JONATAN JOHANSSON is relishing his return to Rangers as he prepares to throw himself in to day to day work with players again after being added to Pedro Caixinha’s coaching staff this week.
The Finn was chosen by the manager from a host of candidates to fill his local assistant role and now JJ is eager to make his mark after shifting from international football back to the club game.
He told RangersTV: “I’m obviously delighted and proud to be back at the club. I learnt a lot when I played here and had fantastic times here so coming back is really special for me. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet but it’s a really special moment.
“It’s exactly how I wanted my career to progress, with a massive club like Rangers and also in a role at the moment to be working with players every day. Everything is very good at the moment and it was great coming in during a week with such a good result so long may that last.”
Having coached in Motherwell’s youth setup in the past, Johansson has been working with his home country’s first team squad after a spell coaching the Finnish youth teams.
He combined that role with his life in Scotland where he studied the majority of Rangers games, including as an analyst and commentator for the club’s online TV channel.
However the chance to work on the training field on a daily basis was enough to convince him to move on from his national team and take up what he describes as a dream role.
Johansson said: “The Finland work and setup was great for me. I was so proud to work for my country and leaving it is a little bit sad for me, but this was an opportunity and a chance that I couldn’t turn down.
“Working every day on the pitch, with top class players, it’s a dream for every coach and that’s no different for me.
“With the national team the difficult thing for the coach is the spaces between the games when you can’t do any on field work and you have to wait to start again so it was always in my plans to return to a club.
“I coached with youth players at Motherwell and with Finland then stepped up to the first team with Finland to coach professionals, so I felt I was ready to take the next step, getting into a big club with massive pressure again.
“Working with top class players, but also with the manager and coaches and fitness team so I think this was a natural step for me and the fact it’s Rangers is a massive bonus.
“I’ve been back to Ibrox a lot and when I was here as a player the training ground wasn’t built yet so coming here is special. It’s always great to be at the stadium too where there are so many memories.
“I’ve been back as much as possible and played with legends teams and that’s kept me within the club and knowing about the club so now to be working again it’s very special.”