Cap call would chime with Rangers' Bell

CAMMY Bell has spent prolonged spells doing next to nothing as Rangers have taken SPFL League One by storm this season.

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Cammy Bell is tested every day in training by Rangers' top strikers
Cammy Bell is tested every day in training by Rangers' top strikers

Bell and his team-mates have won all 15 of their games in the third tier - and have conceded just seven goals in the process.

And three of those came in the first 45 minutes of an amazing match against Brechin City at Glebe Park back in October.

But the 27-year-old keeper still believes that, despite his side's domestic domination, he has improved since arriving at Ibrox in the summer.

And the former Kilmarnock player is confident he has enhanced his prospects of getting back into the Scotland squad as a result of his move.

He said: "Not having anything to do in games for lengthy periods of time can be difficult. It is certainly vastly different from what I was used to before with Kilmarnock. But I knew exactly what to expect when I joined Rangers.

"There are different demands on you than there are at other clubs. For a start, you have to win every match that you are involved in.

"Drawing a match is not considered good enough here. But, to be honest, it is no bad thing to have that weight of expectation on you as a player.

"The hopes of tens of thousands of fans are on your shoulders every other week. But I think it helps you to improve having that pressure on you.

"Despite the situation we are in, fans expect you to win trophies here at Rangers. But that is why I came here, to win things, so I am comfortable with that.

"I also have ambitions to get back into the Scotland set-up and think being at Rangers will help me. I have played for my country before and would like to do so again.

"I know I just have to keep playing well and keeping clean sheets in games with my club. Hopefully if I can do that I will receive recognition at international level."

Bell has kept nine clean sheets in 13 appearances - he was unable to play until a club transfer ban had expired on August 31 - in all competitions this season.

As well as ensuring Rangers remain on course for a perfect season in the league, he has helped them progress in the Scottish Cup and reach the Ramsdens Cup final.

But the stopper, who went on loan to both Montrose and Queen of the South earlier in his career, is defensive of the quality of football in the lower leagues. He knows Ally McCoist's side will need to play at their best to extend their post-war winning record to 21 games against league rivals Stranraer at Ibrox on Boxing Day.

Bell went on: "Sure, we can be on top for long spells. But I still have to marshall my defence and be alert to the opposition breaking away and scoring a goal. So I am not completely idle.

"Plus, some of the teams we have played have, despite our good run of results, been excellent. It has actually been eye-opening coming down to this level. The quality of opposition is far better than I think many people believe.

"The games aren't easy. Away from home especially it can be tough. Believe me, we have to work hard and play well in order to get the result we are looking for.

"Nobody here is taking for granted that we can keep our run going. We know it is going to be demanding. We have to give every team we play the utmost respect."

Bell is also tested in training every day at Murray Park by Rangers front men Nicky Clark, Jon Daly and, before he broke his cheekbone and jaw against Dunfermline last month, Andy Little.

Northern Ireland international Little was sensational for Rangers last season as they won the Third Division and finished second-top scorer behind captain Lee McCulloch.

Former Dundee United player Daly, meanwhile, has arguably been the Glasgow giants' most impressive performer after overcoming a shaky start to net 18 goals.

But Bell revealed that he expects great things from Clark, who finally found form in front of goal against Forfar at the start of this month, in the second half of the campaign.

He said: "I think Nicky Clark has been brilliant this season. It took him a while to get a start because Andy Little was enjoying very good form.

"But Nicky came in after Andy, unfortunately for him, got an injury. I am sure that he will keep scoring goals for us between now and the end of the season.

"He certainly keeps me on my toes in training. He is a very good finisher. You don't score the number of goals he did last season without knowing where the back of the net is.

"Everybody at the club knew he could score goals from seeing him in training. I think he just needed to get a few starts under his belt and to familiarise himself with his new surroundings.

"He made the breakthrough against Forfar by scoring four goals. I am sure that he will kick on now and get many, many more."

Football

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