Alex McLeish has good news for Rangers and 'hurting' Giovanni van Bronckhorst
Giovanni van Bronckhorst has some “welcome relief” with the World Cup break which is a “great opportunity” for Rangers to rebound, says Alex McLeish.
The Gers have a month off for the Qatar tournament, with the manager coming into it under major pressure after falling nine points behind Celtic in the title race.
But McLeish believes the break is exactly what the Dutchman and his side need, while the January transfer window could be the chance for Van Bronckhorst to bring in some players he’s wanted for some time.
The former Ibrox boss told the Sunday Post: “It is a great opportunity for Rangers to take a break, and come back stronger.
“In my time in charge at Ibrox – and also when I was with Scotland, Hibs and Motherwell – I was always an advocate for the winter break.
“I felt then, as I do now, it was a great wee bit of space for the guys, both mentally and physically.”
He went on: “For those managers, who are maybe with a team who have been doing badly and not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel, the winter break due to the World Cup is a welcome relief.
“Gio will be really hurting to get them back up to the level they are capable of performing at.
“How do you go from beating PSV Eindhoven over two legs to succumbing to Ajax the way they did?
“I mention that because when I asked Arthur Numan whether Ajax were miles ahead in Holland, he replied: ‘No, it is very tight’.”
Big ‘Eck also feels Van Bronckhorst is due some relief in the transfer market, saying: “I don’t know if he has been able to look in his wee black book, full of people he would like to bring here since he has been in charge.
“The January window could be the opportunity he is after for that.
“And with the benefit of this break, things could soon look a good bit brighter.”
It’s been nothing but doom and gloom around Ibrox for weeks now so the title-winning former manager’s forecast brings its own welcome relief to the fans.
The time off certainly provides a much-needed mental break from the slipping standards prior, and gives the huge list of injured players time to recover some fitness.
If the squad, and the manager, can come back rejuvenated then it will at least end the miserable atmosphere around the club, even if it comes too late to reel in Celtic at the top of the table.
But if the break can be swiftly followed by a fruitful transfer window it could be a major boost for the longer-term prospects at the club.
The summer business has largely disappointed, albeit after being majorly affected by injuries, but there remains a feeling that Van Bronckhorst hasn’t been backed fully.
It seems like the board are minded to stick with the Dutchman for that very reason so perhaps they will now be prepared to give him what he needs.
With last year’s financial report showing the club is in an improved position from 12 months earlier, before the Champions League and summer sales money is taken into account, it may be finally time for the manager to be able to go after some targets he’s wanted for since he arrived.