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NI legend Nicholl is overjoyed at returning to Rangers as assistant boss


By Robert Jones

Jimmy Nicholl could not contain his excitement after sealing a return to Ibrox as Rangers assistant manager.

The 61-year-old Northern Ireland legend has been appointed No.2 to Graeme Murty after Falkirk agreed to allow him to move on from the same role under Paul Hartley.

Nicholl, who has also been Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill's assistant in recent years, had two playing spells at Ibrox in the 1980s.

He said: "I got the opportunity all those years ago with John Greig and Jock Wallace, and then I thought that was going to be it, I'd had my wee spell and fulfilled one of my ambitions.

"Then, three years later, I was back with Graeme Souness and Walter Smith. Then, again, I thought that was it after that. But 30 years later to have the opportunity to go back to Rangers in this capacity as assistant manager with Graeme Murty, I am so excited and chuffed to bits that Graeme has given me this opportunity."

Nicholl has been brought in to provide Murty with experienced assistance after the 43-year-old was promoted from his role as U20s coach following two spells as caretaker manager last year.

Nicholl will jet out to the USA ahead of a training camp and two games against Brazilian opposition in the Florida Cup.

Nicholl said: “I know so many of the staff and the guys in the academy, and that’s great as it means I’m not walking into a strange environment where I’m having to spend a bit of time getting to know everybody.

“It’s a good opportunity now to be away in Florida to be around the training ground and the hotel with the players without it being a pressurised situation.

“For the last three years I’ve been doing the Northern Ireland stuff with Michael O’Neill and checking up on players, and I enjoyed that break from full-time football.

“There comes a time when it gets to you though, and you realise you miss the day-to-day stuff.”

Meanwhile, Brighton winger Jamie Murphy admits he is close to fulfilling a boyhood dream by signing for Rangers.

The former Motherwell player has arrived in Glasgow for a medical and could complete a transfer to Ibrox before Murty’s squad head off to Florida.

When asked at Glasgow Airport if it was his dream to sign for Rangers, locally-born Murphy said: “Always, so hopefully I can get the medical through. I don’t think it’s all done yet but it’s good to be home. It’s the club I supported as a boy and still support now.” 

Elsewhere, St Mirren manager Jack Ross believes Lewis Morgan has “everything that he needs” to be a success at Celtic.

The 21-year-old winger’s move from the Paisley club to the Scottish champions is expected to be finalised today, but he will return to the Championship leaders on loan for the rest of the season.

Ross said: “He has everything that he needs. He is a tremendously talented young man.”

Belfast Telegraph


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