It’s club before country for Rangers keeper
Neil Alexander hopes to put pen to paper on a new deal with Rangers within the next 10 days — even though he knows he could jeopardise any hope of resurrecting his Scotland career as a result.
The goalkeeper will be back between the sticks for tonight's Co-operative Insurance Cup tie against Dunfermline but has come to terms with the fact that he will almost always be second choice to Allan McGregor.
His lack of first-team action resulted in his omission from Craig Levein's squad for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Lithuania and Liechtenstein, with Blackpool's Matt Gilks drafted into the fold instead. But, as far as Alexander is concerned, international football is a sacrifice he is willing to make as long as he can extend his career with the Scottish champions.
He hopes to agree to at least another three years at Rangers in the coming days and said: “It's very pleasing and it's a great confidence-booster for myself at the moment.
“I want to be at the club and the manager is keen to extend my deal so I must be doing something right. It's difficult not playing but it's one that I understand. I know regardless of how well I do tomorrow night, or how badly I do, I'm going to be back on the bench at the weekend.
“But it's fantastic to be at a club like this and I've been fortunate to play in four cup finals and Old Firm games. It's fantastic to be here, and I'm very proud to be part of what's going on at Rangers at the moment.
“Why would I want to leave? It's a great club and I'm very happy on and off the pitch here. I think a goalkeeper's circumstances are different to anybody else really. You know who's the number one and you know who's the number two and you sort of accept that fact.
“Although you work hard off the pitch and try your best to play, I know at the end of the day that Allan is the number one and, if fit, he'll play.”
Levein was keen to have a closer look at Gilks, who qualifies for the national team through a Scottish grandparent, and Alexander has no problems with the Scotland boss keeping his options open.
He said: “He phoned me just before he announced the squad. He said he was going to leave me out and have a look at another option. That's fair enough and I can totally understand the situation.
“If I'm not playing first-team football, I can't really expect to be in the Scotland squad.
“It's great and I love it but I'm paid to be at Rangers and that's my main priority.”