Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has expressed sympathy for Hearts counterpart Craig Levein over reports of Ibrox interest in teenage full-back Aaron Hickey that he maintains have no substance.
Gerrard has been linked with Hickey and Everton 19-year-old centre-back Lewis Gibson in the lead-up to this afternoon’s trip to Tynecastle. It prompted Levein to joke in his pre-match press duties that if Rangers were to table a £2 million bid for Hickey he would lodge a bid for Alfredo Morelos. The former Scotland manager suggested that the timing of the transfer talk, reported to be prompted by new Ibrox sporting director Ross Wilson’s wish list, was cause for him to take it with “a lump of salt”.
Gerrard has backed that approach and believes that Levein was placed in a position that was unneccesary when he considers it unlikely that Rangers will make any signings in January – his greater focus on trimming the squad – and certainly will not pursue Gibson or Hickey.
“Lewis Gibson isn’t on the radar, it’s just speculation,” the Ibrox manager said. “The kid at Hearts, Hickey, is the same. Craig Levein has had to answer that question but he shouldn’t because there’s nothing in it.”