Gambles and huffs

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As the hunt for the lesser spotted Rangers manager enters a third week (or is it fourth?) the speculative froth - we've had too may managers for it be a frenzy anymore, the law of diminishing returns has well and truly set in - is going as flat as the head on a poorly pulled pint in an Edinburgh alehouse.

Names have been suggested with all the fact free abandon of a Donald Trump speech, and about as much responsibility. The usual suspects are up there, a few curveballs, and the rent-an-application crowd of those who can't quite face the fact that their day has well and truly been and gone. Ibrox, though, has become a veritable Tower of Silence, with not a hint as to the next manager of our club escaping from the frontage of Edmiston Drive.

So the froth (now just a few, sad bubbles) has been reduced to speculating about speculating, about whether media speculation over Derek McInnes' future might be unsettling the poor lamb, and whether Rangers should really take a good look at themselves for allowing it.

No-one expects prose worthy of Chris Brookmyre or incisive comment a la Gore Vidal from sports media, but they've gone so far down the rabbit hole it's hard to see them coming back. Were football a branch of literature there would be professors of theory across the land explaining meta-journalism to bored students day and night. But it's not that important and the writing is not that good. Those of a classical bent may be more likely to think of the Ouroboros, the snake which eats itself, or, expressed less flatteringly, devours itself a***hole first.

Yes, the sound of huffiness has permeated the air these last few weeks. Ironic, given that the grievance is more or less the sense of entitlement often levelled at Bluenoses - they feel they should be told, they want to be told, and they're in the huff because they haven't been told. Everyone knows journalists are working to get the scoop on their colleagues, but even so it's a bit feeble - if you, a journo, don't have the info you want, work harder to get it. As in all walks of life, there is never a substitute for hard work. Rarely if ever a guarantor of success, but always a prerequisite. Bleating? Not quite so vital.

Leaving the frustrated media to fill the large space in their deadlines with the sad, bitter dregs from the bottom of their tankards, this fan is far happier chucking names around the pub with no info to go on. This is far more fun and wastes precisely zero bandwidth, electricity or paper. But it's not been so much the names suggested as the size of the task that has been exercising fellow Bluenoses. While most of us seem willing to accept a wide range of managers, there's differences in what's expected of them. Give celtc a run for their money, bag a pot, qualify and don't get humiliated in Europe: a modest to do list, and one which ought to be within the compass of every applicant for the job.

As such, it's not that much of a gamble, this new manager appointment. Most of us on here could probably assemble a half decent team and, if we had suitable coaches to do the drills, turn out an effective enough side. The mystery, as always, is identifying who has that special something, the invisible extra per cent which lifts an ordinary team into the decent, a decent team into the excellent, and an excellent team into the world class.

Given that we're some distance from achieving even the first of these aims, you can see why the gamble factor is less than it may previously have been in our history, when any new boss had to assume control of a team which was usually somewhere between decent and excellent, had a sizeable budget to work with and the frankly impossible added task of satisfying the Rangers support. Then again, both Warburton and Caixinha had similar targets to meet and failed signally. I have to say, though, that I'm not prepared to drop the standard one inch below what I set out above: if the club are setting out ambitions which don't even meet those modest standards it's probably time for a new board.

Here I am falling into the same habit of the media, speculating about what the board are doing without a scrap of proof. Hopefully, I haven't unsettled them! But it's been mildly irritating to read and hear what are probably not dense people acting in a dense way, and I feel better for getting it off my chest.

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