Rangers’ Europa League squad has been confirmed for Thursday’s Europa League clash with Lincoln Red Imps and the reduced squad list shows that the club are still feeling the lingering effects of 2012’s financial meltdown.
Steven Gerrard has only been able to name 21 players out of a maximum of 25 due to the fact that the Gers can’t fulfil their quote of club and association trained players in the list.
Clubs must name four players who were trained between 15-21 in their own domestic territory and a further four who were trained at the club between the same age and have been continually registered for the previous three years.
Of the 21-man A list, only Allan McGregor counts towards the club-trained number while Ryan Jack, Scott Arfield and Greg Stewart count towards the domestically-trained number.
That means that the Gers have had to leave four spaces in the pool empty and some of the blame can be attributed to the shambles that surrounded the club almost a decade ago now.
While it might seem like a bit of a lazy cop-out, the effects of the club’s financial meltdown went far beyond the players who opted to walk away under TUPE legislation or saw their contracts terminated.
Huge areas of the club’s development programme had to be ripped up and built from scratch and that has left the Gers a few years behind the curve when it comes to promoting Academy players.
Many of the youngsters who were in the Academy around 2012 were pushed into the first-team long before they ever should have been and it seriously stunted their development and essentially cleared out the older groups at Auchenhowie.
Over the last three or four years, that has slowly started to get put right but it is only now that the club are starting to really see positive signs coming from the Academy.
Players like Nathan Patterson are now getting themselves into a position to push for a first-team place but many of the youngsters haven’t been at the club long enough to make them eligible for a homegrown place on the UEFA A list.
That should finally change over the next year or two as the likes of Craig Mulholland, Graeme Murty, Kevin Thomson and Brian Gilmour do fantastic work with the youngsters coming through.
Hopefully, this time next season, the A list will be able to be filled to it’s full complement as Patterson and co stake a serious claim for a first-team place.