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Barry Ferguson backs Northern Ireland star Shiels to deliver

By Laure James

Rangers legend Barry Ferguson has tipped Dean Shiels to shine in the first-leg of the Scottish Premiership play-off final against Motherwell at Ibrox tonight.

The Clyde boss describes Shiels as "tremendous" and said the Northern Ireland international has all the qualities needed for the top level under Gers boss Stuart McCall.

Ferguson said: "Dean Shiels is a tremendous player.

"He has done really well. I've watched the last four or five games Rangers have played and for me he's consistently been one of the best players on the park.

"He was out in the cold for a while before Stuart came in. I've always liked him as a player and now we're seeing what he can really do.

"He's one of the top performers, because he's been given a chance and a run of games. Over the last month or two he's been brilliant."

Rangers have an impressive record at Ibrox, and Ferguson believes they belong in the top tier of Scottish football.

"Rangers have a couple of difficult games coming up against Motherwell, but going by the performances in the last few rounds, I think they deserve to get back up," the former Rangers captain added.

"I don't think Rangers will make this too difficult for themselves, I think they'll get through and back up to the Scottish Premiership where they should be.

"Being back up will benefit everyone else, 100 per cent. The league will be a better one because of it.

"There was a benefit when they were down in League One and Two. It benefited the clubs in those divisions, but Scottish football needs a Rangers in the top league.

"I've been quite vocal about it, people probably think I just have a Rangers hat on, but Scottish football's top league needs them."

Gers are shaping up for their fifth game in 19 days tonight but have been sticking to light training sessions and plenty of rest since seeing off semi-final rivals Hibernian on Saturday.

Defender Seb Faure (knee) and midfielder Gael Bigirimana (infection) remain sidelined.

McCall's men have held their nerve against second-tier Championship rivals Queen of the South and Hibs to set up this two-legged shoot-out with the Premiership's second-bottom side.

The return leg is at Fir Park on Sunday.

Belfast Telegraph


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