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Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Sunday, 25 April 2010 17:26 UK

Spirit key to Rangers' championship triumph

Rangers celebrate a 3-0 win over Hibernian in February
Ferguson has been impressed by the team spirit at Ibrox this season

Former Rangers midfielder Derek Ferguson
By Derek Ferguson
Former Rangers midfielder

You look at the Rangers team and there's not really a big star in there. But what Rangers have got is a team.

Togetherness just seems to be something that Walter Smith can create in the dressing room; they all work for each other, they probably socialise with each other and that goes a long way to having a great harmony.

And when you take that onto the park, you get guys playing for each other, wanting to do the best for their mates and you end up with good results.

That's not to say that Rangers haven't had some outstanding individual performers this season, which has been reflected in the player of the year nominations.

A lot has been said about David Weir's age but he's come to the fore. He is a leader, not in terms of shouting and getting on the backs of players but he leads by example and players in that dressing room will look at David still playing at 39, 40 and must be thinking to themselves, 'if he can do it, maybe I can do it'.

I think a little bit is taken out of Steven Davis' game when he's played in a wider area but you've got to say that Steven does ever so well, he doesn't mump and moan about it, he just gets on with the job. He knows Rangers are short of width so he goes and plays in that area and he has done exceptionally well.

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Kris Boyd hasn't produced in the second half of the season but the number of goals Kenny Miller has scored has been absolutely fantastic. What Kenny also gives you is work-rate, desire and a spark.

Those three players down the spine of the team, Weir, Davis and Miller, have probably been the key to Rangers having a great campaign.

One of the others worth a mention is Lee McCulloch, who I think is underrated by a number of Rangers supporters. I remember Lee as a 15 and 16-year-old playing as a centre forward, when he went down south with Wigan, he played in the middle of the park and he can play at centre-half. He's a utility player. Guys like that are few and far between.

He's played in the holding role for Rangers and done a great job. He doesn't often give the ball away, he likes a challenge, he's strong in the air and he's popped up with one or two cracking goals. His overall play has been outstanding. He's a chirpy character and he's a good lad to have about the dressing room.

And young Danny Wilson has surpassed expectations when he's come into the team. He'll have learned so much from David Weir, not just on the park, but how he prepares for games, the way he goes about training.

Rangers captain David Weir
The experienced Weir is an inspirational leader for Rangers

Danny must look at David and think, 'that's the kind of guy I want to be, that's the role model for me'. If he can play half as well as David has done this season, he's going to be a right good player.

Rangers have worked with a small squad this season - you're talking about 16 to 18 first-team players - and sometimes you've got to ride your luck in terms of injuries, but they've done that.

It's probably not been the best football that the Rangers supporters have ever seen but, in terms of their attitude and their desire, there's not been a better team in the league with those ingredients.

Walter sets out his team not to lose but you've also got to look at the number of goals they've scored. In an attacking sense, they have got it right as well.

The work that the management team have done with the players in keeping their spirits up has been absolutely phenomenal.

A lot of people looking from afar don't realise what Walter has done with Ally McCoist, Kenny McDowell and Ian Durrant. The good thing with the manager is that he listens to those guys, he takes on board everything that's said but at the end of the day it is always Walter's decision.

It's an unbelievable achievement when you think about the financial restrictions that they've had. To have not signed any players in the last two years and to win the title with a number of games to go is a great achievement.

* Derek Ferguson was talking to BBC Scotland's Alasdair Lamont



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see also
Chick Young's view
25 Apr 10 |  Scottish Premier
Gers laud Smith for trophy haul
26 Apr 10 |  Rangers
Rangers' championship photo gallery
25 Apr 10 |  Scottish Premier
Hibernian 0-1 Rangers
25 Apr 10 |  Scottish Premier
Sunday's Scottish football as it happened
25 Apr 10 |  Scottish Premier


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