Wallace breathes life into fresh Aird after muggy season start

FRASER Aird today paid a glowing tribute to Rangers vice-captain Lee Wallace for helping to establish him in the Ibrox top team.

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Fraser Aird has now not missed a Rangers game since before their Airdrie win on November 9
Fraser Aird has now not missed a Rangers game since before their Airdrie win on November 9

Aird has defied many people's expectations - including his own - to become an integral member of Ally McCoist's side this season.

A lot of Gers fans felt the teenage winger would struggle to feature when McCoist signed nine new players last summer.

Experienced professionals like Jon Daly, Richard Foster, Nicky Law and Arnold Peralta were all brought in to the Light Blues on free transfers.

But the Toronto-born flyer has, after being involved sporadically in the first half of the 2013/14 campaign, flourished.

Indeed, the 19-year-old has played in every game for the Govan club since the 2-0 win over Airdrie way back on November 9.

And the life-long Rangers supporters has netted no fewer than five goals for his boyhood heroes during that run.

Aird knows he could not have enjoyed such success without the assistance of the coaching staff and his team-mates.

And he has revealed how left-back Wallace has been a particular help to him, both on and off the field, this term and last.

The Scotland international looks after an amateur team, Heriot Vale, in his native Edinburgh during the week.

The former Hearts man is currently taking his Uefa B Licence and is interested in getting involved in amanagement when he retires from playing.

Aird predicted the 26-year-old has a long career ahead of him in that area once he hangs up his boots.

He said: "I have played in front of Lee in the last couple of seasons and he has taught me a great deal about the game.

"Obviously Lee has played for Scotland, has played many games in the top flight and many games for Rangers. He knows a lot about football and I can only learn from him.

"Lee is a very good coach and will teach you a lot of things.

"That is what he is there for. He is always there to give the young boys encouragement.

"Whenever I am doing something wrong, on the park or in training, he always pulls me aside and tells me. It is good to have someone in the team like that.

"It is always good for a young lad like me to have someone like Lee playing behind me in the team.

"He has been a massive help to me since I broke into the first team.

"Lee takes all of the stuff he learns here and teaches all of the boys that he coaches through in Edinburgh.

"I have no doubt he will do well when he goes into coaching."

Wallace is sidelined at the moment with a hip injury that meant he was not involved in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Dundee United.

But the defender was last week named, alongside four of his fellow Rangers players, in the PFA Scotland League One Team of the Year.

And he has also been shortlisted for the League One Player of the Year award with Gers team-mates Jon Daly and Nicky Law and Michael Moffat of Ayr.

Aird was delighted at the recognition that all of the players who have helped the Glasgow club storm to the third-tier title this campaign have received.

However, he believes that Wallace deserves to be handed the gong as a result of his incredible consistency for McCoist's side during the last eight months in League One.

He said: "Lee is a brilliant guy and if he does get Player of the Year then I will obviously be really happy for him.

"It is hard to single one of our guys out for the Player of the Year award because all of the boys have done brilliantly this season.

"Jon has been scoring goals, Nicky has been contributing from midfield and has scored over 10 goals this season too.

"But I think Lee has been our best player both this year and last year.

"I have to say I think I would give it to Lee because he has been so consistent.

"We were unfortunate to miss him against United because he would have been a big part of our team.

"He has been a big part of our team for the last few years to be honest.

"I would have to give it to Lee. He is consistent in every single game and has taught me a lot."

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