Wallace keen to renew link with Zaliukas at Rangers

LEE Wallace admits he would love to see former Hearts team-mate Marius Zaliukas join him at Rangers, as he mulls over a move to Ibrox.
Marius Zaliukas pictured training at Ibrox with Rangers. Picture: SNSMarius Zaliukas pictured training at Ibrox with Rangers. Picture: SNS
Marius Zaliukas pictured training at Ibrox with Rangers. Picture: SNS

The Lithuanian defender has been offered a deal by Rangers manager Ally McCoist to become their tenth summer signing. The 29-year-old is back in his homeland considering the offer.

Scotland international Wallace was a team-mate of Zaliukas for five years at Tynecastle and the pair spoke last week when Zaliukas trained at Murray Park. Wallace would be delighted if he could link up with his former colleague in League 1.

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Wallace said: “He’ll be great. He’s got a wealth of experience in the SPL and has lifted the Scottish Cup with Hearts.

“He’s a great centre half and he’s good in both boxes, so we know his qualities.

“I’m not quite sure what’s going on behind the scenes, but if he comes in, he’ll certainly add strength to the team. He’ll be back home in Lithuania now thinking over the deal, but hopefully I’ll see him soon.

“The manager knew about him and we’ve spoken about him. I told him that I’ve played with him for a number of years at Hearts and he’s clocked up a big amount of appearances for Hearts, so we spoke about the experience we had at Hearts.

“He’s a top centre-back who is a threat, so he would add a significant piece of solidity to the team because he’s a powerful defender who is very dominant in the air.”

Zaliukas signed for the Tynecastle club in 2006, when Wallace was a youngster with the Jambos, and he was impressed at how quickly he gelled into the squad. He recalled: “I remember when he first came over…I was still a young boy at the time and he was a wee bit raw to start with. But he quickly adapted and he’s played a great amount of games for Hearts and lifted the Scottish Cup a few years ago, so he would certainly add that bit of quality.”

Rangers maintained their 100 per cent record at Forfar on Sunday, but they were a long way from their best at Station Park, despite that 1-0 win. But Wallace reckons the fact they won, despite being below par, shows how much Rangers have improved.

He said: “We’ve got that extra bit of resilience and solidity in the team now. The guys who have come in have probably got that wealth of experience and quality and they know that when we are maybe not having the best of games technically with the ball, we just have to be solid and not concede.

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“When you look at this time last year that might not have been the case. But when we are not playing well, we try to keep solid and not concede goals and that’s what we did and we’re happy with that.”