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The Trinidad and Tobago national football team, over the past six months, have forgotten how to wilt. In a parallel universe, the Scotland Premier League (SPL), Glasgow Rangers cannot remember how to win.


The irony, particularly for Scottish football fans, is striking.

When strapping Trinidad and Tobago central defender Marvin Andrews signed for Rangers, 18 months ago, the move was viewed to be sufficiently progressive-at least as far as Rangers fans were concerned-as to render his international future inconsequential.

This dismissive theory would only have gained credence when Scotland whipped T&T 4-1 in a friendly international at Edinburgh in the summer of 2004.

Rangers promised European Champions League football and the opportunity to tackle the best players in the business while T&T was supposedly nothing more than an annoying 18-hour round way trip for meaningless fixtures.

Well, how do you explain the last two months then?

On November 16, Trinidad and Tobago completed an astounding revival by edging Bahrain 1-0 away to clinch the final 2006 Germany World Cup qualifying place.

Rangers, in contrast, have not beaten anyone since October 22, 2005. Not even table proppers, Livingston, who held them 2-2 at home on October 26 or newly-promoted, Falkirk, who had the audacity to match that scoreline at Rangers' Ibrox Stadium on December 3.

No wonder Andrews felt a tad disoriented.

"It was success all the time for me here (at Rangers)," Andrews told Express Sports. "Especially (earlier) this year with the team winning the League Championship and the CIS Cup and I got the Player of the Year (trophy). This is the first tough time for me."

Half of Glasgow feels his grief. Much of Britain shares his bewilderment.

At present, Rangers have gone nine consecutive outings without a win (exclusive of their Champions League fixture at home to Inter Milan on Tuesday), which is the Scottish giant's worse run of form since the 19th century.

The simplistic view is Rangers could not cope with exclusion from the duopoly that tends to mark the SPL.

Hearts' storming start and Celtic's consolidation under Gordon Strachan saw Rangers slip into an unfathomable third place while a subsequent dip in confidence accelerated their deterioration.

Rangers are in fifth spot, at present, and closer to the bottom of the 12-team table than the top. On 24 points, Rangers are 16 points clear of cellar placed Livingston but 17 behind leaders Celtic.

"I think it's a confidence thing," said McLeish, after Saturday's 2-2 draw against Falkirk.

Andrews, who played in 11 of Rangers' 17 league outings this term, agreed with his boss.

"My form is good and the team is generally playing well," said Andrews. "But the results are not going the way we want it to. The morale is pretty low in the team right now.

"It is hard but it is something that definitely makes you stronger and I have to believe that God knows what He is about."

Andrews is probably Scotland's most famous Christian sportsman after refusing an operation on his cruciate anterior ligament last season on the grounds that God would heal him. His mantra to Rangers supporters, "Keep Believing", became sacrosanct when the club sensationally won the league on the final match of the 2004/05 season.

McLeish may be most impressed with his remarkable intensity and courage, though.

Andrews is arguably not as technically gifted as the club's other three central defenders-Jean Pierre-Fanfan, Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Julien Rodriguez-but, with his job on the line in October, McLeish reinstated the obscure defender he plucked from bankrupt Livingston last June and stuck by him.

The failure of McLeish's recent signings might be another factor in Rangers' disastrous league form. While Dado Prso, Nacho Novo, Thomas Buffel and Andrews starred in their debut seasons; Fanfan, Rodriguez, Francis Jeffers and Brahim Hemdani struggled and versatile ex-Hibernian defender, Ian Murray, has been the only consistent contributor.

"He (McLeish) knows what I am about and that is why he signed me," said Andrews. "He knows I will always give 110 percent."

A contractual clause means that Andrews must figure in 60 per cent of Rangers' games this season to automatically receive a third year at the club.

Thus far, he has managed 62 per cent but, from a professional standpoint, he would prefer his chances under the manager who recruited him.

He was typically philosophical about his personal situation.

"My future and my destiny is in God's hands," he said, "so I am not worried about that."

Not that anyone at the Ibrox would doubt Andrews' commitment regardless.

His brave tackles and gravity defying leaps are just one half of his game. An unshakable belief in his goal and appetite for battle-which earned him the nickname "Dog" in his San Juan hometown-completes the formidable competitor.

It is primarily the mental will and desire to defy the odds that took Andrews and the "Soca Warriors" to the 2006 World Cup. Rangers could do with a dose themselves. Andrews has not savoured victory since his international exploits of mid-November.

"It is very hard knowing that you came from that great success in Bahrain with your national team," said Andrews. "And you come back to your bread and butter and find yourself having a really tough time. But God is allowing that to happen for a reason.

"I just have to keep working hard and trust in His wisdom."

McLeish might pray for Rangers to be a little more like Trinidad and Tobago.

What a difference six months make.