Michael Beale set to place trust in Rangers teenager 'we always had high hopes for'
While that might sound serious, there’s no issue. Rather, the Ibrox left back is simply a member of a squad who have surprised everyone once again by reaching the last four of the World Cup.
Whatever happens this week, Croatia have booked themselves a stay in the Middle East until Saturday at least, which is when the third and fourth placed play-off is scheduled to take place. The final is of course the day after and Croatia, who play Argentina tomorrow night, will hope to be in it.
Which is all well and good, of course. And Rangers will continue to enjoy financial recompense from Fifa for the time Barisic is away.
But it also leaves the Ibrox side short at left-back for when they resume league action against Hibs on Thursday night. The problem is amplified by the hamstring injury to Ridvan Yilmaz, which is keeping the young Turkish full back sidelined.
It's a headache incoming manager Michael Beale could do without. But he does at least have one advantage. He already knows what Rangers have in reserve on account of his initial spell at Ibrox, when he was first-team coach under Steven Gerrard. He was already aware of Adam Devine, who although often played at right back, can do a turn on the left as well, as shown in Saturday's 3-0 friendly win over Bayer Leverkusen.
The 19-year-old was a member of a back four that were the only players to survive a half-time cull that saw the other six outfield players replaced. Devine lasted as many as 84 minutes and looks a good bet to retain his place later this week for Beale’s first competitive match in charge.
The manager later likened Devine to Jon Flanagan, the now retired full back who was among Gerrard’s first signings for Rangers. This comparison was prompted by Devine’s desire and ability to come inside, rather than continually hog the touchline.
“Sometimes when you have a right footer at left back, they play inside the pitch more – Jon Flanagan did that for us a few years ago very well,” said Beale. “It opens up other things – maybe playing into Antonio (Colak) or Alfredo (Morelos) a bit more. I have got a lot of trust in Adam. He is a boy we always had high hopes for."
Whether Beale has enough trust to pitch him into Thursday night’s Premiership encounter remains to be seen. Rangers, though, are low on options.
Devine has started only one previous league game for Rangers – against Hearts at the end of last season. He played 11 times for Brechin City as the Angus club dropped out of the SPFL two seasons ago.
Devine looked fearless against the German side. The way he brought one long ball out of the sky with a single touch suggested he had been playing full back for Rangers for years. He seemed to relish playing right in front of Beale in the first half.
“The intensity has gone right up,” said Devine, when asked about the impact the new manager has had. “It’s given everyone a lift. All the players are fighting for a place." Asked if he was ready to start against Hibs, he said: "Definitely."
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