Andy Halliday admits Gabala loan deal was a mistake after one week

Andy Halliday has returned to Rangers after the club negotiated an early termination to his loan deal with Gabala. Picture: SNS Group
Andy Halliday has returned to Rangers after the club negotiated an early termination to his loan deal with Gabala. Picture: SNS Group
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Andy Halliday has opened up on his loan spell with Gabala, saying he knew the switch was a mistake after just one week in Azerbaijan.

The Rangers midfielder was played out of position in defence, struggled with the language barrier and was prevented from cutting his time at the club short.

And he told RangersTV that he was ‘delighted to be back’ at the club, after Graeme Murty’s appointment as manager paved the way for a return.

“It was unfortunate that I had to leave in the first place but I have known for a few weeks that there was going to be an opportunity to come back,” Halliday told the club’s TV channel.

READ MORE - Rangers successfully negotiate early return of Andy Halliday

“I don’t know too much what to say about my time in Azerbaijan, I knew after a week it was a mistake, there was a lot of stuff I wasn’t aware of before I went there.”

The former Bradford City midfielder insisted that he had tried to leave Gabala after a week but the club blocked his exit.

“It has been a difficult few months but I am very very happy I am back. It was very difficult there, the lack of English is difficult and the lack of understanding Scottish as well was hard,” Halliday joked.

The 26-year-old midfielder admitted it was tough without any family with him, explaining that his girlfriend’s full time job meant she was unable to visit him in the South Caucasus.

“I was just very lucky that there were a couple of Dutch boys [Dion Malone and Dave Bulthuis] who spoke English and were in a similar situation to me, so I latched onto them for six months,” Halliday said.

READ MORE - Rangers’ Andy Halliday travels to Azerbaijan for loan talks

The former Livingston and Middlesbrough player was also asked to play in central defence on three occasions, adding: “A couple of [the centre halves] were injured so I played there and managed to keep three clean sheets.

“I actually played centre half against Motherwell last season and kept a clean sheet that day too - I might need to start a new career.”

Halliday does have positives to take from his time in Azerbaijan, insisting that making his debut in Europe was the highlight of his time at Gabala.

“I was fortunate enough that there was no foreign policy in Europa League games because I managed to get a few good experiences,” he said.

“I had never played in Europe before and that was one reason I decided to go over there, they were still in the Europa League and the year before they made it to the group stage.

“I think we got a little bit unlucky with the draw, managed to get through against [Polish side Jagiellonia Białystok] but then Panathinaikos were a bit too strong for us.

“I was thankful for the Europa experience but other than that it wasn’t a great experience for me. My heart and my mind has always been set on coming back to Rangers.”

READ MORE - Gregg Wylde: Mistake leaving Rangers man Andy Halliday out of European squad