Dean Shiels relishing competition for places at Rangers under new boss Mark Warburton

Dean Shiels
Dean Shiels

Dean Shiels is enjoying life at Ibrox under new manager Mark Warburton despite missing out on last week’s victory over Raith Rovers.

The Northern Ireland international spoke warmly of life under the new regime, and the level of competition at Ibrox.

“I’m really enjoying it,” Shiels said.

“I think that if you ask any of the players they’ll tell you that. We’re all playing with a freedom and we’re scoring lots of goals. We’re really enjoying our football.

“There’s a great vibe around the place and that comes from winning games and that in turn comes from working hard on the training pitch. There is a good unity between everyone including the staff and we’re all pulling in the same direction and that can only benefit us.”

Shiels may have missed the 5-0 drubbing last weekend – but the competition for places is not something that concerns him as he spoke of how well the new signings have settled in. “There have been a lot of players who have come in, but I think the fact we’ve all gelled comes from what we do in training. We all know our roles when we step out onto the pitch on a Saturday and I think it helps having clarity in training and knowing what’s expected on the pitch.”

Like so many, the Ulsterman could not speak highly enough of the backing from the ‘Gers support.

“Hopefully we can use Ibrox as a really hard place for opposition fans and players to come this season to get another win,” he added.

“It’s been phenomenal already this season. I obviously know the level of support that the club has, but this season it’s been really impressive and that can only benefit us.

“If the fans, the team and the staff are all pulling in the same direction then we will be able to do great things.”

Meanwhile, it’s Armed Forces Day at Ibrox Stadium on Saturday with the club inviting more than 250 service personnel as Rangers host Livingston in the Championship.

The Light Blues will be aiming for a 10th successive win in all competitions since the start of the season against opponents who proved to be stubborn and difficult last season, particularly during the second half of the campaign when two 1-1 draws were costly in terms of the final league positions, one at Ibrox in March and another at Almondvale one month later.

Warburton is unlikely to make many changes from the side that demolished Raith Rovers 5-0 last weekend – and another near-capacity Ibrox audience will be looking for nothing less than that tenth win on the trot.

Assistant Manager David Weir underlined that the Ibrox men will not be treating their opponents lightly.

“We’ve seen Livingston a couple of times and they will be hard to beat,” he said.

“They are well-organised and have some good players. We know that everybody raises their game when they come to play at Ibrox and play against Rangers.

“There will be a great atmosphere – they’ll try to affect that, to slow the game down and try and quieten the crowd and upset us. We know that it’s going to be a difficult game but we also know that we are playing with a lot of confidence.”