MARK Warburton could not have picked a better target than Rob Kiernan to start off his Rangers revolution, according to the defender’s former Kilmarnock team-mate Manuel Pascali as news emerged of Wigan accepting a fee for the player from the Ibrox side.
Just two days after being appointed, the former Brentford manager has had a reported £200,000 offer for Wigan defender Kiernan accepted by the Latics.
Warburton’s bid is not without risk, coming just hours after Birmingham backed out of a move for the 24-year-old following problems with his medical.
But Pascali, who teamed up with the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international during his five-game Killie loan stint from former club Watford back in 2010, saw enough to believe Gers are right to take a gamble on his fitness.
The Italian, now a free agent after knocking back a new offer to stay at Rugby Park, said: “I remember Rob well. He played with us at Killie about five years ago when he was very young, maybe 18 or 19 years old.
“He didn’t play too much because he was so young but you could see he had good potential.
“He had great physical attributes and was very good in the air, very aggressive.
“Sadly he didn’t have the chance to make that big an impact with us but I followed his career a bit once he left. I know he played for Wigan for a couple of seasons and also went on loan a few times.
“He’s still young at 24 but I think he could do well for Rangers. I know they have released a lot of players and need to bring in some experience.
“Hopefully Rob will do a good job. It’s not easy playing for Rangers in front of 50,000 fans every week, especially when they will be demanding the club get back into the Premiership right away.
“He was a quiet lad but a good boy to have in the dressing room. Nice and very humble, the type of guy you want at your club.”
Kiernan made 18 appearances for Wigan last year before being sent on loan to Birmingham for the last three months of the campaign, but he is now set for his Ibrox switch after seeing a permanent move to St Andrew’s fall through.
Kiernan is well known to Warburton, who he worked with at Brentford during another loan spell two years ago.
Warburton also coached the player when he was his youth academy boss at Watford.
The new Light Blues manager will now hope to make Kiernan the first of many new arrivals this summer after chairman Dave King ordered him to clinch promotion to the Premiership at the first attempt.
The former City trader has been left with just nine senior professionals after replacing Stuart McCall but has already been linked with a move for former Gers midfielder Lewis Macleod, who he took to Brentford back in January.
Danny Wilson, another ex-Ibrox youth product, is also understood to be considering a return to Gers after leaving Hearts.