack of effort and shoddy professionalism and someone of Smith’s standards most certainly would not have stood for any of it. Nor would he have paid any attention to XGs or taken any comfort from comparing the points gathered against the rest of the teams of the league, if his side was being routinely turned over every time they took on the team from the other side of the city.

Well everything in that paragraph pinpoints Clement as the problem, not the solution to it. He too has shown a reluctance to take personal responsibility. Jackson correctly highlights his loser thinking and his desperate clutching at straws, and yet cannot make the deductive leap that it’s the manager who presents the club with its hardest questions.

On the contrary, he’d have raised an eyebrow in disapproval had he heard a Rangers manager resorting to such flimsy logic. Some of Clement’s comments recently have made the Belgian look like a man who is struggling to cope with the pressures of the job – and being in charge of a group of players upon whom he knows he cannot trust.

He couldn’t handle the dressing room at Monaco either. There is no real sign that he can cope with being under real scrutiny, and the media would have figured this out way before they did had they subjected him to some in the first place instead of covering him with honey.

He finds himself in the unenviable position of having his homework marked against that of a Celtic side which, down the years, has developed a dependency for lifting silverware. In other words, he’s trying to take down serial winners with Cyriel dudders and until such times as he builds a side around his own signings, then it’ll be difficult to judge the effectiveness of his own contribution.

So he didn’t sanction the signing of Diomande? He didn’t sanction Silva? He didn’t sanction bringing in Cortes and isn’t trying to make that deal permanent? This is also the guy with the second biggest wage bill in the country, and can’t beat Ross County in a must-win game. His homework is being marked alright, but not in contrast to Celtic.

And yet, a little alarmingly, Clement continues to make the same mistakes, by relying upon the likes of Fabio Silva for example, even when other more deserving and reliable options have been available to him. When Silva celebrated scoring an equaliser at home to Kilmarnock at the start of the month and celebrated by petulantly pointing to the name on the back of his shirt, it should have been the last time he was allowed to wear it.

There it is. Jackson, on some level, realises that Clement is self-destructing and might take the rest of the club with him. Giving this guy a summer to sign his own players seems logical up to a point … but might end up making matters worse.

That he reproduced the same rattle-out-of-the-pram routine on Saturday when he came off the bench to score his side’s third goal displayed a staggering lack of self awareness. The name of Fabio Silva will, ultimately, not merit as much as a footnote in the rich history of a club which has long since forgotten bigger and better performers. Smith’s name, on the other hand, will remain carved into the foundations of Ibrox as a permanent reminder of how Rangers really ought to be represented.

 Silva’s name will be a reminder that one of the things that makes the Ibrox club of the present day similar to the one that came before it was an obsession with bling, and a general arrogance that even an out-of-favour EPL player who has never even come close to justifying the move that got him there would come to Scotland and coast past the domestic competition. Smith also believed that, and so did the other Ibrox bosses who came after him.

In that regard, Silva will certainly not be a footnote. He should, in fact, be considered their poster-boy.

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  • Fun time frankie says:

    Fabio Saliva ,I’ve had more talent dribbling oot ma mouth at the dentist.

  • FSTB says:

    Oh dear ibrox noise piece on old phiilpy flop certainly doesn’t sound like a glowing endorsement.
    Playing injured players ,
    IIRC did you not do a story a wee while back on that very subject James
    Oh the bluebells are blue
    Oh the bluebells are blue

  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Clowns like jackson, like tae invent their own history. It’s all part of pushin his ‘dream’ tae have smith’s name up there along with Scottish greats Stein, Ferguson,, shankly, busby, although he always manages tae stop short of sayin it. Because even this smith sycophant knows, he’s naewhere near the status of these managers. In fact ah’ve always believed Jim McLean was a better manager than Smith. Imagine what that guy could’ve achieved with the resources smith had.

  • Charlie Green says:

    Walter Smith was the beneficiary of the worst cheating, financially or otherwise, in any sport and was found out when he went to Everton.
    There is a strange thing I have noticed through the years and that is when the Rangers/ Sevco board fans and media want rid of a manager they stop getting the breaks. When was the last time they had a player sent off before the Celtic game and a penalty. I think Clement’s “jaikit” is on a shoogley peg.

  • Duncan Paterson says:

    The same Walter smith that allowed the festering bigotry at ipox to run rampant with goram,gascoigne,Charlie Millar,Ferguson etc.read marco negri book.

  • king murdy says:

    as soon as i saw the gist of the article…i thought…walter EBT smith….smith was a fan and an employee of an organisation that actively pursued a sectarian signing policy until 1989, when sourness(intended) arrived…smith joined them in 1986..3 years before sourness signed johnston..
    smith…and super ally, and every other “really nice guy” that played and worked for them in those pre johnston years gave tacit approval of the policy….let no-one be in any doubt…
    how sweet and fitting that his use of EBT’S and his pursuit of celtic’s european success should be the very thing that eventually brought the whole, sectarian, arrogant shit show down….
    i think we should have a statue to the bastard somewhere, in a corner at parkhead….
    fuk him and them.

  • sligo123456 says:

    Chapeau James.
    Another infantile piece by Jackass!!

  • JimBhoy says:

    Jackson, if he is writing this stuff is not the brightest or maybe he is and he is just writing puff pieces to satisfy a demographic. Keeps him in a job winning awards each year.

    Like was posted last week Celtic didn’t win the league rangers lost it I was looking to see if Jackson followed with similar, worst league ever, worst Celtic team the past decade.

    The klan will love this nonsense, playing to their hero Walter, a nice man RIP met him a couple of times but like the Belgian waffler a bit one dimensional when it came to football tactics. Was lucky enough he was given buckets of money (illegally) to cover for his inefficiencies. We all know the story, the klan care to forget.

    The ranger’s best manager was Van Bronkhurst without a doubt but he started to tell the truth a bit earlier than the rest of them marched out the door since their inception 12 year’s ago. A clever man nonetheless, decent coach but didn’t get up to speed with Klan-speak fast enough. Maybe missed a memo.

    Clemente has been a true great at getting the kulchur and quick. An ego stroke by some of the klan was all it took.

    Mind you I suppose WHEN he fails and the torches are lit and pitchforks sharpened he can walk away with a few million it seems. Does any manager ever fail at Ibrox, they all most likely can’t get away sharp enough when the mob raise up against them. Rinse repeat.

    I make it 12 separate managers in 12 seasons for the rangers.(3 or 4 were care-takers), quite an achievement maybe even a record. Breaking records and making friends along the journey. We still in the banter years?

    HH bring on the Cup.

  • Effarr says:

    I never knew his name was Smith, or was that his occupation? I thought it was just WALTER.
    He was another one of their polystyrene hardmen, just like his uneducated side-kick knox. who doesn`t even merit the capitals like WALTER does.

  • Tam57 says:

    Smith was an ignorant bastard, trust me on this one, he spoke down to most folk, a sarcastic ignoramus, certainly no genius

  • John says:

    Only the ‘second coming’ could sort out the current problems of the Southside Club. I doubt very much if the big man would take the job on, as I’m almost certain that someone would sell him out for 30 pieces of silver.

  • Robert M says:

    We all know that the EBTs and the Refs in Scotland earned RFC the 9 titles – they were stolen.
    To hold Smith up as the bastion ogf the new Rangers is a farce.
    He wasn’t the manager for their whole 9 in a row, only after Sourness (intended) moved to a better club.
    I also thought that the most successful RFC manager was Scott Symon (7 championships, 4 Scottish Cups, 6 League cups) and he was only outdone by the man himself, Jock Stein! from the mid 60s onwards

  • Dando says:

    There won’t be any Everton fans at the unveiling.

    I was down at a stag do in Newcastle the year after Walter (no sir name needed) left Everton FC, both teams had just played each other and I got chatting to a table of 12 Everton fans….

    I asked “What’s your take on Walter Smith?”

    The reply “Are you trying to waist our fu**ing weekend?”

    HH

  • Mark McKenna says:

    The Season MON came to Celtic Walter spent over £30m of other people’s Money and Celtic won the Treble. The ‘genius’ win 1 treble in his time at a financially doped rangers. When he returned to Rangers in late 00s he used tax cheating to win 3 in a row and it was those last acts of Hubris that sent them all to hell. Walter done walking away, he proclaimed them a new club because there was nothing left for him to milk out them.

    He’s a sleekit bitter bastard like his protege Mccoist. He gets a free ride for being Tommy Burns mate. The fact is there isn’t such a thing as a decent Rangers fan, only a sneaky one.

    Champions again

  • Mark McKenna says:

    I put on a perfectly good summation of the myth, has it been binned?

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