FORMER Scotland internationalist Robbie Neilson is set to be handed an immediate East Fife debut against Rangers at Ibrox today after signing for the League One outfit.
The experienced former Hearts, Dundee United and Leicester City right-back has joined fellow international and recent recruit Gary Naysmith at New Bayview. The 33-year-old had been training with Dumbarton after being released by Falkirk during the summer.
East Fife manager Willie Aitchison, who was a coach at Tynecastle when Neilson plied his trade at Hearts, said: “Robbie Neilson has come in to get involved with the club. Robbie is another ex-Scotland international and he’ll be out on the pitch against Rangers. He is fully fit and ready to go. He has been training with us and we’re looking forward to seeing what we can get out of Robbie.”
Having started the season with four successive defeats, East Fife got their first points on the board with a home win over Arbroath last weekend.
Speaking ahead of the trip to Govan, Aitchison added: “The pressure will be on the players to perform regardless of whether it’s Rangers or any other club in this division. We are not treating Rangers any different or preparing any different.”
Meanwhile, manager Ally McCoist insists Rangers fans deserve to see top quality as he seeks to strengthen his squad further.
A transfer embargo is set to end at midnight tonight after which point the Ibrox club can register the eight free agents who have committed to join them so far.
Ibrox chief executive Craig Mather was quoted in a newspaper article stating that cost-cutting will continue at Rangers, while stressing some costs have already been reduced. But McCoist says he has not been informed that his squad will be impacted by any cuts.
He said: “I speak to Craig on a regular basis but, as yet, I haven’t been told that will impact on my squad. The wages have come down dramatically in the last two years. People will argue it is still high for where we are but I feel that 36,000 season ticket holders deserve to see the best football we can give them. It’s my job to get the best team out on the park that I possibly can within a sensible budget.”
McCoist hopes to sign veteran goalkeeper Steve Simonsen if a loan move for reserve keeper Scott Gallacher can be arranged.