New Scotland striker Oli McBurnie retains hope he might one day play for Rangers after a move to Ibrox broke down suddenly on transfer deadline day in January.
The 21-year-old Swansea player moved instead to Barnlsey, where he has scored six goals in his last seven appearances and was the Championship Player of the Month for February.
“There were murmurs,” he said, with reference to the mooted move north. “But anything can happen. If you know anything about my career, it never happens simply or easily. There were murmurs, but I bet you know more than I know. I was told about three o’clock that nothing was going to happen and I had a certain amount of clubs to pick from. I ended up choosing Barnsley and it’s going well for me at the minute.”
Despite living all his life in England, he is a passionate Rangers fan, following in a family tradition. Just as he was always Scottish at school, he was always a Rangers supporter. McBurnie said he wore both Scotland and Rangers tops on dress-down days at school in Leeds. His Ibrox heroes were Kris Boyd and Nikica Jelavic, pictured left. He even has a shirt with No 26 on it, as worn by current Rangers striker and friend Jason Cummings.
“Jelavic was the one I loved when I was really getting into football and I remember being gutted when he left to go to Everton,” said McBurnie. “There are photos of me going into school in my Rangers tops and Scotland tops. You always support who your old man supports, don’t you? I don’t think anyone has much choice.”
McBurnie has one more year of his current deal with Swansea to run and he hopes to be able to make his mark in the English Premier League, where he made 11 appearances in the first half of the season. But he would love to play for Rangers at one stage after seeming to come so close to fulfilling his dream in January. “Growing up supporting a team, especially a team like Rangers, one day I would love to pull on the jersey,” he said. “We’ll just have to see how my career goes and see if I am lucky enough to pull it on.”
He remains happy to declare his love for the Ibrox club on Twitter. “It helps that I’m in a different country,” he said. “If I was playing in Scotland, I don’t think I would be able to get away with it. I like to have a good laugh on Twitter and Instagram with the fans. A bit of banter never hurt anyone. I’m a Rangers fan. I’m not going to hide it. You get a bit of stick for it, but it is what it is.”