Simonsen brushes aside United error and is ready to grab his Rangers chance

STEVE SIMONSEN is confident Rangers' strength in depth will stand them in good stead as they bid for a third straight promotion this season.

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Nadir Ciftci goes round Rangers' Steve Simonsen, after an error by the keeper, to score during Dundee United's 3-1 Scottish Cup semi-final win last season at Ibrox
Nadir Ciftci goes round Rangers' Steve Simonsen, after an error by the keeper, to score during Dundee United's 3-1 Scottish Cup semi-final win last season at Ibrox

The keeper became Ally McCoist's fourth signing of the summer last week when he agreed a 12-month deal and was followed into Ibrox just hours later by defender Marius Zaliukas as he signed on for the next two years.

It looked like Simonsen had played his last game for the Light Blues after leaving the club when his contract expired at the end of the League One campaign.

But, after appearing in a bounce game win over English Championship side Fulham last week, he has been snapped up by boss McCoist to provide competition to Ibrox No.1 Cammy Bell once again in the coming months.

McCoist has also bolstered his ranks with the capture of St Mirren defender Darren McGregor and rekindled the prolific strike partnership of Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller as the Gers get set for the big kick-off.

The step up into Scotland's second tier will present the toughest stage of The Journey for Rangers, but veteran shot-stopper Simonsen is confident the Light Blues can triumph in a division that will also include Captal clubs Hearts and Hibernian this term.

He said: "It's going to be a very tough league this season. We played three of the sides (Queen of the South, Falkirk and Raith Rovers) we will face last year in cup competitions and they gave us tough games.

"We know what it's going to be like. Two teams came down from the Premiership last season and they are both going to be very strong as well.

"But we are very strong ourselves and we feel very confident we can go and do what we need to. We've a good squad of players with good additions to it.

"When you see the likes of Kenny Miller and Kris Boyd come in that only helps. We are strong in all departments and we'll be very well prepared to go ahead and do well."

While the likes of McGregor, Boyd and Miller are likely to play starring roles for Rangers in the coming months, Simonsen may find match action difficult to come by once again next time out.

The 35-year-old played second fiddle to Bell for most of the campaign and made just two appearances, impressing in a League One clash with Forfar before enduring an afternoon to forget against Dundee United in the Scottish Cup.

It is his howler against the Arabs rather than a superb stop at Station Park that his first season in Light Blue will be remembered for, but he is determined to have more positive recollections this time around after clinching his return to the club.

"It was difficult last season because I didn't get much game time, but in one of my games there was a highlight and in another there was a real lowlight," he told rangers.co.uk

SIMONSEN added: "These things happen in football, but I'm old enough and experienced enough to brush these things aside and I take the good with the bad.

"It's simply nice to be back here again. Last year I thought I was going to be here for a season and that was it.

"If I could remain here long than that I thought that would be fantastic and I'm really pleased to be back and to have a further chance with the club."

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