This week in part 7 of 9, I’m looking at players that from each of the 9 in-a-row seasons, may not have got the recognition they deserve.
Apart from a title winning campaign, it was a rather forgettable one. The Ibrox side were even knocked out of 2 competitions within 8 days of each other.
This was a close season that saw the great Dane Brian Laudrup arrive at Ibrox, along with Scottish goalkeeper Billy Thomson. However, it is the other summer arrival that I focus on today.
Appearances – 31
Goals — 3
I know what many of you are thinking and, yes, he and Richard Gough could not play together as a pair. Questions can also be asked about how we utilised the renowned man marker at Ibrox or why we bought a sweeper to play in a back 4. But, in terms of league titles, he played his part.
It’s hard to imagine now, but back in that summer Boli was blockbuster. This is the man who had marked (in more ways than one) the great Marco Van Basten out of a Champions League final, who had the balls to headbutt England hard man and Rangers fan Stuart Pearce at Euro 88 – Pearce having the sense to stay clear of the big man at corners from then on in. My grandpa was always at pains to show me in my youthful age at the time.
Boli arrived at Ibrox with everything in his locker: international caps, Champions League winner’s medal, along with the goal he scored in securing it, and for good measure a hit single in France with Chris Waddle and a reputation as the continent’s best sweeper. Make no mistake, this was a major coup for us.
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I can still remember seeing the big man for the first time at Ibrox, nearly bringing the house down with a shot in the famed Ibrox tournament vs Man Utd.
The answer as to why it never quite worked out for him at Ibrox is most likely a 2 way one, with the player failing to make adaptions to the Scottish game and culture. It was a strange choice by Walter Smith (or above) in signing a player renowned for playing a sweeper or man marking role in a back 3, it just didn’t fit our system at that time.
He may not have set the world alight or carried us to European glory as promised, but he did play a pivotal role in securing 6 in-a-row and for that we are always thankful.
Please tell me if you would have picked differently.