Kyle Lafferty would jump at the chance of a move back to Rangers but fears the Ibrox fans wouldn’t want him.
Lafferty returned yesterday to Belfast with his Northern Ireland team-mates following their elimination from Euro 2016. They were given a heroes’ reception after Michael O’Neill’s team reached the last 16.
But this is far removed from how the striker believes he would be received at Ibrox. Lafferty is convinced the manner of his departure from Rangers, when he decided against transferring his contract to the newco at the height of the club’s financial problems, means he won’t be welcomed back.
Lafferty has all but called quits on his time at Norwich City after featuring so rarely under Alex Neil. Even though the Carrow Road side have now been relegated to the Championship, he doesn’t imagine that his situation will change.
“I’m going on my honeymoon, my phone is going off for two or three weeks,” he said yesterday.
“I’m just going to enjoy myself for a while and lie on the beach with my new wife. It’s obviously going to be hard watching the rest of the tournament, but I’ll see what comes up for me.
“I’ll speak to my agent once every day to see what’s happening because I’ll probably be looking to move on. I haven’t been given a chance at Norwich, so I think my time is finished there.”
Lafferty, whose new wife Vanessa is from East Kilbride, is keen to return to Rangers, the club he supported growing up in Northern Ireland. But he appreciates his reputation has been clouded by his decision to quit the club four years ago.
“If that door was open, I’d love to,” he said. “But I regret what I did with Rangers and I don’t think the fans would have me back if they had their say.
“I’m always going to be a Rangers fans and I’ll always look out for their results. But if I thought the fans would have me back, then I’d always have that door open. Hopefully, one day – even if I’m not pulling on a Rangers jersey – that they’ll welcome me back as a supporter. I have my fingers crossed for that.”
Lafferty admits that knowing what he knows now, he wouldn’t have left the club as they began their ascent through the leagues. He also regrets pretending Charlie Mulgrew had headbutted him in a clash against Aberdeen. This led to referee Stuart Dougal red-carding Mulgrew. The incident simply marked Lafferty out as a troublemaker.
“I regret leaving,” he said. “I have travelled and I have played for some amazing clubs along the way. In Italy and at Sion, I enjoyed my time.
“I’ve been around the world and it’s an experience I’ve enjoyed. But there’s no feeling like pulling on a Rangers jersey and playing in front of those fans every week.
“The standout one is the Charlie Mulgrew incident,” he added. “That disappointed myself and it disappointed the club.
“But I think I’m always going to be remembered for being the daft guy who had a chance at Rangers and never took it.
“That’s why if the opportunity came up again I’d jump at it. I’ve matured and I’m a lot older. I think I’d look at things a different way – so we’ll see what happens.”