Opinion: Scotland National Team needs Rangers’ fans onside to galvanise nation
photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images

Scotland National Team needs Rangers’ fans onside to galvanise nation

The Scotland national team has rarely sat at such a paradoxical lull.

On one side, the talking up of our nation’s apparent golden talent pool is supposed to have us excited.

On the other, results on the pitch, and friction amongst the support, has most of us scunnered.

Scotland haven’t qualified for a major international tournament in two decades, and now the state of the international team has everyone flummoxed. But if the country and the supporters are serious about success, they simply must leave club loyalty at the door.

Rangers fans have traditionally supported Scotland but there’s a developing friction among supporters. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Rangers players booed and fans distancing themselves

Rangers – undisputedly the country’s largest and most supported club – sits with one leg into the national camp.

The Rangers fans are frustrated with the Tartan Army. Players are regularly booed and the club is regularly condemned. We’re not made to feel very welcome.

Whilst this isn’t reflective of the entire Scotland support, it also shouldn’t be written off. Rangers fans are distancing themselves from Scotland – rightly or wrongly – and it is harming the national game. There was a time when club loyalty was forgotten if the blue shirts of Scotland turned out. My diehard Bluenose Scotland supporting Grandfather wouldn’t believe the state of play nowadays.

Scotland manager Alex “Eck” McLeish managed Rangers to success in the early 2000s. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

On the other side, some Rangers fans are still scorned by what they see as mistreatment from the league and the SFA. The perpetually failing Scotland National Team can often feel like the whipping post for this frustration. A lot of Tartan Army fan frustration towards Rangers also stems from the mess that came out of 2012.

As a result Scotland suffers.

This shouldn’t be disregarded as Old Firm paranoia. There’s a real friction here, but there’s responsibility to be taken on both ends.

What role do Rangers play in Scotland’s future

Politics and football in Scotland are rarely far away from each other. In fact, in the analysation of team selections, Twitter accounts and media comment, Scottish football often feels like a political arena.

Rangers often sit separately from the rest and this friction harms the game. We’re Scottish, and British, and Rangers have always been proud to be both. We’ve supplied some of the country’s greatest ever players and we will do the same in the future – I have no doubts.

Super Ally McCoist is Rangers greatest goalscorer and also earned 61 caps for Scotland. Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford/ALLSPORT

As hard as it may be, fans of all clubs must leave footballing politics at the door for the good of the game. The best players will make the squad. Rangers still have a role to play. Trust the manager.

On the other side, the Tartan Army also have a responsibility to their country. Having the legions of Rangers fans onside with Scotland can only be good for harnessing a good feeling in the country’s national game. We need collectiveness and a shared vision to harness success.

But if certain sections continue to vilify the club, its players and its supporters, they might just lose our support forever.

 


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