If NOTHING else, Ian Durrant is a survivor. In the days when medical science was not nearly so advanced, the Rangers midfielder sustained a career-threatening cruciate ligament injury in a match against Aberdeen in 1988 but returned in 1991 to win another eight major honours at Ibrox and revive his international career.
He and goalkeeping coach Jim Stewart are now the last two men standing from the backroom staff who served under Walter Smith, Ally McCoist and Stuart McCall and are now working with Mark Warburton.
Ally will come out a stronger person for what happened over the three yearsIan Durrant
Durrant experienced dark days during his rehabilitation in the 1980s but they were matched by the developments at Rangers since 2012, when the club descended first into administration and then liquidation before a new club emerged, run by people whose motives were, to say the least, dubious.
The current regime must still clear considerable financial hurdles before supporters can exhale with confidence but then men in charge in the Blue Room can count on the backing of Durrant, who was treated shabbily by the previous incumbents.
He was demoted from first-team coach and ordered to work with the development squad, but it was very much a case of second-hand news.
“I was disappointed at the time by the manner of how it happened,” he said. “For what I’d given the club, I’d have thought they could have taken five minutes to come and tell me I was being demoted, rather than getting a telephone call telling me that I was going to be doing this.
“You could say it was a lack of respect. The way it was done… Kenny McDowall was told by certain board members that I was to be demoted and he phoned me.
“Someone from the club should have told me face to face. If they were going to do it the Rangers way, it wouldn’t have taken much. That was a boot in the balls, but you get on with it, don’t you?”
Durrant compares his treatment with the case of former manager Ally McCoist, who was put on gardening leave at the same time by the former directors but who reached an agreement with new chairman Dave King which resolved the situation last week.
“That will be down to Ally. I haven’t had the chance to talk to him yet. I read that when he spoke to Mr King last week, it was all done in a minute,” he said. “That’s two proper men coming together to come to an agreement.
“It shows that this is the proper Rangers way. I’d be delighted if Ally came back [to watch a match]. I’m his best friend but it will be purely down to him when he thinks the time is right.
“I hope people recognise what he had to put up with. A lot of the stuff you hear is annoying, but Ally will come out a stronger person for what happened over the three years. He’s a big boy and can handle it. What lies ahead for him, only Ally knows, but he’ll come up with something.
“The stuff that will be tainted will be the last six months because the team as a group failed to get promotion. That wee bit will be remembered more than anything else but you can’t take away what he did for the club.”
Like the club’s support, Durrant has been reinvigorated by the change in ownership and he seems happier than he has been for some time.
“The difference is like night and day,” he said. “You have people who care about the football club now. You see the things that are happening. There’s a new indoor facility here, [paid for by] the Rangers Lotto, there’s extra ground staff maintaining pitches better – everything.
“John Gilligan, Paul Murray and Mr King have come in and everything they’ve promised, they are producing.
“There’s a brightness. The team is playing really well and it is filtering down through to everyone. Everyone comes in bright and breezy every day rather than looking over their shoulder every couple of minutes.”
Durrant admits that the enthusiasm of the youngsters he works with helped to raise his spirits after he had been kicked downstairs.
“I couldn’t walk about with my head down,” he said. “This is another project with the kids and if they’d seen me moping about, it wouldn’t help them.
“So I came in and got on with it. I love it. I did it at Kilmarnock and I did it here when I first came back. It gave me a wee jolt and working with them gave me a boost when I needed it because it was hard.
“The boys have given me a lift. We had a meeting and told them how I work. I told them I’d promote them as quickly as I could and try to give them a chance.”
Warburton has certainly shown willingness to promote from within and that provides Durrant with a sense of job satisfaction.
“The manager spoke about producing youth players when he came in and the likes of Andy Murdoch, Robbie Crawford and Ryan Sinammon have gone out on loan,” he said.
“But Barrie McKay, Fraser Aird, Ryan Hardie and Jordan Thompson have all featured and I don’t see much of them because they are training with the first team every day.
“At the Raith Rovers game the other week, of the 18 players in the squad there were eight graduates from the Academy.”
l Ian Durrant was promoting the sale of Rangers Lotto tickets, which help fund the club’s youth academy.