APART from the transfer-seeking player himself, the person most exasperated by Hibernian actually meaning what they say when they insist they will not sell Scott Allan to Rangers must be the Ibrox club’s summer signing Andy Halliday. The 23-year-old midfielder presents the 23-year-old midfielder as the twin he never had.
The pair were born five weeks apart. They lived five minutes apart growing up – close to the home of their beloved Rangers – and went through every stage of development together until football sent them down different paths. Now, next year if not this one, it looks as if they could be reunited.
The affable Halliday can’t help but admit that, with the bonds which bind him to Allan, he just wishes there was some way the bonds that tie his soulmate to Hibs could be broken right now. Frankly, though, that isn’t going to happen, Hibs this week having rejected a third bid from Rangers, believed to be in the region £280,000, while the Leith club’s manager Alan Stubbs stated a sum even three times that figure would not alter their stance over Allan staying put.
“I’ve tried to keep my mouth shut and stay away from it as much as I can but, at the end of the day, I grew up with Scott all my life,” said Halliday. “He’s obviously my best pal. We go back to the families being friends and nursery, primary school together at Cardonald. We are both Rangers fans so we’ve both dreamed of being football players here. Luckily enough I’ve managed to do it and hopefully if it all works out the way I want it to then hopefully he will join me here.
“First and foremost, though, the reason I’d like him to sign for Rangers is that I know he’d add quality to the squad. It’s fair enough the way that Hibs have taken a stand. But I will just sit back and let the clubs decide. From a selfish point of view, I would love for Scott to be here.
“He’s a Hibs player so I can’t say much about it. I have had texts about the situation, but not really texts from him, but other pals. He’s not saying so much himself. He’s a mature boy now, getting his head down in training every day and working hard and concentrating on his next games with Hibs.
“You see in the news about the written transfer request and what not. Obviously I leave that up to him, I’m sure he knows what’s best for him and his career and, now he’s a dad, what’s best for his family.”
Halliday has enjoyed many experiences with his virtual extended family member Allan but joining up at Ibrox for the Mark Warburton makeover of the Rangers side made for a new one a fortnight ago. Until the 6-2 thumping the Ibrox men then inflicted on Stubbs’ side in the Petrofac Training Cup at Easter Road, former Livingston, Middlesbrough and Bradford midfielder Halliday, who also had loan spells with Walsall and Blackpool, had never crossed paths with former Dundee United, and West Bromich Albion performer Allan, who also had loan spells with Forfar, Portsmouth, Milton Keynes Dons and Birmingham.
“It was strange facing him,” said Halliday, who was on the opposing side from his friend for only half an hour, with Allan only appearing from the bench late on as a result of all the wrangling over his future. “As good pals as we are, we’re professionals so you just get on with it during the game really. Before that we’ve only played against each other in youths, with Livingston, Dundee United. [When I went up to him at the end] I just wished him all the best.”
Even after making it three comprehensive wins from three outings with Friday night’s 3-1 victory at home to St Mirren in the Championship curtain raiser, Warburton has stated the best is very much still to come from his reconstructed Rangers side. Yet, a good bond seems to be detectable among the raft of recent signings, and winning together has flowed from working together, not drinking together – as once was believed the Rangers way to develop team morale. “At Rangers I don’t think you can get away with many nights out in Glasgow, to be honest,” Halliday said. “It’s just the fact that everyone has bought into what the gaffer wants to do. That and it being so enjoyable has made it easy.
“A big part of the game is team spirit and community. It’s something that, quite surprisingly, has come very quickly. I think that’s good to see. We’ve seen from the games so far that it’s going quite well. We haven’t done anything yet and I’m sure that will get stronger. Football has changed in terms of the amount of games played in the season, the athletic demands of full-time football. That’s a lot different.”