He was one of a wave of world-class foreigners to grace Ibrox during the trophy-laden good times. But Arthur Numan is convinced rookie manager Graeme Murty is right to “go native” in the quest to rebuild Rangers and close the yawning gap on rivals Celtic, writes Alasdair Fraser.
The 45-times capped Netherlands international defender, who won 10 trophies in five years at Rangers after his £4.5 million move from PSV Eindhoven in 1998, believes a distinctly Scottish backbone will be crucial to Light Blue ambitions.
Treble-winner Numan is watching with interest as Murty, now permanent successor to Pedro Caixinha after two caretaker stints, places great emphasis on strengthening the core of Scottish and British-reared players.
Latest arrivals Jamie Murphy and Jason Cummings add to a strong tartan mix along with the likes of Graham Dorrans and Ryan Jack, while Michael O’Halloran and Andy Halliday are back in the fold after loan spells.
Norwich City’s Scotland defender Russell Martin is expected to sign and Murty has also been linked with a move for Hamilton’s Greg Docherty, while the capture of German-born Englishman Sean Goss and Welshman Declan John cement the marked change in philosophy. Costly expenditure under Caixinha brought in a host of overseas flops like the recently-offloaded Carlos Pena and Aaron Nemane.
Numan, ahead of Rangers’ trip to face Highland League Fraserburgh on Sunday, recalled how he was helped to adapt to life in the Old Firm goldfish bowl by natives like Barry Ferguson and Craig Moore.
The 47-year-old said: “You have to give the new manager credit. You could see some stability from the last result against Celtic. With the new signings, the team will only be stronger.
“It’s not enough to have quality on the pitch, you need it on the bench, too. That’s the reason they have signed Murphy, Goss and Cummings, too. They are good signings. Murphy used to play for Motherwell and he knows what it is to play for Rangers and be under pressure from the fans and press.
“Some of the signings Pedro Caixinha made such as the Portuguese and South American players, I had the feeling they didn’t know what to expect. People think it is easy to play for Rangers but it is completely the opposite. Rangers need players who know about Scottish football and that is what we are seeing.”
l Arthur Numan was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is the proud sponsor of the Scottish Cup.