He MAY be just 17 but, judging by the way he handled the gnarled veterans of the Scottish media at Murray Park, Rangers’ starlet Fraser Aird has an old head on his young shoulders.
The Canadian-born winger will have extra support from a most welcome source should he, as expected, get the chance to display his burgeoning talents against Clyde today.
“My dad Bill is flying over for the first time tomorrow,” said the articulate Aird.
“He is here for a week so he’ll take in the three games.
“It will be really emotional to have him here because so far he has only ever seen me playing on TV.
“My dad is a huge Rangers fan and I know how proud he is of me.
“Hopefully, I can be on the bench or at least in the squad for the weekend. I know how much it will mean to my dad to see me play for Rangers.”
Aird called Rangers’ away league record a “hump on our back” and added: “I accept that, for most of these teams, it’s like a cup final when they play us but we need to adapt to that. This time last year I was only playing in front of 1,000 fans so it shouldn’t be that different. We need to get used to playing in front of smaller crowds away from home. It’s nice to play in front of 50,000 but it won’t happen every week and we need to accept that.”
Aird also had some mature words for his young colleagues: “The fans want to see Rangers back in the top league and, as players, that’s where we want to be. We will have to manage those expectations and it’s a lot of responsibility for the young boys but I honestly believe there could be no better learning curve.”
Aird is not dewy-eyed about all aspects of the Third Division game.
He added: “It’s an experience playing against the older pros. I think they look at me as some young boy trying to do wonders on the ball.
“They try to boot me up in the air as quickly as they can just to bring me back to earth.”
Ibrox manager Ally McCoist says Rangers must develop their youth “like the Ajax or Porto model” and is full of encouragement for Aird and Co.
McCoist said: “I said at the start of the season that, if ever there was a good time for a youngster to be on the books at Rangers, it is absolutely now because if they are good enough they will get a chance. The future of the club in many ways is in the hands of Airdy, Lewis Macleod, Barrie McKay and all these boys.”