Jonatan Johansson: I couldn't turn down Rangers

Jonatan Johansson admits the chance to return to Rangers was too good to turn down.

New Rangers No.3 Jonatan Johansson. Picture: Ian Georgeson
New Rangers No.3 Jonatan Johansson. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The former Rangers striker was chosen from a number of candidates to join Pedro Caixinha’s new coaching set-up.

The Finn had been working back in his homeland as assistant to national team boss Markku Kanerva but has 
quit that post to concentrate full-time on his new duties.

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And Johansson – who has previously worked with 
Motherwell’s Under-20s – believes linking up with the Ibrox squad is the perfect career move.

He told RangersTV: “The Finland work and set-up was great for me. I was so proud to work for my country and leaving it is a little bit sad for me, but this was an opportunity and a chance that I couldn’t turn down.

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“Working every day on the pitch, with top-class players, it’s a dream for every coach and that’s no different for me.

“With the national team the difficult thing for the coach is the spaces between the games when you can’t do any on-field work and you have to wait to start again so it was always in my plans to return to a club.

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“I coached with youth players at Motherwell and with Finland then stepped up to the first team with Finland to coach professionals, so I felt I was ready to take the next step, getting into a big club with massive pressure again.

“Working with top-class players, but also with the manager and coaches and fitness team, so I think this was a natural step for me and the fact it’s Rangers is a massive bonus.

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“I’ve been back to Ibrox a lot and when I was here as a player the training ground wasn’t built yet so coming here is special. It’s always great to be at the stadium, too, where there are so many memories.

“I’ve been back as much as possible and played with legends teams and that’s kept me within the club and knowing about the club so now to be working again it’s very special.”

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Caixinha has been on the look-out for a ‘local’ assistant to work alongside him since being appointed last month.

Ex-Rangers players Barry Ferguson, Alex Rae, Kevin Thomson and John Brown were among those interviewed for the position but Caixinha opted to go with Johansson. The 41-year-old will now be expected to give the Portuguese manager a helping hand as he adjusts to his new surroundings.

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Johansson spent three years in Glasgow after moving from FC Flora in 1997, netting 25 goals for Rangers while lifting the Scottish Premier League title twice.

He also enjoyed a productive stint in England with Charlton before returning to Scotland later in his career with moves to Hibs and St Johnstone.

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“I’m obviously delighted and proud to be back at the club,” he added.

“It’s exactly how I wanted 
my career to progress, with a massive club like Rangers and also in a role at the moment 
to be working with players 
every day.”