Three chairmen, three managers and third place. For Season 2014/15, three was certainly not the magic number for Rangers. Never since three points were awarded for a win have Rangers picked up as few points in a league campaign. However, it’s onwards and upwards for the club, with wholesale changes planned over the summer.
Eleven players have already been released with rumours that more are to follow, while it seems near certain that there will be a new coaching set up in place within the coming weeks.
However, ahead of this busy summer, the club would do well to make some initial targets ahead of the coming season. Obviously everybody at the club wants to win every game that we play in, however finishing the season as league champions must be the priority.
Over the past ten seasons, the team finishing first in the Championship won an average of 74 points over the course of the season, with Hearts’ winning it by the most points (91) this past season, and Gretna by the least (66) in 2007. Hearts are in fact the only team to win more than 80 points over the past 10 seasons, so anything higher than 80 points would practically guarantee the title.
That means a minimum of 13 more points than this season’s final figure of 67 is needed in order to go up automatically. This season, we won 19, drew 10 and lost 7. If we can turn at least four of these draws into wins and one of these losses to a draw, the title should be brought back to Ibrox. So how is this done?
In both scoring and conceding, Rangers need to tighten up. Compared to last year’s League One campaign, the team scored 37 less (i.e. just over a goal less per game), and conceded over double with 39 goals going against the Light Blues. Again, it’s useful to look at the past Championship winners as an indicator of what is required for promotion.
This is where things get interesting in terms of where Rangers need to strengthen. The average number of goals scored by the Championship winners is 67.5. Rangers scored 69 this term. However, it is a different story entirely with the defence. The team finishing top of the Championship over the past 10 seasons conceded an average of 30.5 goals. This term, Rangers shipped 39. While more goals would be nice, it is the defence that really needs tightened up. As the cliché goes, strikers win games, defenders win leagues.
From this rudimentary analysis, we can set some targets ahead of the next season. Anything north of 80 points is almost certain to result in finishing first, and fixing our defence seems to be the best way of doing this. It’s now up to Mr. King and company to bring in the personnel required to both meet and surpass these targets.