ANDY HALLIDAY has warned Rangers’ five new midfielders not to expect him to give up his place in the side without a fight.
The 24 year-old has watched Matt Crooks, Josh Windass, Jordan Rossiter, Joey Barton and Niko Kranjcar all arrive at Ibrox over the summer to compete for just three berths in the middle of the park, seemingly putting his regular starting slot in some jersey.
But, while delighted with the quality Mark Warburton has added to his squad, Halliday insisted he’ll do everything to play his part in Gers chase for the top flight title. That quest begins on August 6 at home to Hamilton Accies, with the Light Blues’ latest warm-up for that game seeing them cruise to a 3-0 win over East Stirlingshire on Friday night, with Halliday opening the scoring from the penalty spot.
Speaking to RangersTV.tv, Halliday said:
“Good players welcome good players, and all these good players we have brought in will help us strive to our one goal, and that’s going for 55. Nobody should write me off though as I won’t be giving up my place lightly, and when you play for this football club, you need to earn the jersey, and someone has to try and take it from me.
“It’s very pleasing to be off the mark for the season, and I love it when Waggy doesn’t play as I know I always have a chance of scoring a penalty! I’m not expecting as many goals this season, but if I can get anywhere near the double figures I got last year, I’ll be really pleased. I’ve already played quite a few games in the deeper role, and while I’ll not be setting any targets for this season, it’s good to be off the mark.
“I’m still taking it upon myself to take the penalties, even though I’ve missed a couple now, but it doesn’t bother me.”
Boss Warburton has often spoken of his unhappiness with the new League Cup format given how early his side have been thrown into competitive action. Like many teams, Rangers are therefore treating their four group stage games as part of their preparations for the main campaign, although they have won the three games they have played so far.
That remains paramount for Halliday, although he was critical of the way his side went about their business in the second half of Friday’s game at Ochilview.
He added: “It’s a pre-season, and a new format for the League Cup. I don’t think we are going to be at our free-flowing best just yet, and I think you saw that in the second half. I think the second half was quite disappointing. There were too many turnovers of the ball – and I think in the first five minutes of the half we gave the ball away more than in the entire first half combined.
“That set the tempo for the rest of the second half, but this is only our fourth pre-season game. Everything is geared towards August 6, and the main thing is we have three wins and three clean sheets.”