Gareth McAuley would welcome Steven Davis to Rangers

Rangers' Gareth McAuley (left) vies with Livingston's Steven Lawson
Rangers' Gareth McAuley (left) vies with Livingston's Steven Lawson

Gareth McAuley reckons Steven Davis could be just the man to give Rangers back their cutting edge.

Davis has been linked with a January return to Ibrox after a frustrating season so far at Southampton.

The 33-year-old has started just two games for Saints this term, but McAuley has no doubts about his Northern Ireland team-mates’ talents.

Davis is a former Gers captain who won three league titles under Walter Smith and McAuley would love to see him bring that quality back to Glasgow.

The Light Blues saw their European adventure come to an end on Thursday night as their inability to cut open Rapid Vienna denied Steven Gerrard’s side a place in the Europa League last 32.

But McAuley sees Davis as the ideal man to spearhead Rangers’ push for honours on the domestic front.

Asked if he had spoken to his compatriot about the transfer rumours, the centre-back said: “Not yet. Is that the name getting banded about?

“I don’t know if it’s on the cards, but he’s certainly the player who has been here before, who has captained the club and knows what it’s about.

“I did a piece the other week on my best XI and he was in there. He’s a top player and a great guy.

“Could he provide the creativity we need? Possibly, possibly. As players we all need to do a bit more to create and opens teams up.

“The last time I spoke to Steven was at the last international game. He was keeping his cards close to his chest. He was more frustrated that he wasn’t playing at Southampton.”

I’ve said before that I don’t think he’s really appreciated other than by the club he’s at.

“But the players down there will know what a fantastic player he is.

“I know he’s frustrated that he’s not playing football and, if the opportunity is there for him and things are right with Southampton, then I’m sure he’d love to (come back). It’s an amazing club. I can’t think of anywhere better to play.”

Gerrard admits Gers will need “help” next month after Thursday night’s 1-0 loss in Vienna came on the back of five dropped domestic points against Dundee and Aberdeen.

But McAuley insists he and his team-mates do not see the looming prospect of new recruits as a threat.

He said: “Obviously the club wants to progress, they want to move forward, they want to bring other players in and the lads are open to that.

“They want help, they want to win as a group and progress and any help we can get is more than welcome.”

Gerrard’s team will now turn their attention to ensuring they keep tabs with Ladbrokes Premiership leaders Celtic when they face Hamilton at home on Sunday.

And McAuley said: “The lads are disappointed that the European run is over. We’ve come on a journey to this point and we feel frustrated not to have made the last 32.

“We were talking about it after the game. It wasn’t just last night. We’ve dropped points earlier in the group and there is an overriding frustration.

“But we’re proud as well after going 14 games into a European campaign.

“It’s the first time a lot of these players will have played European football and the good thing is that we’re already talking about next year and that’s a real positive.

“We want to be challenging and that’s what we’ll do now. We’ve no more European games so we’ve got to get back to the domestic stuff and as soon as we landed we started preparing for the game at the weekend.”