No-one safe from Rangers axe warns Stuart McCall

Rangers manager Stuart McCall and coach Kenny Black
Rangers manager Stuart McCall and coach Kenny Black

Stuart McCall has warned his Rangers players that no-one will be guaranteed a start while he tries to find a winning formula at Ibrox.

The former Motherwell manager took charge of the side for the first time since replacing Kenny McDowall with Livingston’s visit on Saturday.

But despite a bright start, Gers could only limp to a 1-1 draw.

It was the Light Blues’ fourth Scottish Championship stalemate on the spin and put another dent in their hopes of catching second-placed Hibernian, who are seven points in front.

Now McCall has promised changes ahead of Tuesday night’s Govan clash with Alloa.

“We will change personnel over the next few weeks,” said McCall, who welcomes back keeper Cammy Bell but has seen Haris Vuckic and Sebastien Faure ruled out with injuries.

“I need to see what the guys look like so most of the squad will get a game. That’s not about giving someone a game just for the sake of it.

“There might be a couple of players who will feel they merit a chance when they’ve not had one, so how can I judge them if I don’t see them?

“Until we get the right formula and see players deserving a jersey, I will make changes. We’ve got a couple of injuries for tomorrow night so that will be the case already.

“We’re evaluating all the time in training and games but we have to do it quickly. We have to get back up to a position where we can win football matches.”

McCall was due to meet interim chairman Paul Murray and director John Gilligan last night, when the topics of discussion included the possibility of adding some free agents to his squad before the March 31 signing deadline.

But the new boss admits he may also turn to the club’s youngsters in a bid to energise his line-up.

He said: “If there is an opportunity to freshen things up with a couple of new faces then that might be a possibility to consider.

“But I look at young Tom Welsh who started on Saturday and did fantastic. Maybe we will go with the youths, but I need to see a wee bit more of them.

“I’ve seen a couple in training - Robbie Crawford made an impression while Fraser Aird is back in training and did the same.”

One player who is unlikely to be featuring for the Ibrox men this term is on-loan Newcastle winger Shane Ferguson.

The Northern Ireland man has a serious knee injury and McCall said he was “astounded” to see him called up by his country for next week’s friendly with Scotland.

National team boss Michael O’Neill admitted the 23-year-old is likely to be withdrawn within the next 48 hours - and McCall revealed he might never appear in a blue jersey before returning south in the summer.

He said: “From what I’ve been led to believe, we won’t see him at all this season.”

McCall is now focusing on Alloa and how to kick-start his side’s play-off push.

“Everybody said it would have been nice to hit the ground running with a victory but we didn’t deserve one,” he said.

“However, I look at Tim Sherwood after he went to Aston Villa. In his first game against Stoke, they lost 2-1. They then went up to their relegation rivals Newcastle and lost, so after two games when he was hoping to hit the ground running, they were on quickly on the back foot.

“But now they have won three games on the bounce and are playing with confidence. That shows you that football can change quickly.

“We have got to look to beat Alloa and then build on that. The way we are playing at the moment we deserve criticism. We need to get better and quickly.

“Our aim is to get out of this league but we need to make sure not only that we get in those play-offs but with good momentum.

“However, just because we didn’t win on Saturday, it does not mean I don’t think we can do it.”