Rangers NI star Steven Davis hasn’t seen family since title win

Rangers star Steven Davis said he can’t wait to get back to Northern Ireland to celebrate the club’s 55th title success with his friends and family.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 2:05 pm
Rangers Steven Davis in action. Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The Ballymena-born footballer, who with 126 Northern Ireland caps is the most capped British player of all time, hasn’t been able to come home since Rangers won the title at the beginning of March due to Covid restrictions.

As the Scottish champions prepare to launch a new club shop in Belfast city centre, the 36-year-old said: “Unfortunately with Covid I haven’t been back. The only time I was back in Northern Ireland this year was for the international games. We’ve been in our bubble for that period.

“I’ve got a load of mates that I’ve grown up with, a load of family, friends, who are all Rangers fans. I know exactly what it means to everybody this season.

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Northern Ireland's Steven Davis is the most capped British player of all time. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

“A lot of my friends from back home who would regularly travel over to games, they certainly missed out, though they’re ecstatic that we got the title wrapped up, and they’re looking forward to getting back in next season.

“It will nice to get back over and see the family, I haven’t seen them in quite a while. On our summer break if things open up I can hopefully get back for a few days and catch up with everybody, enjoy it.”

Having signed a new contract Davis hopes he can emulate the careers of fellow Northern Ireland internationals Gareth McAuley and Aaron Hughes, both of whom retired at the age of 39.

He said: “The body still feels good, I’m delighted to sign for another year and we’ll reassess things closer to the end of next season.”

The midfielder, who has scored against rivals Celtic in Old Firm games across three different decades, added: “You need a little bit of luck in terms of major injuries along the way. You have to have a real desire within you to want to keep playing, to keep pushing yourself.

“To stay at this level you have to be very professional, treat your body right and give yourself the best possible chance. Aaron and Gareth were a great example to me, a few years behind them, to show what was possible if you looked after your body correctly.”

New Rangers shop in Belfast

On Saturday (May 1), Rangers will open the doors of its new club shop at Donegall Place at 10am, in what used to be The Body Shop.

James Bisgrove, commercial director, said Rangers has a thriving fan base in Ulster: “There’s 116 supporters’ clubs in Northern Ireland, which is the highest density, second only behind greater Glasgow. We and our kit and retail partners Castore are acutely aware of the demand.”

He said the Belfast store will be the third official store alongside shops at Ibrox and in Glasgow city centre.

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Alistair Bushe