Rangers have rewarded Jason Holt and Andy Halliday with new four-and-a-half year deals just six months after checking into Ibrox.
The midfield duo have played key roles for Mark Warburton as his side have taken charge of the Ladbrokes Championship title race. Now the pair, who were both originally signed after impressing during pre-season trials, have been repaid with contracts which tie them to the club until the summer of 2020.
Halliday was a boyhood Rangers supporter who grew up just yards from Ibrox and later joined the club’s youth ranks. He was left distraught, though, when released by his heroes aged 15.
However, after stints with Livingston, Middlesbrough and Bradford, the 24-year-old won a return to the club when Warburton handed him a two-year deal, with the option of a third, in the summer.
Halliday has so far missed just one game, netting five times.
Former Hearts youngster Holt was handed a three-year contract by Warburton after he also made the most of his pre-season audition following a loan spell at Sheffield United in the second half of last season.
The 22-year-old has featured in 25 games already this season, bagging nine goals from midfield – including a double in last month’s top-of-the-table showdown with Hibs.
Rangers manager Warburton said: “We’ve been delighted with them and I think it’s right that the club recognises that and responds.
“They are young players who have come in and have been challenged with handling the weight of expectation and they have dealt with that and delivered.
“You just need to look at Jason in terms of his goals and Andy and in terms of his positioning. If we can have a process in place which allows us to move swiftly when we have to, then I think it’s good for everyone concerned.
“They fully deserve their new contracts and now their jobs are to deliver the performances to merit their next contract.”
Halliday said: “I’m delighted to sign the deal, Mark and Davie Weir pulled me in to give me the nod that I was getting a new contract and I was thrilled.
“There have been that many good moments since I signed, there haven’t been many downs. This is the happiest I have been and most I have enjoyed football in my career.
“People saw it as a big risk to turn down a contract elsewhere to come on trial at Rangers but I’m thankful that I’m reaping the benefits now.
“People have asked me where I see myself in five years’ time and the answer has always been still at Rangers and trying to get us back to where we belong. So it’s good that I have committed myself to 2020 at least. As a club it is important we get back to where we belong, in the Premiership, challenging for titles and back in European competitions.
“I think we can be back in Europe within the next four years, we are a club with a certain stature and the demands we set on ourselves won’t change next year and for the years to come. I think it’s within the capabilities of this group of players to be at that level, we have strengthened in January and we’ll add again in the summer.”
Rangers are also hopeful winger Barrie McKay will also sign an extension in the coming days.