Michael O’Halloran ready to hit top gear for Rangers

Michael OHalloran is eager to meet the challenge of the Rangers fans level of expectancy. Picture: SNS.

Michael OHalloran is eager to meet the challenge of the Rangers fans level of expectancy. Picture: SNS.

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By his own admission, Michael O’Halloran found it difficult to hit the ground running when he joined Rangers midway through last season.

After completing what felt was an interminable transfer saga with his £500,000 move from St Johnstone on winter transfer deadline day, the 25-year-old forward scored just three goals in 13 appearances for his new club.

In mitigation for O’Halloran, being cup-tied on his arrival did not help him find any momentum as he looked to make an impact in manager Mark Warburton’s side.

But he now feels he is ready to fire on all cylinders again as Rangers confront the challenge of life back in the top flight of Scottish football.

“It’s like any new job you go into, I suppose. It takes time to settle in,” reflected O’Halloran. “You have to see how they want to play, adjust to different styles, so that was a big aspect of the change for me.

“I feel I’m getting more to grips with it now that I’ve settled in after a good six 
months.You also have to get to know different players and how they play. They have to get used to you as well. But I feel a big part of it now.

“The training is highly competitive. We train the way we play. The manager drills that into us, so we give 100 per cent in everything we do and as you can imagine, some of the boys in there drive you on. It’s really enjoyable.

“Everybody wants to play every week and I’m no different. That’s why you come into training every day, to work hard and when I get a chance on a Saturday I try to prove to the manager that I should be in the team. But that’s all the boys’ aim.

“We understand there’s a bigger squad now and the manager might rotate it for different reasons and for different games. Sometimes you’ve got to understand that as a player.”

One thing O’Halloran fully understands is the relentless expectancy placed upon Rangers by their supporters to deliver success on a 
weekly basis.

The reaction to last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Hamilton in their Premiership opener was described as an “eye-opener” even by a player as experienced as Clint Hill.

But O’Halloran expects the veteran defender and the rest of Rangers’ close-season recruits to embrace the challenge that poses.

“You have to thrive on that sort of thing if you are a footballer,” he added. “Being a Glasgow boy, I know what’s expected.

“The fans demand that you win every game here and that expectancy is a good thing to go out with.

“You need to go out with the attitude that you are going to win every game. It makes you a better player. The new boys will find that out very quickly as well.

“If the fans are not happy, they let you know, but I have to say that last Saturday they were fantastic.

“ Even when we went a goal down, they brought us back up and really were like a 12th man. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get that winner but we move on again and look forward to 
Saturday.”

Tomorrow’s trip to face Dundee at Dens Park has a bit of added spice for O’Halloran as a former St Johnstone player.

“There’s a little bit of Tayside rivalry there which I always enjoyed,” he said. “Dens is a ground where I’ve always enjoyed playing. The fans are right on top of you and it can be a bit hostile. It’s a good 
atmosphere.

“Dundee are a good side with good players and they’ll make it difficult for us. We’ve been working on a few things this week, how to defend certain things differently and how we can maybe break teams down a bit better. Our fans expect us to win and we’re going out to do that.”

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