Rangers’ nine-in-a-row skipper Richard Gough is convinced that Northern Ireland midfielder Steve Davis is worth more to the club than any transfer fee they could potentially receive for him.
The former Ibrox favourite believes Davis is probably too good to stay in Scottish football — but he wants to see compatriot Kyle Lafferty delivering on a more regular basis if he is to make a real impact in Glasgow.
Cullybackey-man Davis has won admirers across Scotland for his top quality displays since first joining Rangers in January 2008 — and Gough (pictured) is among that number.
“Steve Davis is a great player, very comfortable on the ball,” said Gough.
“I’m delighted he is still at Rangers because teams from outside Scotland were showing interest in him along with the likes of Allan McGregor and Madjid Bougherra.
“With the financial situation at Rangers at the moment, I was a bit worried that one or more of those three might have been sold.
“It’s great for the Rangers fans that Davis is still there.”
While any interest in Davis never really got past the speculation stage, Lafferty was the subject of a bid from Blackpool, who offered him the chance of Premier League football just before the transfer window closed at the end of August.
Rangers said no to a deal and Lafferty responded by banging in a hat-trick against Dunfermline in the Scottish League Cup last week.
In two full seasons at the club though he has struggled to win over the fans and Gough insists it is his performances on the pitch and not his life off it, that Lafferty is being judged on.
“Lafferty sometimes does remarkable things,” said Gough.
“I was working as a pundit on Rangers’ match against Hamilton recently and he started off on fire — goes down the wing, beats two men and crosses superbly for a goal, but then he seemed to disappear for the rest of the game.
“To be fair to him, I think he’s a centre-forward rather than a left- winger where Rangers seem to play him. I just feel he lacks a bit of consistency. But he’s still young and maybe that’s part of the reason. You just get the feeling that there could be more to come from Lafferty.”
Walter Smith men face Bursaspor in the Champions’ League this evening at Ibrox, in what is their second match in the group after a scoreless battle with Manchester Untied a fortnight ago.
Gough believes the success of the club's Champions League campaign hinges on the clash with the Turkish champions. And the man who inspired the Gers to a ‘Battle of Britain' 4-2 aggregate victory over Leeds in 1992, feels the hard-fought 0-0 draw at Old Trafford earlier this month is the perfect launching pad for reaching the knock-out stages.
“If Rangers can win the home game with Bursaspor and maybe Manchester United get something in Valencia, it would really open up the group. Maybe Sir Alex Ferguson won’t play his so-called reserves when he comes to Ibrox,” laughed Gough, referring to United's eagerly awaited Champions League visit on November 24.
“I’ve been a bit disappointed with the criticism Rangers have received for their defensive tactics at Old Trafford because not many teams will go there and get a draw.
“When Jose Mourinho sent his Inter team out to play defensively against Barcelona in last season's Champions League semi-final, he was hailed as a tactical genius. Yet when Walter Smith does that, he gets criticised. It was up to United to win the game.
“Sir Alex has come in for criticism for not putting out his best team but United could put out three teams that would beat most others.”