Rangers strengthen: What now for Kiernan and Wilson?

The signings of Portuguese maniac Bruno Alves and his younger countryman Fabio Cardoso have bolstered the defence ahead of the new season.

It’s a welcome boost for Rangers to have such an experienced head like Euro 2016 winner Alves in the back four, in an area that most would agree has been hugely problematic in the last few years.

Cardoso, highly-rated in his homeland and closely monitored by Wolves, could provide the perfect balance alongside Alves in the coming season. Build a team from the back they say. Let’s see.

But what will this mean for the current crop of defenders at Ibrox?

Sad Senderos is sad.

Sad Senderos is sad.

Clint Hill’s contract expired and Pedro Caixinha decided not to renew his deal. The 38-year-old served Rangers well in a rather horrendous season all round, but Caixinha presumably felt he could bring in better. Phillipe Senderos (who?!) has run down the remaining time on his one-year deal and left on a free.

That leaves Rob Kiernan and Danny Wilson – Mark Warburton’s centre back pairing of choice during the Championship season and quite often during the Premiership last season while he was still in charge.

Kiernan has featured a grand total of one time since Caixinha arrived as boss from Al-Gharafa in March. If that isn’t an indication of his thoughts on the long-term position of the former Birmingham City man, then what is? 

Kiernan was, on the whole, a solid defender in the second tier. But as the campaign went on his frailties were exposed, none more so than in the Scottish Cup final against Hibs. He had a chance to prove his worth with the step up to the top flight but he hasn’t shown he can be a Rangers player in this kind of environment. 

Kiernan has had his good moments but losing his man at set-pieces and giving the ball away in dangerous areas of the pitch, as he frequently does, cannot be accepted at this level. It’s likely that he will be moved on at some point in the summer, though his destination is as yet unknown.

Wilson is in a different situation under Caixinha. The ex-Liverpool defender has looked an improved player under the Portuguese coach and was first-choice until he suffered injury near the end of the season. He, like Kiernan, has been exposed for his weaknesses at times but Wilson is a defender that has shown a level of consistency in the Premiership that his counterpart hasn’t. And his new gaffer seems to like him.

He’ll stay and fight for his place in the Rangers squad, giving Caixinha good options for the centre of defence with youngsters David Bates and Aidan Wilson providing cover.