Rangers starlet Fraser Aird: Living life in the Third dimension has taken my game to a higher plane

WHEN Fraser Aird arrived at Rangers, his dream was to star in Scotland's top flight wearing the famous blue jersey.

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Fraser Aird scored his first senior goal for Rangers in the derby against Queen's Park
Fraser Aird scored his first senior goal for Rangers in the derby against Queen's Park

The reality has proven somewhat different but the Canadian kid reckons life in our bottom tier has proven to be just as useful an experience as he bids to become an Ibrox hero.

Gers boss Ally McCoist has not been afraid to utilise the best talents to roll off the Auchenhowie conveyor belt in recent months.

However, it has been no normal introduction to the Rangers first-team arena, with life in the Irn-Bru Third Division a far cry from what previous budding Light Blues stars have experienced.

The unconventional for previous generations has become the norm for Aird and youngsters such as Lewis Macleod, Chris Hegarty, Barrie McKay and Robbie Crawford, all of whom have shown up well so far this season as they bid to help Gers back to the big time.

"It is something different," Aird said. "I am used to watching Rangers playing in the SPL and now I am playing for them in the Third Division.

"It is different from the games I have played in the past. It is harder playing against grown men and at some of the venues away from home.

"It makes you better as a player and I feel that I have improved since I have been in the team and playing with and against better players.

"The physical side of it just comes with the game. You just have to stand up to it and play football as much as you can.

"We have been keeping the ball quite well in all the games, both away from home and at home, and you can see the physical side coming into the game when you get into the final third.

"Our possession and the way we have kept the ball as a team has been brilliant and we just have to get on with the physical side of the game and get used to it."

Were it not for Rangers' relocation to the Third Division this summer, it is doubtful if the likes of Aird would have been given the chance to star in front of the packed Ibrox stands.

However, the Murray Park kids have grabbed their opportunity to impress, with Macleod turning in a number of superb performances in the middle of the park to lead the way for the next generation of Gers.

McKay is another who has dazzled the Light Blue legions this term and Aird has always known his peer's potential.

He said: "Baz is brilliant to work with. I played with him last year for the under-19s and he has always been a pleasure to play with and to watch.

"The fans love him because he is so direct when he gets on the ball. I am the same type of player and they treat me the same way, it is great when they get behind you like that.

"He is an attacking player just like me and we learn a lot from each other."

Despite McCoist attracting a host of SPL-standard stars to Ibrox during the summer, it is his youngsters that perhaps impressed most in the Third Division as Rangers have opened up an unassailable lead and all but secured the championship months from the end of the campaign.

The highlight of Aird's season thus far came at Hampden last month as he scored a dramatic injury-time winner to give the Gers derby victory over Queen's Park and the 17-year-old hopes he can continue to catch the eye in his debut term.

He said: "The manager has been brilliant with the young boys. He is always talking to us and giving us advice and stuff like that.

"He has given a lot of the boys their opportunity this season and we are all enjoying it.

"With Barrie and Temps (David Templeton) coming back from injury it has put me on the backburner a bit.

"They have been doing brilliantly so all credit to them.

"The gaffer has given me my chance this season so hopefully I can keep coming on or starting games and impressing him."

With a 17-point advantage at the top of the Third Division, it is a matter of when, not if, McCoist's side clinch the title and are able to tuck the silverware away in the Ibrox trophy cabinet.

The championship may already be well within Rangers' grasp but Aird is determined to keep turning on the style.

He said: "We have to keep our foot on the pedal and keep winning games and putting on a show for the fans.

"They are coming out in huge numbers and supporting us so we owe it to them.

"Hopefully we will go on and win the league because that is our main objective.

"You can't drop your game at all. We have to keep going.

"We are here to play football and win matches and that is all we want to do."

retail

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