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Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 16:35 UK

Rangers team guide

BBC Sport's guide to Rangers

How did Rangers finish last season? Weakly. An exhausted Rangers side lost five points in their last three league matches, played over six days.

For months it had looked like Ibrox was the destination for the SPL title, but back-to-back defeats by Celtic gave their rivals the impetus to fight back and clinch the title on the final day.

Rangers club badge

Manager: Silver fox Walter Smith will feature prominently in any history of Rangers. His first tenure from 1991-1998 brought an endless supply of domestic honours.

Since Smith replaced Paul Le Guen in January 2008, he and assistants Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall have made major improvements to the side they inherited.

Last season's cup double, runners-up spot in the league and the club's appearance in the Uefa Cup final in May is a testament to the progress made in a season and a half.

Captain: Barry Ferguson will miss the first few months of the season as he recovers from an operation on his ankle. He will undoubtedly be missed, though, on a more positive note, it will force Rangers' other midfielders to raise their game and take on the role of dictating the play.

Scottish top-flight highlights: Rangers have been Scottish champions on 51 occasions. Nine league titles in a row were secured between 1989 and 1997, while there have been seven domestic trebles in the club's history.

Rangers will be desperate to win the SPL in season 2008/09 - failure to do so will almost certainly mean it's four-in-a-row for rivals Celtic.

Rangers legend: Former captain and manager John Greig was voted the "greatest-ever Ranger" in 1999 by followers of the club. How the fans would love to see the signing or emergence of a modern-day hero like Brian Laudrup or Jorg Albertz to brighten performances.

Rangers star defender Carlos Cuellar

Star man: The signing of Carlos Cuellar from Osasuna in the summer of 2007 was a terrific piece of business by Smith. The Spanish centre-half was immense in his debut season beside David Weir, winning the Scottish Football Writers' Player of the Year award.

Strengths: Last season's marathon run of 68 competitive matches betrayed Rangers' tremendous team spirit and fitness levels. And goalkeeper Allan McGregor, Cuellar and Weir provide a formidable defensive trio.

Weaknesses: The departure of Alan Hutton to Spurs left a void in the right-back area of the defence that Kirk Broadfoot has tried his best to fill.

But the attacking threat offered by Hutton hasn't been replaced and if Rangers fail to secure the long-term signature of Steve Davies then, coupled with Ferguson's enforced absence, it is hard to see where the creativity will come from to provide the strikers.

My Sport: DEBATE

Our verdict: The arrival of Kenny Miller, Kyle Lafferty and Andrius Velicka increases the attacking options but just who is going to provide the chances for the forwards at Ibrox? The title is sure to be a two-horse race but Rangers don't look any stronger this time round...

see also
Aberdeen team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Aberdeen
Celtic team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Celtic
Dundee United team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Dundee Utd
Falkirk team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Falkirk
Hamilton Academical team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Hamilton
Hearts team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Hearts
Hibernian team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Hibernian
Inverness CT team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Inverness CT
Kilmarnock team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Kilmarnock
Motherwell team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Motherwell
St Mirren team guide
05 Aug 08 |  St Mirren

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