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Discussion Starter #1
Just found this article on the official site, might interest you as there's not much known about JS yet :), Notice the airbrushing of Northern Ireland's Champions :dielaugh:

RANGERS recently secured the signature of defender Jukka Santala from HJK Helsinki and the towering Finn is hoping that he can break in to Alex McLeish's first-team after settling in Glasgow.

The 19-year-old put pen to paper after impressing the Ibrox bosses during a three-week trial at Murray Park in January and is confident that he can make the same impact in Scotland as he did with former side in Finland.

Jukka made his top team debut for HJK last season and made 20 appearances for Keith Armstrong's team. He was also involved in two Champions League qualifying ties at the start of this season against Linwood and Macabi Tel Aviv.

His early rise to prominence alerted the Gers hierarchy who put the wheels in motion and invited him to Murray
Park where he was given a two-year deal after his trial had expired.

Since then, Jukka has had an impressive start to his Light Blue career and he recently scored a debut goal for John Brown's Reserves.

The Finn notched his side's only goal in the 3-1 SPL defeat to Livingston on January 31 and his aerial ability, both in defence in attack, was evident throughout the 90 minutes.

He is clearly enjoying life in Scotland and was over the moon when his agent informed him of Rangers interest.

He said: "Scotland is a beautiful place and I am really enjoying living here. I admit that the weather has been a bit disappointing as I did not see sunshine for two weeks when I arrived in the country but I am glad that it has improved recently!

"But is great to be at Rangers and I feel very fortunate to be at such a big club.

"My agent was the first-person to tell me that Rangers wanted to look at me and I was stunned at first. However, I immediately said 'yes' to a three-week trial at the club and we took it from there.

"Fortunately, I did quite well while I was at Murray Park and got to train with the first team. The club then offered me a two-year contact and I was delighted to sign.

"I am now hoping to do well at the club and would love to get a chance in the first-team. This is my aim and, hopefully, I will be able to achieve this as it would make me very proud.

"Everyone in Finland knows of Rangers because we see them on TV playing in the Champions League or the UEFA Cup. Over the years they have had some great players in their team so I always enjoyed watching them play.

"Of course, the club have had a few Finns playing for them in the past including Jonaton Johansson, Antti Niemi
and Tero Pentilla. Everyone back home is interested to see players from Finland playing in Britain, especially if they are at a big club like Rangers."

Jukka believes that Light Blues have one of the best training facilities in Europe at Murray Park and this was a major factor in his decision to sign.

He said: "When I first arrived at Murray Park I could not believe how good the training facilities were. I walked in to the home dressing room and, in my head, I was saying 'I can not believe I am getting the chance to sign for this club'.

"When you see Murray Park and Ibrox Stadium it makes you realise that you have joined a massive team and I am desperate to do well during my time in Glasgow.

"I have trained with the first-team already on a couple of occasions so I really enjoyed that. It is always good to get the chance to do this because you learn a lot from training with top players and nearly all of them are playing at an international level. You just try to watch what they do and hope you can pick up some tips from them.

"The lads in the Reserve squad have also been great with me so far and they are a lot of fun. They have helped me to settle in Scotland and you can see that there are a lot of very good young players at the club."

Santala feels that the experience he gained with HJK last season will hold him in good stead during his Rangers career and that there is a lot of talented youngsters currently plying their trade in the Finnish leagues.

He said: "There is a lot of very good young players in Finland at this moment in time and a lot of European clubs go to Finland to see if they can pick up any players.

"I'm quite fortunate as I am still quite young but have had quite a lot of first-team experience.

"I signed for HJK initially when I was 16 but I then moved to Jokerit for a year to play in their first-team. However they could not afford to keep me and I moved back to HJK.

"I made my first-team debut for HJK last season and that was a great moment for me. We then played in the Champions League at the start of this season and beat Linwood in the first qualifying round but were put out by Macabi Tel Aviv in the next round.

"I played against both teams, home and away, and it was great to be involved with these games. Linwood were a hard working side whereas Macabi were more technical and we were unlucky to be put out of the competition.

"I feel very fortunate that I was given a chance to play in these games at such an early age.

"But the experienced players in the HJK side helped me a lot and I learned a lot from playing alongside them.

"I also had a very good relationship with the manager of HJK, Keith Armstrong (right), and he helped me a lot while I was
at the club. He is an English manager so he knew that Rangers were a massive club and said a lot of nice things about me when I left Finland so you always appreciate that.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at HJK and still look for their results."

Armstrong talked up the merits of defender Santala and believes that Rangers have signed a very good player.

The HJK boss said: 'Jukka is a huge talent, a boy we were all excited about.

'He did really well at HJK but was out of contract and when a club the size of Rangers comes in for you what could I do?

'Jukka is still young but I hope and believe he can be a big success at Rangers. He certainly has the talent to do so.'
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Just to add he's actually scored twice :) He scored in the 5-1(??) demolition of Peter Huistra's FC Groningen. Not a bad ratio for a big centre half. Seems to have a good attitude much like Djordjic and I hope he can progress with us.
 

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I would think another central defender will be on Eck's shopping list in the summer, so hopefully Santala can progress enough to make this unnecessary, although maybe i'm expecting too much.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I agree with you on the simple basis that Marvin Andrews is not good enough for this club.

Great guy yes & he does a job against various SPL teams but he just isn't up to scratch :( I've enjoyed watching him play but he's struggled since Boumsong left.
 

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I think even if Santala does come through to the first team McLeish will need another defender anyway. If we get one of two injuries back there we are struggling. On that note I was very impressed with Khalid Bhoulahrouz last night in the England/Holland game. He plays for RKC Waalwijk- has all the specs we need for a good defender.
 

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I still think Khizanishvili could make it :eek:. If it wasn't for Celtic's physical strength, McLeish would be building the side differently and Khizanishvili would be ahead of Andrews in the pecking order. He's got a lot of advantages over Andrews.
 

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NEO said:
Boulahrouz has already signed for Hamburg SV, so I can´t see you getting him!
I'm not surprised. He looks a quality signing and still quite young too. If he has already signed for Hamburg then it must be a pre-contract, so they got him for nothing :cry: Thatnks for the info Neo.


@Angle_eyes- Like Vignal he needs to cut out the fannying about. He gets caught in possession too often while trying something fancy. Agaisnt Auxerre and Celtic he cost us a goal by going into challenges half-hearted. If he could get those things ironed out then he'd be a decent player. I don't think he is a centre back though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
ZK has struggled with confidence of late. I don't think it helps that no-one really has a clue where he's best suited. For me he's a central defender who needs someone powerful alongside him. Soto seems powerful enough. Would have been a useful sweeper behind Marv and Soto if our system was to change but I can't see it.

I'm trying to think of what we'll do on the 20th if Bellendamy starts. ZK does a good marking job and it might be worth while putting him on the Welshman. Ferguson to do a bit of a defensive job on Sutton if he plays in the hole?

Any statto's on either side of the divide care to tell us the line-up's and results of Old Firm games when Celtic played all 3 strikers, Larsson, Sutton & Hartson?
 

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BillStruth said:
Any statto's on either side of the divide care to tell us the line-up's and results of Old Firm games when Celtic played all 3 strikers, Larsson, Sutton & Hartson?
I'll have a look and get back on that one.

Against Celtic I'd start like this with their 3 attackers being covered and 3 ball winners in midfield. It would mean sacrificing Buffel but he could come on later. I'd be temped to start Djordjic ahead of Rae but I don't think he'll be fit by then.


----------------Waterreus

---------Kyrgiakos--------Andrews

Hutton----------Khizanishvili----------Vignal

---- Ricksen------Fergsuon------A.Rae

--------------Prso--------Novo
 

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I seriously doubt McLeish would play Zurab in that sort of role again. It's too similar to where he played against Auxerre. Wasn't he supposed to be man-marking one of their main-men that night and got taken to the cleaners? Eck would be a very brave man to try that again. I don't think we should be going into next weeks game worrying about their players. I believe we've got enough about us going forward to go there with practically an even chance of winning.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Angle_eyes said:
I seriously doubt McLeish would play Zurab in that sort of role again. It's too similar to where he played against Auxerre. Wasn't he supposed to be man-marking one of their main-men that night and got taken to the cleaners? Eck would be a very brave man to try that again. I don't think we should be going into next weeks game worrying about their players. I believe we've got enough about us going forward to go there with practically an even chance of winning.
He was assigned to Bonaventure Kalou.

That was just a stupid move all round. If I remember correctly he took our best midfielder, Ricksen, out at the time to make way for Zurab. Ricksen was shoved back into the role of RB where I've never been impressed with him. But he was left wanting against Auxerre and it may not be wise to try it again.

Just throwing some ideas into the ring. :)
 

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BillStruth said:
Just throwing some ideas into the ring. :)
It's cool mate. chivo knows my role here is mostly to be negative about suggestions ;)
 

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BillStruth said:
Any statto's on either side of the divide care to tell us the line-up's and results of Old Firm games when Celtic played all 3 strikers, Larsson, Sutton & Hartson?
These are the last 3 times they used the 3 against us in the one game.

03-Jan-04 Celtic 3-0 Rangers
(Petrov 19, Varga 60, Thompson 84)
RANGERS Klos; Ricksen, Berg, Ball, Moore, Burke, Malcolm, Lovenkrands, Arteta, G.Rae, Arveladze
CELTIC Douglas, Balde, McNamara, Agathe, Varga, Sutton, Lennon, Petrov, Thompson, Hartson, Larsson

27-Apr-03 Rangers 1-2 Celtic
(Thompson 28 Pen, Hartson 42, De Boer 56)
RANGERS Klos; Ricksen, Moore, Amoruso, Numan; De Boer, Konterman, Ferguson, Lovenkrands, Caniggia, Mols
CELTIC Douglas, McNamara, Balde, Valgaeren, Laursen; Agathe, Sutton, Lennon, Thompson, Hartson, Larsson

16-Mar-03 Rangers 2-1 Celtic
(Caniggia 22, Lovenkrands 34, Larsson 56)
RANGERS Klos; Ricksen, Moore, Amoruso, Bonnissel, Caniggia, Ferguson, Arteta, De Boer, Mols, Lovenkrands CELTIC Douglas; Valgaeren, Balde, Mjallby, Smith, Lennon, Sutton, Lambert, Thompson, Larsson, Hartson
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Doesn't look particularly good then because in the one game that we did win they had a blatantly onside goal chalked off and missed that last minute penalty. On the other hand Balde assaulted both Mols and Lovenkrands within minutes of each other both off the ball and we didn't even get a FK! If i'm not mistaken Lennon was sent off in that victory too, no sooner than he should have been though!
 

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I forgot that big idiot assaulting those two in that game. I can't remember if that was the same game he battered De Boer in the back with his knee and De Boer was struggling thereafter.

Lennon was red carded for two yellows in two minutes. the first for pushing Ricksen in an off the ball incident and the second for striking Arveladze in the face. Same old story of them losing the plot when behind. O'Neill commented "Neil Lennon’s red card was most unfair. Why was Amoruso not sent off at the penalty?" :rolleyes:

I just read the report and one player was lucky to escape a sending off. The guy I think is the biggest animal in a hooped shirt- Alan Thompson. He chopped down Bazza and was already on a yellow at the time.

The 3-0 game was a one-off. You just have to look at the side we put out that day. If Eck gets his tactics right I don't think there will be too much in this one.
 

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chivoexpiatorio said:
You just have to look at the side we put out that day.
RANGERS Klos; Ricksen, Berg, Ball, Moore, Burke, Malcolm, Lovenkrands, Arteta, G.Rae, Arveladze

That is truly frightening looking at that team. I remember before that game I have never been more sure that we'd get beaten :(
 

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Angle_eyes said:
RANGERS Klos; Ricksen, Berg, Ball, Moore, Burke, Malcolm, Lovenkrands, Arteta, G.Rae, Arveladze

That is truly frightening looking at that team. I remember before that game I have never been more sure that we'd get beaten :(
Look at that team. Just look at that team! :nono:


Quite scary that we've improved so much yet still lag behind them in the League. I think deep down we all know the reason for that. :neutral:
 

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This season though we've won half the games. I've not seen anything this season to suggest we should worry about them. Last season I dreaded every old firm game knowing the outcome before a ball was kicked. Since that 3-0 game there has never been more than a goal in it, except for our 2-0 win in November.

The problem we are going to have as I see it is that we now have ball winners in midfield but Celtic will miss them out and go straight for the head of Hartson. If he don't win that first ball then we must ensure we pick up the knock down.
 

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Figured out my password for my old account so will be disregarding the Bill Struth one :)

I think it was the same game that Balde attacked RdB.

All in all I'm not scared of them with the right approach to the game we should take them. Just not too confident in McLeish's tactical ability that's all. :(
 
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