ANDY Halliday can become an important player for Rangers in the second half of the season as they bid to secure second spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership – but not if he is played as a holding midfielder.

That was the message from former Rangers player Bob Malcolm today as he welcomed the news that Halliday would be returning to Ibrox following a loan spell at Azerbaijan club Gabala.

Malcolm worked with him during his spell as assistant manager to Barry Ferguson at English Championship club Blackpool in the 2013/14 campaign and remembers him being an outstanding talent.

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The 26-year-old ensured the troubled Seasiders avoided relegation to League One on the final day of the season before returning to his parent club Middlesbrough.

However, Malcolm believes he was wasted playing as a sitting midfielder – where both Mark Warburton and Pedro Caixinha selected him - and is hopeful Graeme Murty gives him an extended run in a more advanced role.

“Andy coming back to Rangers can only be a good thing,” he said. “He had a couple of good seasons at Rangers before going out on loan and has a lot to offer them. Even if he doesn’t play regularly it will be good just having him in the dressing room.

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“But he played as a sitting midfielder under Mark Warburton and Pedro Caixinha and I don’t think he’s a sitting midfielder. We had him at Blackpool and he played wide of three forward midfielders and he also played left back well.

“He was good getting forward and getting crosses into the box. He has been asked to play out of position as a holding midfielder since he came back to Glasgow and he has done that well. But he has probably suffered as a result of that. Hopefully he will get a chance in a different position under the new manager.”

Malcolm, who won two Premiership titles, one Scottish Cup and one League Cup during his time playing for his boyhood heroes, believes having more Rangers supporters in the squad will be hugely beneficial for Murty too.

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“It definitely helps,” he said. “I’m not saying the foreign players don’t care, but they don’t have to live with things if results aren’t what they should be the way that home-based players who are fans do.

“They don’t have to live with the consequences when they go home the way the guys who are supporters do. They don’t have to face their families, they don’t take pelters when they walk down the street to go to the shops, don’t get stick off people they grew up with.

“It’s different when you have grown up as a fan. You take things to heart more. If things haven’t been good enough and the supporters are unhappy then you are definitely the ones who relay that to the dressing room.”