Billy King hopes to be at heart of action as Rangers clinch title

Billy King expects to return to Hearts in the summer. Picture: Michael Gillen

Billy King expects to return to Hearts in the summer. Picture: Michael Gillen

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Billy King celebrated winning the Championship with his Hearts team-mates last season while watching Rangers on television.

This year, he hopes to be firmly at the heart of the action on the pitch for the Ibrox club as they look to emulate his parent club in wrapping up the second tier title with plenty to spare.

They will definitely be inside the top three or four. Obviously the manager will be looking to strengthen as well, so you never know who is going to go out and come in this summer.

Billy King

Hearts’ success 12 months ago was secured when they were in their living rooms, a 2-0 win for Rangers against Hibs at Easter Road confirming Robbie Neilson’s squad as champions with seven games of the campaign remaining.

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Rangers can cross the finishing line with five games still to play if they defeat Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park today and Hibs drop any points against St Mirren in Paisley.

Regardless of Hibs’ result, Rangers know they will not have to wait long for their next opportunity to clinch the title as they welcome Dumbarton to Ibrox on Tuesday night.

“Personally, I’m not really too bothered when we clinch the title, just as long as we win it,” said on-loan winger King. “It was the same last season.

“I remember all the Hearts boys were watching the Hibs-Rangers game on TV and when Lee Wallace scored the first goal which effectively sealed it for us, we were all going mental. That was good.

“It was at about the same time as this last year, but just before an international break. A few of our lads had been called up to the under-21s, so couldn’t go out to celebrate. But I got a late call-up from Scotland, so I was able to go out and celebrate and then join the squad! I got the best of both worlds.

“It would be really good to win it at Ibrox on Tuesday night, that would be special in front of a big home support. But first and foremost we need to concentrate on Raith.

“We would expect Hibs to win on Saturday. If that happens, we will need to take it on to Tuesday.”

King was a key figure in the Hearts team which romped to automatic promotion at the first attempt 12 months ago, making 31 appearances and scoring eight goals.

“It was a great achievement to win it with Hearts in the way we did, especially with both Rangers and Hibs also in the division,” he added.

“It would be brilliant for me to do it again with Rangers. I’ve not played as big a part as I did last season, but it’s still a good achievement.” King has made seven appearances for Rangers, scoring once, since joining them on loan in January after failing to hold down a regular starting slot at Hearts in the Premiership. He is scheduled to return to Hearts in the summer, with his contract there running until 2017, and he will seek assurances from Neilson that he will not be a fringe player again.

“In the first half of this season at Hearts, I was mostly on the bench and coming on,” said King. “I think I deserve more of a chance. Next season, I don’t want it to be the same as this season. I want to play more games.

“We will see what happens in pre-season and find out where I stand. I’ll have a chat with Robbie. As far as I knew, I was always going back, but I’ve not actually spoken to Robbie yet. I think all that will be sorted out at the end of the season.

“Right now I’m just concentrating on Rangers and getting to the end of the season and trying to win the league. So I’m not really thinking about too far into the future.

“But a lot can happen in the summer – it depends what style of play he wants to play, who’s coming in, who’s going out...so we’ll see what happens.” King has also had no indication so far from Rangers manager Mark Warburton that he may try to sign him on a permanent basis.

“Nothing has been said [by Rangers] yet,” added King. “I’m just taking it day by day, concentrating on doing my best for Rangers until the end of the season.

“My main aim was to help Rangers win the league and it’s looking more likely now.

“I’m not looking too far ahead. When the times comes, I will have that conversation.”

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