Coming up to the half way stage in my first full season in charge, season 2018-19, having started as unemployed, I went on holiday for most of the 2017-18 season, I then added another manager and took over from Graeme Murty on the 26-04-18, with nothing left to play for.
Currently top of the table and looking like the title will be coming to Ibrox for the first time since 2011, as we are currently sitting 10 points clear of Celtic. Having played 15 games, we have taken a total of 13 wins, one draw (away to Aberdeen, with a 90+1 equaliser from an Alfredo Morelos spot kick), and one defeat (away to Hearts, with them scoring the only goal of the game, after just three minutes of the second half).
Speaking of our Old Firm rivals, they have had a terrible season so far, from 15 games in the Ladbrokes Premiership, they have collected just 9 wins, 3 draws and been beaten 3 times
Not only did we qualify for the group stages, which saw us beat FK Astana, PAOK Salonika and FC Midtjylland in qualifying, we have made the first knockout stage. After being handed a tough group, with us being drawn alongside VFL Wolfsburg, CSKA Moscow and FC Nantes, I did not give us a chance of getting out the group, especially after one draw and two defeats from our opening three matches (0-0 v VFL Wolfsburg, 1-4 v CSKA Moscow and 0-1 v FC Nantes), however we rose to the challenge, securing a second 0-0 draw against VFL Wolfsburg, then beat both FC Nantes and CSKA Moscow 1-0, with the latter coming on matchday six at Ibrox, and helping us progress at the expense of the Russians. DOMESTIC CUPS.
We managed to lift the Betfred Cup in style, beating Neil Lennon and Hibernian 7-2 in the final on a rainy day at Hampden Park, after knocking out Hamilton Academical, Partick Thistle and Hearts along the way. Also Celtic were knocked out by Ross County, at the Quarter Final stages.
We are yet to kick a ball in the Scottish Cup, our campaign gets underway towards the end of January, facing a trip to Highland league side Buckie Thistle, in the fourth round. SQUAD.
Well what can I say, despite not having the riches of our Old Firm neighbours, due to not being in the Champions League, our squad is playing out of its skin, and doing us proud in every competition. We have been very lucky on the injury front, with the longest injury being four weeks. I do try to keep my squad fresh, with a rotation policy taking place, but with the second half of the season not being so busy, I should be able to keep a more settled starting XI.
We have also been firing in a lot of goals this season, finding the net 51 times in the league, with me playing to the strengths of getting the ball out wide to both Candeias and Murphy, and supplying Herrera and Morelos with killer balls in and around the six yard box, who have between them scored 40 goals in all competitions, and it isn't even January yet.
We have also been keeping it tight at the back, we may not have kept a lot of clean sheets, but we have the best defence in the league, and hoping that a more settled back line in the second half of the season, will see a meaner defence.
We also have a number of great young prospects, who I will be hoping to make regulars at Ibrox in the next few years. TRANSFERS IN.
As said at the beginning of this post, I took over towards the back end of last season, so Jamie Murphy was already joining us as an agreement of his loan deal, and Murty had agreed the transfer of Joe Rowley from Chesterfield, he arrived on a free transfer, and looks like a good signing for the future, I will look to loan him out in the second half of the season, as he is yet to make his debut for us.
The only player I have signed has proved to be a great buy, I brought Lee Gregory in from Millwall on a bosman deal, he scored 18 goals in all competitions in England the previous season, and already has 12 goals for me. TRANSFERS OUT.
In terms of players leaving Ibrox, Niko Kranjcar and Kenny Miller had both agreed to move on before I became boss.
My only real deals so far has seen Josh Windass join Motherwell for £450k, and backup goalkeeper Liam Kelly join Manchester United on a free transfer.
Jason Holt, Andy Halliday, Joe Dodoo, Harry Forrester, Jordan Thompson, Kyle Bradley and Cameron Palmer have all departed on loan.
January will see Graham Dorrans join Middlesbrough for £7.25m, Bruno Alves join RB Salzburg for £165k and Hamit Altintop join FC Kobenhavn for £100k. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SEASON SO FAR.
Simple beating Celtic 3-2 in the first Old Firm derby of the season. Despite us being away and twice allowing Celtic to take the lead, two goals in the last eight minutes from Jamie Murphy helped us to victory, with one of his strikes coming in the 90+5 minute, and us making a penalty save in the 90+6 minute from Scott Sinclair, which was the last kick of the match.
Also lifting the Betfred Cup was pretty special, with us destroying Hibs and Neil Lennon 7-2, and getting into the knockout stages of the Europa League was great aswell.
With me signing a deal recently until 2021, I want to make sure we win the league for the next couple of seasons, and get back into the Champions League, and start to get some major money rolling into Ibrox, but until then I will be looking to the loan market, being safe with the cash spent on transfers, with me looking to make a profit every season, and also looking towards our u20s squad and players we get in on youth intake day.