Football Manager 2018: Rangers guide, player ratings & tactics

After working their way back to the Scottish Premiership, can you target silverware with Rangers on FM 18?


Rangers used to compete toe-to-toe with arch rivals Celtic. A financial crisis saw Rangers relegated to the fourth-tier in 2012, changing the face of Scottish football. It’s been a big rebuilding job for the Gers, and much to their credit it only took the club four seasons to get back to the top-flight.

A third place finished in the Scottish Premiership last season was a great platform for Rangers, and the question is now whether they can get close to Celtic, who have won the title every season since Rangers dropped out of the top-flight. 

Can you take the Ibrox club back to the glory days on Football Manager 2018? We give you all you need to know as you start things off with Rangers.  

Philosophies

With this being Rangers’ second year back in the top flight, the board have not tasked you with any philosophies to follow. You can add your own if you wish, but for the first few seasons you will want as little pressure on your shoulders as possible.

Expectations

Rangers chairman Dave King will welcome you to the club and managing director Andrew Dickson will present the expectations for the season.

The default targets are to reach the group stage of the EURO Cup, win the Ladbrokes Premiership, and reach the finals of both the Scottish Cup and Betfred Cup.

Aiming for the EURO Cup first knockout round with get you an extra £80,000 for your transfer budget, with going for wins in both cup competitions earning you £110,000. 

Budget

Transfer £1.8 million

Wage: £334,000 per week (Current spend: £311,000)

Formation

There are various systems you can use with Rangers, but we have gone for the well-balanced 4-3-3 wide formation. 4-1-2-1-2 and 4-4-2 are other possible options.

Wes Foderingham is in goal, with James Tavernier, Bruno Alves, Fabio Cardoso and Lee Wallace in the back four. Russell Martin will challenge for the right back spot when he returns from injury.  

Graham Dorrans, Ryan Jack and Greg Docherty are the midfield trio, whilst Daniel Candeias and Jamie Murphy flank Alfredo Morelos in attack. 

On the bench you should opt for Jak Alnwick, Ross McCrorie, Declan John, Jason Holt, Josh Windass, Michael O’Halloran and Kenny Miller.

Key players

With Rangers still working their way back to where they once were, there is slight gulf separating the top performers from the rest of the squad.

Bruno Alves – CA 3.5 star (126), PA 3.5 star (160)

Now 35, it’s likely that you will only have Bruno Alves for a season, but he is still a top defender. The centre back has won seven league titles over three countries in his career, with his greatest achievement being European Championship success with Portugal in 2016.

Alves offers a 126 current ability rating on the game, which has fallen considerably from his 160 potential. He still has stats of 18 bravery, 18 aggression and 17 heading making him the rock at the back for this Rangers side. 

Graham Dorrans – CA 4 star (126), PA 4 star (142)

A regular for West Bromwich Albion over seven seasons, Graham Dorrans has headed back to his native Scotland to finish his career on a high. Still only 30, there is still time for Dorrans to win the silverware that has eluded him, and as the central midfielder in this Rangers side he will be a huge factor into whether they club can lift trophies.

Dorrans, who can also operate wide on the right, has a 126 CA which could still improve towards his 142 potential. With skills of 15 professionalism, 14 composure and 14 decisions, you will want him on the ball as much as possible. 

Alfredo Morelos – CA 3.5 star (125), PA 3.5-4.5 star (155)

As much as defenders and midfielders are important, you’re only as good as your strikers. Alfredo Morelos was brought in last summer and looks to be the man for you to build around as Rangers boss. The Colombian has scored 17 goals in all competitions this season, and at just 21 he has an incredibly bright future.

Morelos has stats of 18 adaptability, 16 finishing and 16 strength, giving him a CA of 125. This can improve to an impressive potential of 155. 

Young talent

Names such as Charlie Adam, Steven Naismith and Alan Hutton have come through the youth setup at Rangers. With youngsters being given opportunities over the past few seasons, keep an eye on the youth team players in the future. 

Jamie Barjonas – CA 2 star (90), PA 4-5 star (120-150)

Slowly being given more chances with the first team, central midfielder Jamie Barjonas has made six appearances so far this season, matching the total he made last campaign. On FM, the 18-year-old Barjonas has a 90 CA which can improve to a potential between 120 and 150. 

Aidan Wilson – CA 1.5 star (80), PA 3.5-4.5 star (120-150)

In a similar boat is centre back Aidan Wilson who has four first team appearances to his name. The 18-year-old defender has now gone out on loan to Scottish Championship outfit Dumbarton in a bid to improve his 80 CA towards his potential between 120 and 150. 

Dapo Mebude – CA 1.5 star (69), PA 4-5 star (120-150)

Right at the start of his career is the 15-year-old Dapo Mebude, who is already playing for Rangers U20s. The striker only has a 69 CA but this can improve to a potential between 120 and 150. 

Team report


Strengths

Weaknesses

Youth prospects

Teamwork

Passing

Jumping reach

Wage budget

Overall depth

Goalkeeper depth

Right back depth

Left back depth

Star centre back (Bruno Alves)

Star midfielder (Graham Dorrans)

Star striker (Alfredo Morelos)

Work rate

Transfer budget

First touch

Coaching staff

Scouting staff

Dynamics

Team Leaders – Kenny Miller (vice-captain), Bruno Alves, Lee Wallace (captain)

Highly influential – Graham Dorrans, Andy Halliday, Jamie Murphy, Ryan Jack, Niko Kranjcar, Jason Holt, Wes Foderingham, James Tavernier, Russell Martin

Dynamics is the main new feature for Football Manager 2018, depicting the dressing room atmosphere at your club. You must identify the various social groups in the squad and the players who hold the most influence as the words you say to them will have a knock-on effect on the rest of the side. 

Transfer targets

With just £1.8 million in your transfer budget, you will need to be smart in the transfer market. You still have just enough to bring in one new signing for the club. 

Left back – Eliseu (CA 129, PA 141)

With plenty of depth at Rangers, you need to identify the weakest player in the starting lineup. This is left back Lee Wallace (CA 112, PA 121), and you should look to replace him with Benfica’s Eliseu. Now 33, you may only get a couple of seasons out of the Portuguese international, but he brings the experience of three league titles and a European Championship success.

Eliseu has a 129 CA, a substantial fall from his 141 PA. His stats of 15 temperament, 15 adaptability and 15 determination will cost you just £500,000 with wages of £20,000 a week.

Alternative options:

  • Benoit Assou-Ekotto – Age 33, Metz, Cameroon, CA 125, PA 150, Value: £1m, Wage: £8k
  • Djavan – Age 29, Chaves, Brazil, CA 124, PA 130, Value: £380k, Wage: £2k
  • Cristian Molinaro – Age 33, Torino, Italy, CA 124, PA 136, Value: £550k, Wage: £16k
  • Nuno Pinto – Age 30, Vitoria, Portugal, CA 121, PA 124, Value: £370k, Wage: £1k

Players to sell

The current Rangers squad stands at 30, so you can afford to let a few players go over the summer transfer window.

David Bates

With four other options at centre back, there is no need to keep hold of David Bates. The 20-year-old has made 17 appearances so far this season, but with a CA of 91 and 110 PA you can sell him on. The defender should collect you around £35,000 and save £1,200 a week on wages.

Lee Hodson

With two other right backs at the club, you should let Lee Hodson go. The defender has made just eight appearances so far in the campaign which is no surprise given his 101 CA and 110 PA. Look to sell Hodson, 25, for around £150,000, freeing up £4,000 a week in wages. 

Finances

The financial picture at Rangers is steady, but they must keep moving forward on the pitch to have success off it. The overall balance of the club is on the rise, with turnover remaining constant. The one area of concern is the profit turning to loss at the start of 2018, but you should have around £5 million in your transfer budget next season. 

Climb all the way back to the top

Some may think the hard work has already been done by Rangers to get back to the Scottish top-flight but given their stature they were also going to get through the lower divisions quickly. Now whether they can chase down Celtic is the real question.

Celtic may be the best club in Scotland, but they could become distracted by their European commitments, opening the door for Rangers and the rest of the division. It’s a tough ask to win the Scottish Premiership, but if you’re looking for a challenge on FM 18, Rangers could just be the perfect club for you.

Rangers first team squad, player roles and ratings

Player

Age

Pos

Role

Duty

Role Ability

CA/

PA

Starting lineup

Wes Foderingham

26

GK

Goalkeeper

Defend

3 star

117/

125

James Tavernier

25

DR

Wing-back/

Winger

Attack/

Support

3.5 star

118/

126

Bruno Alves

35

DCR

Ball playing defender

Stopper

4 star

126/

160

Fabio Cardoso

23

DCL

Ball playing defender

Stopper/

Defend

3 star

114/

143

Lee Wallace

30

DL

Defensive full-back

Defend

3 star

112/

121

Graham Dorrans

30

MCR

Advanced playmaker

Support

4 star

124/

142

Ryan Jack

25

MC

Ball winning midfielder

Support

3.5 star

120/

127

Greg Docherty

20

MCL

Carrilero/

Central midfielder

Support

3 star

115/

<140

Daniel Candeias

29

AMR

Winger

Support

3.5 star

120/

125

Jamie Murphy

27

AML

Inside Forward

Support

3.5 star

124/

126

Alfredo Morelos

21

STC

Advanced Forward

Attack

3.5 star

125/

155

Substitutes

Jak Alnwick

24

GK

Goalkeeper

Defend

2.5 star

108/

128

Ross McCrorie

19

D (C)

DM

Central defender/

Ball playing defender

Stopper

3 star

106/

148

Declan John

22

D (L)

WB (L)

Full-back

Attack

3 star

111/

125

Jason Holt

24

M (C)

AM (C)

Central midfielder/

Mezzala

Attack/

Support

3 star

110/

122

Josh Windass

23

AM (RLC)

Winger

Support

2.5 star

111/

122

Michael O’Halloran

26

AM (RL)

ST (C)

Winger

Support

3 star

118/

122

Kenny Miller

37

ST (C)

Defensive forward

Defend/

Support

3 star

114/

138

Reserves

Liam Kelly

21

GK

Goalkeeper

Defend

2 star

90/

120

David Bates

20

D (C)

Central defender

Defend

2 star

91/

110

Lee Hodson

25

D (RL)

Defensive full-back

Defend

2.5 star

101/

110

Sean Goss

21

DM

M (C)

Central midfielder/

Deep lying playmaker

Support

3 star

105/

128

Andy Halliday

25

DM

M (LC)

Ball winning midfielder

Defend

2.5 star

106/

121

Niko Kranjcar

32

AM (RLC)

ST (C)

Advanced playmaker

Support

4 star

107/

152

Dalcio

21

AM (RL)

Winger

Support

2 star

87/

118

Jason Cummings

22

AM (C)

ST (C)

Advanced forward

Attack

3 star

116/

138

Joe Dodoo

22

AM (R)

ST (C)

Winger

Support

2 star

105/

119

Eduardo Herrera

28

ST (C)

Target man

Support

3 star

111/

136

Injured

Russell Martin

31

D (RC)

Full-back/

Wing-back

Support/

Defend

3.5 star

119/

138

Jordan Rossiter

20

DM

M (C)

Ball winning midfielder

Support

3 star

110/

140

Who have you signed on FM? Let us know in the comments section below.

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On a tight budget?

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Alastair Pusinelli

I am RealSport's Editor-in-Chief having covered almost everything across the board on the platform. Starting with content on football and the Chinese Super League, I have expanded into esports and gaming, via a stint as rugby editor.

With RS now focused on gaming and working alongside Gfinity, I led the site's coverage on the football titles of FIFA, Football Manager and PES. This has enabled me to cover official esports events such as the FIFA eWorld Cup, FUT Champions Cups and the Gfinity FIFA Series.

Elsewhere, I have been published in The Sunday Times and Variety magazine, as well as working in the offices of Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Hampshire CCC.

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