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Home on the Range - The Great Scot Challenge!

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Welcome to my story - well more of a thread to update my progress through the Great Scot Challenge. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the challenge, check out this thread:http://www.fm-base.co.uk/forum/foot...es-scenarios/110406-great-scot-challenge.html
Basically, the challenge requires managers to take control of any team in the Scottish Third Division, and raise them to the Premier Division, and then onto the Champions League. The catch? You can only use Scottish Players and Staff. As for the national team, you can only manage that when you are offered the job, you cannot start with them.

So I chose to do this with Rangers for a couple of reasons. Primarily, they shouldn't be in the Third Division, but moreso to take advantage of the quality facilities already in place. Either way, this challenge should still be difficult, especially in the later seasons. The first few will be pretty cruisy I think.

So these are the leagues I loaded, with a custom database that included players of Scottish nationality and all the miscellaneous Scottish leagues, for obvious reasons.


So first things first - get rid of all the non-Scottish players. Unfortunately I barely was able to sell any of them, so they are currently rotting in my reserves. I also went about signing some players.






My two favourite signings are Iain Vigurs and Darren McGregor. I also added some depth to the overall squad, but I couldn't find a useful backup goalkeeper - so if it comes to that, lets hope my U/18s can step up to the plate! Also, Dean Florence (see transfers) is a Turkish 17 year old signed by my Head of Youth Development. Apparently he didn't get the memo, and so unfortunately for Dean, he will never play first team football here.

The final squad:


I'll be using my own slight variation of the standard 4-4-2 and I have Raikan's complete madness as my backup.



Friendlies + First 10 league games to follow.
 
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So 10 games into the season and no real surprises in the league.





Berwick appear to be our only competition and we beat them already, so as expected we should be the League Champs. However, this doesn't mean we haven't had any problems. I'm starting to notice I am desperately going to need to update my GK. Alexander just isnt cutting it at the moment. He is pretty much the only weak link. Check out this goal he conceded.


[video=youtube;pinok8xUSeE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pinok8xUSeE [/video]

That was solely what caused our only draw in the league. In the cup games, I haven't really been to fussed. My focus has really just been on promotion.

Player of the Month: Lee McCulloch.
The guy has been a machine whilst Kevin Kyle was out injured. Obviously the whole team is well above the standard required for Third Division, but McCulloch has just been a monster as my target man.




A few other random tidbits, the board granted my request to upgrade the youth facilities, which is going to be vital later on in the campaign.




Ian Black scored an absolute blinder from about 40 yards out:


[video=youtube;iAIJH9XzwgA]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAIJH9XzwgA[/video]

Other than that, I think this pretty much sums up the save so far. Its not really that challenging yet...but it will be!




Let me know what you think of the story so far :)
 
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I looked at doing this myself, but went with Andorra instead. Sounds ****** hard even with Rangers i'll be following :)
 
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I looked at doing this myself, but went with Andorra instead. Sounds ****** hard even with Rangers i'll be following :)
Yeah it seems like a really interesting challenge. The first few years will be pretty cruisy/boring but it will get really fun when I get into CL football.
 
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So 20 games into the season and we are sitting comfortably on top. We dropped a couple of points here and there but still haven't lost yet.




Best Player: Lee McCulloch
This guy is a monster. At 34, he's almost earned himself a recall to the Scotland NT through his performance in the Third Division!



Also just started my league-enforced transfer embargo. I won't be able to sign players until January 2014. Here's hoping my youth intake is solid!

Hopefully I'll be able to get through this season pretty quickly - and get into the fun stuff!

If you have any requests you want to see let me know!
 
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So I wanted to do updates every 10 league games, but then this happened.



We won the league, with around 8 games still to go. Here's the fixtures and table.






Nothing really surprising I guess, Rangers are way too good for Third Division. I got my revenge on Hibernian, who knocked me out of the League Cup, by pumping them 4-0 in the 5th Round of the Scottish Cup. Currently in the Semis against St. Mirren.

Elsewhere, I got my youth intake - and lets just say it won't solve my GK issue....or any issues for that matter. We got one semi-competent player who has decent potential. The rest are pretty poor.




Sipho Zwane
An attacking midfielder with Scottish/South African dual nationality. I wonder what will happen if he plays for South Africa? I guess that means I wouldn't be able to play him anymore. He has quality speed for this level and buckets of potential, but will need some proper attribute training to be useful and several loans but could eventually make it. Best of a bad bunch really.




End of season recap will come soon.
 
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End of Season Recap

So our first season in the Great Scot Challenge is over and everything went according to plan. We won the league (as previously mentioned) and went on a massive win streak, despite playing my youth team for the last 8 games. They just managed to squeeze through in the Berwick game, but dominated pretty much everyone else. Here's the final table.


We cracked 100 points (just) and had a lead of 43 points over second place. Went through the entire season undefeated. Not bad, but not really surprising. There was also the matter of the Scottish Cup. Darren McGregor was out of action due to having too many yellows. We played pretty well, but Lee Wallace got sent off, so we had to play with 10 men. Despite that, we did still manage to get the win.




And here are the final fixtures:




Unfortunately there won't be any signings in the off-season due to the transfer embargo. Will post an update prior to the start of the Second Division season. However, I did notice this little tidbit which I found kind of amusing...



How many players can be sent off before you forfeit?
I really appreciate any feedback you can give me. :)
 
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I tried this at the start of the season but due to leaking money for a year, they cancelled it so just watch out. They might cancel your developments. Im in the first division and only now have they decided to do up the facilities.
 
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I tried this at the start of the season but due to leaking money for a year, they cancelled it so just watch out. They might cancel your developments. Im in the first division and only now have they decided to do up the facilities.
Yeah I am a little worried about that. I won the Cup so that will help - but I don't know if it will be enough. We will see.
 
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Second Division

So the second division is underway. I was going to do an off-season post, but nothing really happened so I combined it all into one. Starting with league, we are going along comfortably - as expected.





It took us 9 games to concede a goal in the league. Not much else to say really, Rangers are obviously well above this standard and we are cruising. As far as cups go, we are through to the Challenge Cup Final, which we should win comfotably. We got knocked out of the League Cup by Aberdeen - despite dominating the game. That kinda annoyed me but its not my main focus at this point.




The injury to Lee McCulloch worried me after his form last season. However, I had nothing to worry about. Even though Kevin Kyle went down injured shortly after as well, Callum Gallagher stepped up to the plate and Barrie McKay continued his fine form. I wanted to pick a best player, but the entire squad has been dominating (as expected) so I decided not too.



Iain Vigurs' fine form rewarded him with his first Scottish cap. Hopefully he can continue to perform well and he can join Lee Wallace as a NT regular.



So the transfer embargo has been lifted, which means I will be able to sign players in January - not that I really need anyone. I'm still trying to find a replacement GK for the aging Neil Alexander. Also, I've finally managed to offload some of the non-Scottish players rotting in my reserves. There are still a couple there though.



Other than that, not a lot has happened. If you're interested in my pre-season friendlies, I played my reserves for most of them. We thumped Dumbarton but didn't perform particularly well outside of that.



Next update after 20 league games. Let me know what you think :)
 
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20 Games in...

So 20 games in and the run continues. Its almost unfair to the other teams in this division.





Comfortably on top of the table - and still havent lost a game as yet. Stenhousemuir have somehow managed to scab two draws from us, but we are still way ahead. In other news, we have just hit January and the transfer window has opened. I have a few areas I need to sure up, so will see how we go. However, being a Second Division team doesn't make it easy. I also got this bit of bad news:


Kind of a pain in the ****. Kevin Kyle is more than adequate to take over starting permanently, but he has been injured quite a bit this year and I'm worried it will continue. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of Scottish strikers around, especially those who I can afford/manage to sign at this point.



Unsurprisingly we won the Challenge Cup. I don't think much needs to be said here, we dominated the game and probably should have won by more.



As was mentioned earlier in the thread, there was always a risk of it happening - and eventually it did. Looks like I'll be waiting for new youth facilities for a while then.

I'll post a small update at the end of the transfer window. I'm hoping the updates will be more interesting once I actually get into the heart of the challenge.
 
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January Window 2014

So just a small update with the January transfers, as there was not a great deal of action. Unfortunately I couldn't snap up any of the top Scottish goalkeepers, so Neil Alexander will be my guy until he retires sometime in the near future. Likewise, I couldn't manage to snag a top class striker to replace Lee McCulloch. I did however manage to grab 18 year old Cameron Smith from Aberdeen for 500k. He has some decent stats to start with and a great deal of potential. Hopefully can develop him into a star in the next few seasons.



My only other signing was Gary Harkins from Kilmarnock for about 1.5mil. I was worried I'd lose Kyle Hutton as I wasn't willing to pay his wages he was demanding for a new contract, however we negotiated that back down to a suitable level and so now I have both. He will fight it out for a starting spot in the centre of midfield with Iain Vigurs and Ian Black.




Next update will be the end of season update.
 
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End of Season Recap #2

Well we did it! Shockerrrrrrrrrr I know but we won the Second Division. Unfortunately we lost 2 games this season! I was quite annoyed, but we got there. The last 8 games were all youth team games basically. Here's the final table/results:





First division football! Only one more till we are back in the Premier League! And then just the CL to go after that! As for the cup - well I was quite frustrated. We lost 3-2 to Hearts in extra time. We were 1-0 up for a considerable period of time, but they equalised right near the end. Unfortunately, Iain Vigurs got 2 yellow cards in the first 5 minutes of extra time and a penalty sealed the win for them.


Also we got our youth intake again. Better than last year, a couple of good players but nothing to set the world on fire.



Sifiso Mosima:
A 15 year old striker with good speed and surprisingly not terrible technical attributes. With some specific training/tutoring and a few loans, could turn into a first team player in the future. Has buckets of potential, but is still a bit rough.



Ewan Welsh:
A defensive midfielder/central midfielder, a position that over the years I've played football manager I've struggled to fill, seems to have some potential to be a bench player and maybeeeee a starter. He has solid defensive attributes, but needs to work on his quickness...a lot. Who knows what can happen with a few loans?




Blair McGrory:
This guy was greyed out for my youth intake, but actually seemed ok. My GK situation isn't spectacular so I figured i'd take a punt on him and see what happens.


In other news, I was worried this would happen for a while and it finally did - though his reasoning is flawed...


We will see how we go - but I don't like my chances of keeping him, despite back to back promotions. The club is starting to lose money cause the cup money/league money is nothing. We need to get into European football...and fast.

Pre-season update will follow!
 
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Pre-Season 2014

So we are making preparations for our campaign in the Scottish First Division, and I'm expecting it to go fairly similar to the past two seasons. Pre-season friendlies for me are just a time to give the youth a bit of a run and get some match fitness under our belt. I don't care about the results in the slightest.



We won both our cup matches quite comfortably (which makes a change). We have been notoriously bad in the cups.



Unfortunately, I was unable to retain Lee Wallace. He kept kicking up a fuss, and was damaging morale - not to mention people didn't want him captain anymore, so I let him go to Burnley 3.8m. The club needed some funds in anyway. I did sign Stephen Hendrie for 550k from Dundee as a replacement and he looks the goods so far - he is also only 19 and significantly cheaper, so we might be ok for now.



I noticed Matthew Gilks (a GK I had previously enquired about at Blackpool) got released, so I snapped him up on a free as soon as that happened. He is only slightly better than Neil Alexander, but is also a couple of years younger. Eitherway, I am still on the lookout for the next great youth GK.



My last signing was Andrew Halliday on a free from Middlesbrough. I really wanted to get Jordan Russell from Dundee but he went to Stoke for a bit more than I could afford unfortunately. Halliday is more of a backup at this point than anything else. Will see what happens though.



Other than that, I set up a link with Stirling as a feeder club so I could consistently send my youth recruits out on loan. They seem to be doing well so far - and are getting plenty of game time, so hopefully they will improve. Charlie Telfer also went out on loan, as did Dean Florence, the Turkish u21 player that my youth developer signed. I still plan to get rid of him at some point as he will never play a first team game.

Next update after 10 league games!
 
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Good luck mate, mon the Gers!

One question, Naismith as a striker??? Never tried him there, he's a useful winger and great with set pieces, but usually on my bench.

I am currently 26 games into a challenge I will be posting as soon as my youth intake comes in. I've put Rangers in the Conference and will only be using youth intakes to bring players in. I'm waiting because I want to see if my youth intake definitely will be mostly Scottish, otherwise it'd be unrealistic. It should be though, as I was given a 17 y/o Scottish regen keeper for my youth at the start and changed things in the editor so my base nation is still Scotland.

Your most promising Scottish youth players are:

Jamie Mills
Darren Ramsey
Stuart Urquhart
Fraser Aird
Callum Gallagher
Barrie McKay
Lewis MacLeod
Kyle Hutton
Kyle McAusland
Charlie Telfer
Darren Cole

Most of them have random PA's with minus numbers, but they end up roughly 115-140 PA due to -6 and -7's.

With Rangers in the lower divisions, youth is the key. You don't need Alexander, McCulloch etc to win the leagues. They'll be useful for the cups though.

Again, good luck! I'll watch with great interest.
 
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Andy Haliday is died in the wool blue! Good signing ;)

Jamie Mills, if trained properly, could fill the Wallace void. Darren Cole can also be retrained to LB, as I did.
 
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Good luck mate, mon the Gers!

One question, Naismith as a striker??? Never tried him there, he's a useful winger and great with set pieces, but usually on my bench.

I am currently 26 games into a challenge I will be posting as soon as my youth intake comes in. I've put Rangers in the Conference and will only be using youth intakes to bring players in. I'm waiting because I want to see if my youth intake definitely will be mostly Scottish, otherwise it'd be unrealistic. It should be though, as I was given a 17 y/o Scottish regen keeper for my youth at the start and changed things in the editor so my base nation is still Scotland.

Your most promising Scottish youth players are:

Jamie Mills
Darren Ramsey
Stuart Urquhart
Fraser Aird
Callum Gallagher
Barrie McKay
Lewis MacLeod
Kyle Hutton
Kyle McAusland
Charlie Telfer
Darren Cole

Most of them have random PA's with minus numbers, but they end up roughly 115-140 PA due to -6 and -7's.

With Rangers in the lower divisions, youth is the key. You don't need Alexander, McCulloch etc to win the leagues. They'll be useful for the cups though.

Again, good luck! I'll watch with great interest.
Thanks for the reply mate! I was primarily using Naismith as a backup striker. It works pretty well in the lower leagues cause his pace is solid for that standard. Darren Ramsay, Kyle Hutton, Kyle McAusland and Barrie McKay are becoming beasts so hopefully they continue to improve. The others I've either loaned out for experience or are playing reserves/off the bench. Will see how we go. I've also got a couple good regens who are out on loan and are improving pretty quickly.

Andy Haliday is died in the wool blue! Good signing ;)

Jamie Mills, if trained properly, could fill the Wallace void. Darren Cole can also be retrained to LB, as I did.
Thanks for following mate! Yeah I'm trying to improve his defensive attributes but he looks like he has potential to be a beast. I've kinda done the same thing with Darren Cole - though Hendrie has been a phenomenal signing so far. And he's only 19! See how he pans out I guess.
 
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