17 Aug Gary McAllister: Stronger squad gives Rangers more control
Rangers assistant manager Gary McAllister has sensed more control about the team with the help of a stronger squad.
Steven Gerrard made his 10th summer signing in midweek by bringing in Leicester midfielder Any King on loan and his side moved into the Europa League play-offs with a 7-3 aggregate win over Midtjylland.
Gerrard’s men have won seven games and drawn once this season after ending last term with a six-match winning streak before a last-day defeat at Kilmarnock.
McAllister feels the introduction of Steven Davis towards the end of last season and the subsequent new signings have helped give him and Gerrard more confidence in the team and the bench.
“If you look at the games we have played, it’s definitely a stronger bench than last season,” the former Scotland midfielder said. “When you look on to the pitch, there’s more control.
“From the split last season, the level of performance and the way we have controlled games and managed games, especially in Europe, there’s definitely an upturn.
“With the addition of experience, Steven Davis in particular, and Ryan Jack have been outstanding in the middle of the park. The two strikers are scoring goals, we have four very good centre-backs.
“Every compartment of the team is definitely stronger and therefore, certainly from my perspective, I see a greater control in games.”
Rangers’ depth is set to be tested in Sunday’s Betfred Cup tie at East Fife with a number of players handed opportunities to stake a claim.
“The side that will be named is going to be strong,” McAllister said. “It’s an opportunity for people who have not had minutes to go and show the manager. It’s all about healthy competition.
“They (East Fife) will be organised, they have started the season not bad with a couple of draws. It’s a big game for them, a full house. They will raise their game. But we have got to be ready for that.
“For us, it’s about mentality. The same preparation will be done for East Fife as recent European and league games. We are looking to get a good run in this competition.”
Rangers then travel to Poland for the first leg of their final Europa League qualifier against Legia Warsaw.
“We look forward to it,” McAllister said. “It’s a stadium where they make plenty of noise. Over the two legs we fancy ourselves, that’s the way it is. If we get any team back to Ibrox still in the game we would be happy with that.”