DJ: Rangers captain McCulloch has deal to prove

LEE McCulloch is now in the final season of his contract at Rangers and has to prove that he is worth another deal.

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Lee McCulloch has scored in all Scottish competitions and the Champions League
Lee McCulloch has scored in all Scottish competitions and the Champions League

The ultimate objective for the Ibrox club in the 2014/15 campaign is to win the SPFL Championship and return to the top flight.

So the 35-year-old captain has to show he is capable of playing in the Premiership next term to earn an extension to his contract.

He has certainly done well since being shoved forward into central midfield in the wins against Clyde, Dumbarton and Queen's Park.

But the important thing for big Jig is to keep his run of form going.

Every player is fresh at the start of a new season but how will he be doing in three or four months' time around Christmas or New Year?

There are a lot of good teams with a lot of pace in the second tier this season. Will Lee be able to cope with that? Will he keep playing with the same energy?

At this moment in time, it is working out for him and the team is doing well. He is a very fit boy and I am sure he will be able to continue his run of form.

Moving Lee into central midfield was necessary. A bit more steel was required in that area of the park.

This team has some nice footballers in the midfield but they were looking for somebody who could grab a game by the scruff of the neck and dictate play.

Now in his mid-thirties, Lee does not have the legs to hare up and down the park all day. Then again, he was never the most mobile.

But when he gets upfield, a move breaks down and the opposition counter-attacks, he will not be able to get back and help to defend.

Teams have so much pace that Gers will need someone to sit back when Lee goes up.

Having said that, since he was moved out of defence he has shown that he can get forward and score goals.

Lee has always been able to put the ball in the net and already he's pitched in with a couple against Clyde and one against Dumbarton.

But the most important function he will perform in central midfield is being able to talk to those around him and spur them on.

In this berth he can speak to his fellow midfielders, the forwards and the defenders behind him.

The goals Rangers have lost in the last couple of games have not been down to a lack of organisation.

They've been due simply to bad individual errors.

Bilel Mohsni headed in an own goal against Dumbarton last weekend and it was Steve Simonsen who was at fault against Queen's Park. The keeper came off his line at the Excelsior Stadium in midweek and proceeded to completely miss the ball.

Those mistakes apart, the back four has been performing well since Lee took over from Ian Black in the middle of the park.

THE team now has a lot of pace in its rearguard, and that makes a big difference. It means the back four can defend further forward which, in turn, pushes the midfield up the pitch.

The change has worked well for Rangers so far.

As for Lee, his record of scoring in all four divisions in Scotland plus the League Cup, Scottish Cup and the Challenge Cup, in addition to the Champions League, will never be beaten.

You may get some players who will go through all of the Scottish leagues and score. Kenny Deuchar did it before with Gretna.

But I doubt that anybody else will score in Europe's premier club competition as well, as Lee has done.

Despite this, Jig has said he is more concerned with Rangers doing well than with personal records. Most players are like that.

Lee is more interested in helping Ally McCoist's side win what will be a massive Championship game against second-placed Queen of the South tomorrow.

Nevertheless, scoring in every competition is a great achievement, a unique feat.And it is something Lee will be able to look back on with pride when he retires.

Playing Queens will be a far sterner test than Rangers have faced in their last three games because the Dumfries outfit are a full-time side.

But victory would enable McCoist's men to leapfrog the Palmerston Park club into second place in the Championship table. That would be a massive step in the right direction.

The football that Rangers have played recently has - after far-from-convincing displays against Hibernian, Hearts and Falkirk - been a lot better.

But tomorrow's match is a real challenge for them.

Football

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