Haris Vuckic wants to stay at Rangers

HARIS Vuckic has confirmed that he would be delighted to sign a permanent deal with Rangers because returning to Newcastle’s under-21 side would be detrimental to his career.

Vuckic celebrates scoring against Hearts. Picture: Jane Barlow

The Slovenian forward has been a success since joining on loan in January scoring six goals in 13 appearances, including what proved to be the winner against Hearts last Sunday.

He has a year left on his Newcastle contract but he has indicated that he is ready to sign a deal with Rangers because he wants to play first-team football.

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He said: “It would be a great option for me because I’m really enjoying my football here. I’m scoring goals, playing well and the fans like me.

“This is the happiest I have been for a while with my football because I am playing every week. As a player, that is all you want – to show people that you are good.

“‘I will have to speak to Newcastle and see what their plan is and then see what is best for me.

“Playing first-team football is very different from the under-21s, where you basically play with the kids. You want to play at a bigger, stronger level.

“It would be a big step backwards if I go back to play under-21 games with Newcastle.

“I just have to see what happens in the summer but I want to play first-team football.”

Vuckic, who will line up against Queen of the South tonight, insists that Stuart McCall has made a sizeable difference since taking over as manager last month and he would love to continue working with him.

The 22-year-old said: “Since he came, I have really enjoyed it. He knows what he is talking about. We all follow his gameplan and we are winning. He came here with a target to put us in the Scottish Premiership.

“When I first came the changing room was a little bit down because of what was going on here. Now when you start winning games the players are more motivated, enthusiastic and everybody fighting.

“The quality of the training goes up straight away and you can develop even more. I’m really enjoying my football and I’m training hard. At Newcastle, I didn’t have that chance.

“In football, people can forget you quickly. So I am really enjoying it at the moment and playing well.

“It is good to get recognised by fans as that means you are doing well.

“I just want to keep working hard, scoring goals and hopefully people will recognise me even more.”

McCall has already indicated that he would be very interested in keeping Vuckic if he is successful in landing the manager’s job on a permanent basis.

He knows the Slovenian has been a key element in the recovery of Rangers’ form but he has cautioned that there is still a lot of work to be done.

He said: “At the moment there’s a feelgood factor about the club and that’s down to the players’ response. They are playing now at a level we know they can play at.

“The only thing that has happened, apart from results improving, is their self-belief and confidence and morale has come back into the dressing room, along with the support, so we all seem to be onside.

“That’s why I got the goosebumps on Sunday because it was fantastic to hear the fans all get behind the players, it was a two-way thing and it was as if that connection was there again.

“However, we’ve done nothing. We’ve won three games.

We have got a really difficult game at Queen of the South so we’re not taking anything for granted.”

Captain Lee McCulloch will be one of eight players unavailable but he will travel to support the team after asking McCall if he could do so in a private meeting where he apologised for his dismissal against Hearts last week when he hit Genero Zeefuik with his forearm.

McCall said: “He came to see me to apologise in one way and say how much he is totally committed. He basically asked if he could come down on the team bus to Queen of the South which obviously is what you want your captain to be doing.”