JON DALY has dismissed suggestions he has taken a backward step by committing himself to third-tier Scottish football in the season ahead, insisting his move to Rangers can provide him with the most successful period of his career.
The former Dundee United captain, who has signed a two-year contract with Rangers, is convinced he can help the Ibrox club to cup glory as well as helping them on their quest to return to the top flight in the shortest time possible.
“If people question my ambition, that’s their opinion,” said Daly. “People keep telling me it is a drop in standard playing in the Second Division, but I never gave it that much thought when Rangers came in for me.
“A club like Rangers doesn’t come calling too often and when they did, I couldn’t really turn it down. I might never had had a chance to play for a club like this again, so the level they are at just now wasn’t an issue for me and wasn’t something I really worried about.
“I’m certainly not questioning my own ambition. I am here to try to win medals and to try to get a big club like Rangers back to where they belong in Scottish football.
“The league is your bread and butter and we want to win that and get promoted again as quickly as possible. But the cup competitions are important too and you always set your targets to go as far as you can in them. It will be no different here and we will be looking to try to reach cup finals and win them. That’s something I experienced at Dundee United and I’d love to experience it again with Rangers.”
Daly was part of the United side which ended Rangers’ Scottish Cup hopes last season, inflicting a 3-0 defeat on Ally McCoist’s side at Tannadice. Despite the apparent gulf in class that afternoon, though. Daly insists Rangers can compete with the top-flight clubs.
“We got a fantastic start to the game that day,” he added. “No matter who you are playing, if you concede a goal after 15 seconds it is going to knock you for six. You could see it shook them up a bit, but they handled it quite well and came back into the game. We then did them at a set piece to make it 2-0, but I didn’t think there was an awful lot in the game.
“When you look back at a 3-0 win, you obviously think there was a big gap between the teams but I didn’t think at the time that there was. The new players who have come in will add to that squad and make it stronger.”
Daly was speaking as he promoted season ticket renewals at Ibrox and the 30-year-old Irish striker revealed he has been motivated by the welcome he has received at the club.
“All of the reaction I’ve had has been positive,” said Daly. “It makes me want to go out and play even more. Even back home in Dublin, I’ve had positive words from people, wishing me well. So I’m just looking forward to getting going now.
“I was six and a half years at Dundee United, so it has been a while since I changed clubs. You get a few butterflies when you go in and meet new team-mates but it is something I am looking forward to doing.”
The versatile Daly can also play in central defence but has been informed by Ally McCoist he will be primarily used as a striker by Rangers where he is poised to form a partnership with fellow newcomer Nicky Clark.
He is eager to work alongside the youngster who netted 41 times for Queen of the South last season.
“I’ve not met Nicky yet but I am looking forward to that and looking forward to playing with all the boys.”