Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Lafferty working on temperament

Kyle Lafferty

Kyle Lafferty insists he is a changed man - thanks to the Rangers coaching staff.

The Northern Ireland striker, who is set to face Italy on Friday in a Euro 2012 qualifier, has never been far from controversy during his time at Ibrox, but Lafferty - who scored in stoppage-time in the victory against Hearts at the weekend - believes he is improving as a person and a player.

He said: "I do not get tired or fed up with people talking about my temperament. I can't complain about that. I know myself I'm not the calmest person on a football pitch. It's an aspect of my game I am working on and I am seeing a difference. Hopefully that can continue on the pitch, both at club and international level."

He added: "I've been working with the coaching staff at Rangers and they've been telling me to try different things to improve my temperament.

"They've been giving me tips and advice. I'm following that advice and it is working. If I continue doing that, hopefully it's a part of my game that will continue to improve."

Former Burnley front man Lafferty got a huge shot of confidence when Rangers refused to allow him to move to newly-promoted Blackpool in the summer.

"They wanted me to stay and fight for my place and that was a massive boost," he said. "I took that on board and I have been working hard in training. I have been benefiting from that. I have three years left at Rangers. I'm scoring goals and I'm happy where I am."

Lafferty wants Northern Ireland to build on the terrific victory against Slovenia in Maribor when the former world champions visit Belfast but knows how tough it will be.

He added: "A lot has been written and said about Italy, but they are a top side and the World Cup is the past now for them.

"We have raised ourselves for qualifiers - our recent record in competitive games is good. We have been unlucky not to qualify the past two campaigns and there is a big incentive to go one step further."