Scottish football often has a habit of attracting football fans from around the world with individual moments of sheers madness and entertainment. This week has been no exception, with media from around the world sharing a video of new Rangers signing Jason “Cumdog” Cummings, roaming around a training ground in his underwear, pretending to be a professional wrestler.
Fans of the Ibrox club laughed along too, but the huge grins on their faces and the adoration they poured over social media wasn’t simply for the carry on of a viral video. No, Rangers fans are celebrating what has undoubtedly been an exceptionally efficient transfer window and what would seem like a bit of hard work and common sense for the first time since their promotion to the Scottish Premiership.
To date, Rangers have brought in no less than four players on loan. Although loan deals are far from ideal in the long term, and rival fans have suggested they underline the lack of funds available at the club, there’s no denying that the likes of Cummings, Jamie Murphy, Russell Martin and even Sean Goss could offer a huge help to Graeme Murty’s hopes of leapfrogging Aberdeen to second place.
Cummings, despite his troubled time at Nottingham Forest, is held in high regards in Scottish football following a Championship run with Hibernian that saw him pick up 19 goals and six assists in just 31 games. Since then the 22-year old has found himself called up to the Scotland national team, where he iz considered one of the main prospects for year to come.
The former Hibs man should slot in at Rangers with little doubt, where his ability to score with either feet and exploit space across the final third will offer a real impetus to a team that have been relying on Alfredo Morelos’ goals for far too long. Murty desperately needed another goalscorer and he now has one.
Similarly, Murphy has come a long way since he left Motherwell in 2013 and although his goalscoring and ability to provide assists are far from impressive, you’d struggle to find a Brighton fan who’d refuse to admit the left winger was hugely influential in their promotion to the Premier League.
With experience and a clear aptitude for winning, Murphy should offer some much-needed competition on the left wing, where Josh Windass has performed admirably but needs some support. Especially if Murty has plans to move the English forward inside to a No.10 position.
The Ibrox side have also done well to sure up a defensive line that has continued to undermine their best efforts in the league this season. Any hopes of bringing in experienced defender Bruno Alves alongside the more composed Fábio Cardoso to sure up the backline have largely failed, with Murty opting to drop both as soon as he picked up the reins from Pedro Caixinha.
As such, Martin has been brought in from Norwich and should offer some experience and, vitally, some expertise in defending crosses – an aspect of the game that has seemingly eluded the defensive coaches at Murray Park for much of the season.
Rangers also managed to push through the permanent signing of Declan John on the same day Murty was confirmed as manager, alerting very few to some solid business. Although the left back is perhaps more of a wing back – if not a full-blown winger – he’s already shown a clear ability to take to the Premiership with relative ease. And has filled in at left back whenever called upon with notable success.
Queens Park Rangers midfielder Goss should also offer some helpful cover in midfielder as well. Although the 22-year old can play in central defence, it would seem as though his time at Ibrox will be largely spent breaking down opposing attacks from the centre of the pitch and offering cover for the emerging talent of Ross McCrorie.
Yet good business in the January transfer window hasn’t just been limited to players arriving at Ibrox. Indeed, Murty and the club’s director of football, Mark Allen, have done well to ship Carlos Peña back to Mexico, where his inconsistency and apparent adolescence can be viewed from afar with little consequence.
Although the 27-year old had five goals to his name before the turn of the year, his lacklustre performances and notable transfer fee had come to represent a lightning rod for criticism aimed at the club. For many, Peña best characterised Caixinha’s bizarre and rather ineffective stint at Rangers and moving him on symbolises something akin to the club wiping the slate clean and starting again.
Indeed, such sentiment is only strengthened by the club’s reported interest in pinching some of the Premiership’s young talents before the window closes. Although fans would be more than content with the club already ticking all the boxes across the squad, the addition of Hamilton’s young playmaker Greg Docherty or Kilmarnock’s tricky winger Jordan Jones would be looked upon as icing on the cake.
We await to see if either young talents joins the club and whether or not the players that have already arrived go on to perform but, at the moment, Rangers fans are smiling for what seems like the first time in quite a while. The club have made some smart, efficient moves in the January transfer market with plenty of time to spare.