You have to hand it to Nicky Law. The Rangers midfielder was asked what had changed in recent weeks to return Rangers to the free-scoring, victory-hoovering team that cut a swathe through the Championship in the early months of Mark Warburton’s tenure. “I’d like to say it’s me coming back into the team,” joked the affable Englishman.
Law has never appeared entirely at one with the Ibrox set-up in his two and a half years at the club. However, he has been a productive presence in the centre of the park as Rangers have rediscovered their poise and sense of purpose to overwhelm opponents. They did that with aplomb in racing to a four-goal lead in 41 minutes of Saturday’s hosting of Livingston. During the two months Law was out of the starting line-up as the result of injury, Rangers lost their way with two defeats and two draws in a seven-game sequence.
His re-emergence, and a more direct approach by the 27-year-old, has been coupled with goal sprees that have accounted for Hibs, Dumbarton and Livingston in the league. A notable form step-up that now looks as if it could earn him a contract extension to a deal that ends in five month. Last summer, Law was fingered as one of those players that would make way in the Warburton era.
“I went straight into the biggest game of the season against Hibs [for a first start in ten weeks] so that gave me a lot of confidence. But there are players on the bench looking to take that spot from me so I need to be at my best. I am pleased with how I am doing.”
Apparently, so is Warburton. And though he is attempting to close deals for St Johnstone attacker Michael O’Halloran and Brentford defensive midfielder Toumani Diagouraga, it could be that Law joins Jason Holt and Andy Halliday in being given a new deal.
“I had a chat with the manager a week or two ago. I expressed that I would like to stay and it was a positive meeting. The next couple of weeks I hope there will be something regarding myself either way. You want your future sorted. I’ve just had my first child so, for me, the biggest thing is security. Either way, I’d love to have my future sorted.”
The future is beginning to look a little clearer for Rangers, on the park, anyway. Once again, they look to have enough to see off their Championship challengers Falkirk and Hibs, who dropped five points behind them after their draw yesterday. From the first moments against a struggling Livingston, they had the means to lance them, as they will most weeks in the second tier.
They did a demolition job by forcing mistakes from easily-rattled visitors, their backline breached first when Danny Wilson headed in after a scramble following a Martyn Waghorn blocked shot. Striker Waghorn then converted his tenth penalty after Declan Gallagher shoved Kenny Miller and the UK’s top scorer took his season’s tally to 27 when he dinked high into the net for the fourth after Rangers had pulled the Livingston defence apart.
In between Waghorn’s strikes, Miller swept in the third with a fine finish that was more matched by substitute Liam Buchanan’s early reply in a second period when Rangers’ pace and intent dropped. An Andy Halliday penalty saved brilliantly by Marc McCallum at the close merely confirmed the second period wasn’t one to savour. It didn’t need to be, though, with 19 goals in four games evidence to Law that Rangers don’t need any new signings – winger Harry Forrester failing to make it off the bench – to win the league.
Law’s longing to stay at the club has everything to do with the sense of optimism that swirls around the squad and the stands in a manner he hasn’t known previously. “We have new players coming in and have built up a little bit of a lead at the top and the goals are coming. Everyone’s confidence is sky high. For the boys who have been here for the past couple of years it has been really, really tough, but to see it now it’s fantastic. The fans are back on side and it’s good for Scottish football too because Rangers going back into the top flight is what everybody wants to see, I’m sure. It’s been good to see the changes in the last 12 months.”
What has been especially good for Law is that he hasn’t been one of those to suffer for those changes.