3 of a Kind

It’s been a while but Rangers are back and so is Three of a Kind. At a time when we are crying out for a consistent striker I thought I’d look at a time when we were trying to find a replacement for our best-ever – Super Ally McCoist.

We always knew he wouldn’t last forever and injuries were starting to take their toll but Sir Walter was placed with the ominous task of finding a 35-40 goal a season striker. It didn’t help that Mark Hateley was older than McCoist too, meaning they were going to be another 20-30 goals per season short, not an easy task for the greatest manager of all time.

There were many to choose from but these are the ones I’ve gone for as there are a variety of reasons and each has their own unique achievements in their time at the club.

Oleg Salenko

Who wouldn’t want to sign a World Cup Golden Boot winner? Salenko’s six goals at USA ’94 secured this accolade albeit with a (still) record five goals in one game fluffing out his tally. Strangely enough he only played eight games for Russia and all his six goals came in this World Cup, there can’t be many international players discarded with as good a goals per game record?

He was signed in the summer of 1995 from Valencia for £2.5 million and as was common at the time for Rangers, he was carrying an injury (according to Salenko anyway). He never looked truly happy, not quite on a Guivarc’h level, but disinterested none the less. One thing he did actually look like though, was a decent finisher, his problem was showing the desire, work rate or pace to get himself into those positions in the first place. Aft less than half a season and a goal every two games, give or take, he was away. Bonus point if you can remember the deal that took him to Istanbulspor?

Peter Van Vossen

Yes, of course, Van Vossen arrived in a swap deal for Oleg Salenko in January 1996 and as a Dutch International we had relatively high hopes, however, on further examination he’d scored less than thirty goals in his last four seasons combined. Yes, he had pace and a decent work rate but he just wasn’t composed enough to be the man to replace McCoist. It doesn’t help when you miss open goals from a few yards out either mind you.

He was a hugely frustrating player to watch. His performance against Alania Vladikavkaz at the start of the 1996/97 gave us a glimpse of what he was capable of but it wasn’t to be. In fact, that was probably the highlight of his Rangers career. Regardless of the ridicule he suffered by many in Scottish football I’m sure he will be able to console himself with his European Cup winners medal and appearances at the USA World Cup ’94 and European Championships in 2000. Not a bad career for a boy that scored a goal every four games.

Erik Bo Andersen

If ever there was a case of wrong player, wrong time, it was this one. There are more than a few reports of Andersen not really fitting into the dressing room at Ibrox that had personalities as loud as Gazza, McCoist, Durrant, Fergie et al. He also didn’t have the ability to match his compatriot Brian Laudrup which made him immune from the pranks and general daily abuse!

He was ungainly but fast. Could finish off both feet but wasn’t great at general forward play like holding the ball up or bringing others into the game. We didn’t give forwards much time in those days. Andersen lasted about eighteen months before being deemed surplus to requirements. His goals per game record is decent at about one every game and a half which when you consider he was used as a sub most of the time he wouldn’t be far off a goal every ninety minutes but he just wasn’t suited to either the Scottish game or Rangers in general. Ironically, it might have worked out for him under Advocaat who arrived a couple of seasons later.

So those were three strikers who were signed to replace Super Ally and didn’t get close to touching the great man, outscoring them all despite being well into his thirties. Maybe we should look at an ageing but prolific goal scorer to end our striking issue, if only there was one going spare….