Championship will attract most fans, says Rangers legend Goram

ANDY GORAM today predicted the SPFL Championship will attract the most fans in Scotland next season - as Hearts, Hibs and Rangers slug it out for a return to the top flight.

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Big crowds like the one seen above at Ibrox could become a regular thing in the second tier next year for many clubs
Big crowds like the one seen above at Ibrox could become a regular thing in the second tier next year for many clubs

But he is confident the Ibrox club will complete their comeback by winning the second tier title and a third successive promotion with Ally McCoist in charge.

Goram was astonished to see his former club Hibs drop down a division after losing to Hamilton on penalties in the Premiership play-offs last month.

They have joined their capital rivals Hearts in the Championship - and the Edinburgh derbies in the 2014/15 campaign promise to be highly-charged encounters.

But so, too, do the meetings between Rangers and all of their full-time opponents in the Championship next term.

"The Goalie" is looking forward to seeing how the League One champions fare when they step up a level - and he reckons he is not alone.

Speaking to promote a charity match between an Old Firm Legends side and the Royal Regiment of Scotland at the Excelsior Stadium this Saturday, he said: "The Championship will be fantastic.

"I think it will be a more competitive division than the Premiership. Nobody can deny that. Not now that Hamilton have gone up.

"No disrespect at all to Hamilton. They have done brilliantly and they deserve to be in the Premiership once again.

"But you are now going to have Inverness and Aberdeen going down to Hamilton and vice versa. Those games may even be played on a Tuesday or a Wednesday night.

"Are you going to try and tell me that you are going to get a good crowd at those games? I don't think so.

"But look at the Championship. There are going to be some decent crowds there with Hibs, Hearts and Rangers all involved.

"If you take Celtic out of the Premiership and Rangers out of the Championship and compare the crowds in the two leagues you will find there are bigger crowds in the Championship."

Since dropping down to the bottom tier of Scottish football two years ago, Rangers have mainly squared up to part-time teams.

Indeed, the only club they have faced on a regular basis that is full-time is Dunfermline who they beat four times and drew with once in the 2013/14 campaign.

But Goram, the goalkeeping coach at Ayr United, does not think that moving up to a higher level - Falkirk, Queen of the South and Raith Rovers are also full-time - will faze his old team mates in the slightest.

He is confident that no matter who McCoist manages to bring in during the summer the Gers will mount a strong challenge for a place in the Premiership.

He said: "I don't think Ally McCoist, Ian Durrant and Kenny McDowall will worry about any other teams. They will obviously respect them. But I know from playing with them that they will be concentrating on what they have got.

"When they were in the Third Division people said it would be harder in the Second Division. But they won the Second Division, or League One as it became, by 40 points.

"So they won't bother about the teams they face or be daunted by the prospect. They will just concentrate on getting in the players they want and offloading the players they don't want."

Goram is certainly confident that in Cammy Bell, who was away with the Scotland squad last week, Rangers have a goalkeeper they can rely on.

He said: "I think Cammy will be at Rangers for a long time. He doesn't make mistakes, he pulls off saves after not being called into action for a long time, he can kick a ball, he has everything he needs."

l For more information about the Old Firm Legends game against the Royal Regiment of Scotland at the Excelsior Stadium on Saturday visit www.zeroalphafoundation.org/events.html.

Football

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