The-Rangers-Archives-Logo-animated-reel
The-Rangers-Archives-Logo-animated-reel
lee mcculloch rangers

Lee McCulloch

Wigan’s Lee McCulloch became a serious target for Rangers in early 2007, in fact the moment Walter Smith returned to Ibrox as manager. Whilst the immediate winter transfer window had allowed Smith to strengthen the spine of the team (shrewdly acquiring Weir, Ehiogu & Thomson) there was still much rebuilding be done if Rangers were to mount a serious challenge to Celtic. A strong second half to season 2006/07 under Smith, in which Rangers defeated Celtic in both Old Firm fixtures, had certainly raised supporter expectations following a disappointing final campaign under Alex McLeish and the largely unforgettable reign of Paul Le Guen.

It was clear that there would need to be a vast turnover of players during the summer and Walter was under more pressure than ever to ensure any available funds were spent wisely. Having unsuccessfully tested Wigan’s resolve in that January ‘window’ with a bid of £750,000, it seemed unlikely that a deal could happen given the English side were seeking closer to £3m. With the player already 29 years of age, it was clear that there would be little resale value at the expiry of any contract.

However, having worked with the player closely at international level, Walter was perhaps more inclined to go that ‘extra mile’ and a fee of £2.25m was eventually agreed between the respective Clubs. Lee, a boyhood Rangers fan, had made it clear where his heart lay and did all he personally could do in order to force the issue and ‘persuade’ Wigan to sanction his transfer. His dream came true on 11th July 2007 when a 4 year deal was completed.

Whilst the age factor may have been a concern (relative to the fee), Lee undoubtedly ticked a lot of other boxes from a recruitment perspective. A ‘Rangers man’ and childhood friend of skipper Barry Ferguson, he would be a valuable asset in restoring the Scottish identity within the dressing room and team. Crucially, he could fill a number of positions and had a wealth of experience from both sides of the border. Initially breaking into the Motherwell side as a raw, bustling front man, he had earned his big money move South and had been very much a key part of the Wigan fairytale of rising through the English tiers (culminating in Premiership status). Having made well over 200 league appearances it was no surprise that Wigan were in no rush to see him head ‘home’.

Affectionately known as ‘Jig’, McCulloch would make his Rangers debut towards the end of July as Zeta were defeated 2-0 at Ibrox in a CL qualifier. It would be a scoring debut. Season 2007/08 would prove to be an incredible campaign for the Club in which a first European Final was reached in 36 years. A late substitute in Manchester, Lee would find himself in the starting XI as both the League Cup and Scottish Cup returned to Ibrox with victories over Dundee United and QOTS respectively. He would make 46 appearances in that debut season scoring 7 goals. The huge disappointment of missing out on the title was lessened 12 months later as the League Championship was secured in emphatic style at Tannadice. Jig was on the pitch when the full time whistle was blown and savoured every moment with his Gers team mates.

It is probably fair to say that Lee suffered as a result of his versatility in those first seasons. Often played in a wider midfield role, it would not have been an ideal position for him but throughout his Ibrox career he would put the team first. The departure of friend and colleague Barry Ferguson following another Scottish Cup triumph (Falkirk) ironically enabled Lee to find increased game time in a central position and his form and influence became far more consistent. A powerful player with a ferocious shot, Lee was a goal threat regardless of where he was deployed. Whilst not at the same technical level of a Barry Ferguson, Steve Davis or Pedro Mendes, he was extremely effective in the more physically demanding Scottish game.

As Rangers entered financial free fall in 2012, Lee showed his leadership qualities from the outset and this continued as the Club were plunged into the bottom tier of Scottish Football. Lee would remain at Ibrox, fully committed to the cause and soon to assume the responsibility of Club captain as the long ‘journey’ back to the top began. Whether leading the line and banging in the goals (he scored 34 in the league over two campaigns) or shoring up the defence at centre half, nobody could ever accuse ‘Jig’ of giving less than 110%. Despite very difficult times, he continued to demand that levels and standards remained high within the squad. This was against the backdrop of the Club being in a unique situation and with the years gradually creeping up on him.

In all, Lee McCulloch made 291 appearances for Rangers scoring 65 times. He won 3 league titles in addition to two lower league successes.

McCulloch would later have a spell in charge of Kilmarnock before enjoying success as Robbie Nielsen's assistant at both Dundee United and Heart of Midlothian.

 

Stats

Competition
League
League Cup
Scottish Cup
Europe
Total
Starts
193
19
23
28
263
Sub
18
3
4
3
28
Goals
51
6
5
3
65
Other
50
7
11

Honours

Competition
League
League Cup
Scottish Cup
Europe
Wins
3
3
2
0

Lee McCulloch

D.O.B
14 May, 1978
Signed
11 July, 2007
Wigan Athletic
Left
1 June, 2015
Kilmarnock
Competitive Debut
Rangers v FC Zeta 2-0 31 July 2007
Appearances
291
Goals
65
img 5728
Bio
Gallery
lee mcculloch rangers
DOB: 14 May, 1978
Signed: 
Left: 
Competitive Debut: Rangers v FC Zeta 2-0 31 July 2007
Total Appearances: 291
Competition
Starts
Sub
Goals
League
193
18
51
League Cup
19
3
6
Scottish Cup
23
4
5
Europe
28
3
3
total
263
28
65
Honours
League
3
League Cup
3
Scottish Cup
2
Europe
0
Please consider making a donation to support our website and help us continue to provide valuable content and services.
The-Rangers-Archives-Logo-animated-reel

The Rangers Archives

crossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram