Rangers striker aiming to be Clark of the course

RANGERS fans far and wide rejoiced when the Ibrox club re-signed both Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller during the summer.

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Nicky Clark's future at Rangers depends on his impact in the Championship
Nicky Clark's future at Rangers depends on his impact in the Championship

Boyd and Miller had formed the most lethal forward line for the Gers since the glory days of Ally McCoist and Mark Hateley back in the 1990s.

And despite the pair's advancing years - they are 30 and 34 respectively - their capture was widely seen as positive development.

Having the prolific marksmen at their disposal would, most supporters agreed, increase their chances of winning the SPFL Championship and completing "The Journey".

But there were two men connected with the Glasgow giants who could have been forgiven for feeling a slight pang of disappointment when Boyd and Miller were unveiled.

Nicky Clark and Jon Daly, when fit, were the preferred choice in attack for the Gers during an undefeated run to the League One title in the 2013/14 campaign.

Yet, the chances of them being given the nod to start by manager McCoist with such experienced and feted players in the squad are minimal.

Clark spoke enthusiastically about the arrival of both Boyd and Miller when he helped to promote the new Rangers third kit last month.

"I think Kenny will do great for me," the 23-year-old said. "He's played at the highest level, has played in the Premier League in England and has loads of international caps.

"He can only progress my career and help me a lot - show me things I don't know and also show me how to do things properly.

"I think he'll be only good for me. I will definitely be speaking to him a lot."

It is a fair point. The professionalism, work-rate and can-do approach of Miller will only rub off on Clark.

But will the former Queen of the South man make as many first-team appearances in the months ahead as he did last term? It is highly doubtful.

He will have to take advantage of the game time that he is given, whether it is from the start or as a substitute, and prove he has what it takes to be a Rangers player.

It is not going too far to suggest that his very future at Rangers depends on him making a far greater impression than he has to date.

The winning goal he netted in the 2-1 victory over the Victoria Highlanders on the summer tour of Canada and the United States on Tuesday, then, was important for him.

Clark will have to show that ruthless edge far more frequently than he did in his debut campaign when he only found the target on nine occasions.

The former Aberdeen kid showed occasional gimpses of why McCoist signed him on a free transfer.

His last-gasp winner in the thrilling 4-3 triumph over Brechin at Glebe Park in October, for example, was massive for the Light Blues.

As were the four goals which he banged in during the 6-1 league triumph over Forfar at Ibrox in December.

Clark, who finished 2012/13 season as the leading scorer in Britain as Queens won the Second Division and Challenge Cup double, also proved himself to be a good team player.

When things were not going his way in front of goal, as was often the case, he rolled up his sleeves and grafted hard to help his side get the result they were after.

There is no doubt that top scorer Daly would not have plundered so many goals himself had it not been for the contribution of his team-mate.

A long and punishing campaign kicks off on Tuesday week and games in the Challenge Cup, the Championship, the League Cup and the Scottish Cup await.

Boyd and Miller will not be able to be involved in all of them. Clark and Daly will definitely feature.

But the former will have to prove his worth whenever he does so if he is to fulfil his potential and establish himself as a Rangers first-team star.

Football

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