Rangers won last year’s Premiership title boasting an unbeaten record under Steven Gerrard.
This year the Light Blues reached the Europa League Final with Giovanni van Bronckhorst at the helm.
No one can doubt the managerial abilities that led to those achievements.
But one of the best brains behind the whole operation belonged to Andy Scoulding, the Ibrox club’s head of scouting.
The man who appointed him in 2017, former director of football, Mark Allen, believes Scoulding’s expected departure for Tottenham is a huge loss.
Scoulding has been identified for a key role at the Champions League-bound London club, where it is understood he will become assistant performance director to Fabio Paratici.
That’s no great shock to Allen, who hired Scoulding to revamp Rangers’ recruitment, and earmarked him as his eventual successor.
That role went to Ross Wilson. He now has the tough task of replacing Scoulding, whose stamp was all over the fine Rangers teams of the last two years.
Allen said: “If I was still at Rangers, I wouldn’t be wanting to lose Andy Scoulding. No chance.
“He’s the guy who deserves a lot of credit for what’s happened at Rangers, but never got recognised for it.
“Spurs coming for him doesn’t surprise me at all.
“As well as going out and picking players out and writing reports, he’s a huge talent in strategising, and a great lateral thinker.
“I think he’s going to be a bit of a loss. Andy has the skills to go on and be very successful.
“Without a doubt, he’s a future director of football at a big club somewhere.”
Scoulding was formerly a video analyst at Fulham, and followed Roy Hodgson to Liverpool and the England squad, where he worked with Gerrard.
His talent-spotting skills went on to help Gerrard build Rangers into a team of winners again.
The market value of signings under his watch – such as Joe Aribo, Glen Kamara and Calvin Bassey – rocketed.
Allen, who left Rangers in 2019, explained: “Andy would do the ‘first pass’, if you like.
“He’d look at players, bring them to the table and we’d discuss them.
“I would sit with Stevie, his coaching staff and Andy, evaluate that talent, and come up with a selection criterion, based on the recommendations.
“He might go off and find a bit more about them. Or be the main man to follow up a lead that, say, I got about having to check out this player.
“Andy’s job was to effectively identify and recommend talent in the truest sense of the word.
“We built a very successful Rangers off nothing, really. Look at the Europa League Final team. Joe Aribo – free. Glen Kamara – £50,000. Allan McGregor and Scott Arfield – free.
“Borna Barisic, Connor Goldson, Steven Davis, Ryan Kent. Andy had a role in recruiting all of them.
“Rangers have reaped benefits from a lot of stuff done there in my time, and Andy’s time.
“He may well have been heavily involved in John Lundstram and Bassey, too, but that’s after my time, so I wouldn’t know exactly.”
The rude health of Rangers’ scouting unit, featuring Nine-In-A-Row great, John Brown, is in contrast to when Allen and Scoulding started out.
They inherited a shell of a recruitment department, left to rot by ruinous regimes.
Allen said: “I wanted to bring someone with knowledge of what was in the market place, and also of the direction the industry was going in.
“Andy had all those skills. From a person point of view, it was clear from references that he’s very diligent, thorough and a tremendously hard worker.
“He puts the miles and the work in. He’s a bright individual, and far from one-dimensional.
“I was able to be the leader with the overall vision. I recognised Andy as the guy for recruitment.
“He was a great aid to me for what we were trying to build at Rangers in the early days.
“He was definitely that guy to nurture and develop in the background as my successor.
“In my time with Rangers, I really felt he was director of football material.”
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