Rangers: Haris Vuckic relishing new challenge

Haris Vuckic insists Newcastle’s five loan Rangers can fire the Ibrox side back to the top of Scottish football.
New Rangers signing Haris Vuckic, centre, with fellow recruits Gael Bigirimana, left, and Remie Streete. Picture: SNSNew Rangers signing Haris Vuckic, centre, with fellow recruits Gael Bigirimana, left, and Remie Streete. Picture: SNS
New Rangers signing Haris Vuckic, centre, with fellow recruits Gael Bigirimana, left, and Remie Streete. Picture: SNS

The Slovenian forward has been sent north to Glasgow by Newcastle owner Mike Ashley with fellow Geordie youngsters Gael Bigirimana, Shane Ferguson, Kevin Mbabu and Remie Streete.

Three of them - Vuckic, Streete and Bigirimana - faced the media just hours after checking into their new team’s Murray Park training base.

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Vuckic, the most-highly rated of the five, admits he had second thoughts about leaving St James’ Park and Barclays Premier League action behind.

But the 22-year-old insists he now believes dropping down to the Scottish Championship is the right move and says the Magpies youths can help reign in Hearts’ 16-point lead at the top of the table.

He told Radio Clyde: “My agent rang me three of four days ago to say Rangers are interested in you. I spoke to the Newcastle gaffer John Carver and he advised me to come here and play because I wasn’t in his plans at the moment.

“I was a bit sceptical at first because I wanted to be part of Newcastle’s first team.

“But the more I thought about it I decided it was a very good chance to show how good I am at Rangers, a big, massive club.

“At Newcastle I didn’t get much of a chance to play so this is a great opportunity for me to show the fans and everyone else I can play football.



“I knew a few of us would be coming up. It’s a good chance because most of us are all above under-21 level and we need to push on towards the first team.

“We’ve known each other for four or five years and we are a good group who have experienced the Premier League. We are a good group.

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“There is a big gap between first and second but I think it’s still realistic that we can catch Hearts.”

Centre midfielder Bigirimana signed for Newcastle for a reported £1million fee in 2012 and has been compared to current Magpies midfield destroyer Cheick Tiote.

But the 21-year-old England youth international, who fled his native Burundi as a refugee in 2004 before moving to the UK, insists he has more to his game than mere fighting qualities.

“I’m at my strongest when I’ve got the ball,” he explained. “I always want the ball. I’m a fit lad. I can run, I can tackle and I’ve just started adding goals to my game.

“People have compared me to Cheick Tiote. But that’s not right. People judge you on the first time they see you.

“But there’s a lot that I can bring to Rangers.

“We have to come in and prove a point though. Not just to the Rangers fans but the fans back home.

“There’s a pressure there but we are strong enough to face that challenge and be successful. This club needs to get back to where it belongs and if we can be a part of that, then that would be unbelievable.”

Centre-back Streete has already been out on loan to Port Vale this term but was sent back to Newcastle after playing just twice.

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However, he hopes to make more of his latest chance now he has some familiar faces joining him at Ibrox.

He said: “The last loan I had, I went out myself and it was a bit hard to settle in. But this is a bonus that there are a few of us coming up here.

“I still would have come but it just makes it easier now I’ve got a few of my friends here.

“It was only a couple of days before the window shut that we found out. I spoke to a couple of the lads about it and I think we’d all individually have wanted to come here.

“The one thing I was missing at Newcastle was first-team football. Getting into a Premier League side is not easy so we have come here to help Rangers get promoted and get some games under our belts.

“I don’t know much about the lads here but I’m sure I’ll get to know them in training.”