iT was perhaps inevitable that new Rangers goalkeeper Maciej Gostomski would find his way to Scotland given his family history and now he wants to make a similar impact to the one made by a fellow countryman on the other side of Glasgow, writes Lindsay Herron.
Interestingly, the uncle of his father left Poland for these shores just after the conclusion of the Second World War and Gostomski is now looking to connect with the descendants.
He briefly met his second cousin David 17 years ago and he would love to get to know all of his Scottish relatives. However, the main objective for the 6ft 5ins keeper is to take the gloves from Wes Foderingham and become a hero to the Rangers supporters in the same way that Artur Boruc did at Celtic.
He may have to bide his time, however, as Foderingham will keep his place for today’s Scottish Cup tie against League One Cowdenbeath.
Gostomski, brought up near Gdansk in the town of Kartuzy, said: “I have some family in Dundee. After the Second World War, my father’s uncle left Poland and moved to Scotland.
“He made his own family and after some years I met him. My cousin David is my age and he played football in Dundee.
“When we met we were only ten so it was a long time ago. They know I’m here so we’ll probably meet each other soon. Dundee isn’t so far away.
“My uncle is dead so the contact was broken. But I need to meet the relatives again because my cousin is a good guy. Hopefully I can get a number and I’ll call him.”
Gostomski, who quit the game at 22 to work for a spell as a fisherman in his father’s business, has joined until the end of the season from Lech Poznan where had been No1 for two years but lost his place in this campaign.
He followed the career of Boruc – and other Polish players in Scotland – and he would love to emulate the success of the Holy Goalie who courted controversy at times before earning his move to cash-rich English football.
Gostomski said: “I haven’t watched too much Scottish football on TV. Sometimes I’d watch Celtic games because Artur Boruc was playing for them.
“There have been many Polish goalkeepers playing in Scotland so I would see highlights of some games.
“I wouldn’t say Artur is a friend but we’ve seen each other a few times and I know him.
“Boruc was a big hero in Glasgow to the Celtic fans. I hope I can be the same to Rangers’ fans.
“We are similar. My agent helped Artur when he was in Scotland. Artur was also here for half a year and was really good so he signed for another five years and I would love to do the same.”
Former Dundee United defender Barry Douglas, a Poznan team mate, sold him on moving to Rangers but he has been pleasantly surprised by what he has encountered.
He added: “It’s true that I spoke to Barry before deciding to come here. I knew Rangers were a big club.
“But it’s only when you arrive you realise just how big it is. It’s everything – the fans, the training ground, Ibrox stadium, it’s so good.
“Barry told me everything is different here and he was right. I haven’t been to Ibrox yet but I’ll see it on Sunday.”
Despite their Championship status, Rangers, who are hoping to sign defensive midfielder Toumani Diagouraga from Mark Warburton’s former club Brentford, are third favourites to lift the Scottish Cup.
Warburton believes it is possible and other than the immeasurable kudos it would bring him, the tangible knock-on effect would be a return to European competition which he feels would be so beneficial for his younger players in particular.
He said: “It’s a fantastic competition and we want to win it. Every team that goes into it, says that. That’s not saying that we will win the cup, that’s just saying we are good team, we are in good form and whoever we draw we think we will give them a very good game.
“We don’t look at the odds. We have just got to make sure we are well prepared and if we deliver the level of performance we are capable of we will be a match for most teams.
“If we play like we can, dominate the football and take our chances in the fine margins then I think we are a good match for any team.
“We talk about the young players making the transition from academy football to first-team football, getting the quality of challenge, then European football would be perfect for us. We would be ready for it.
“We have to recruit well in the summer, we are working hard now on January but at the moment, already the summer work, targets we would like to get now but can’t get until May, June, July are being highlighted and pursued.
“The work carries on and it will place demands on our recruitment and everyone at the club but we would relish that.”
With the arrival of Gostomski, Cammy Bell looks to have fallen further down the Ibrox pecking order while Liam Kelly has been loaned to East Fife, but Warburton says it is up to the former Kilmarnock keeper to fight his way back. He said: “Cammy is a pro, a Rangers player, he’s got to get his head down and be the best he can be. The best guys get the shirt.”