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Green eager to establish alliance with Australians

Charles Green is to visit supporters in Australia and wants to open an academy in conjunction with Central Coast Mariners, the New South Wales club.

Rangers toiled to a 2-2 draw in Peterhead last August
Rangers toiled to a 2-2 draw in Peterhead last August

Rangers' chief executive will travel to Australia after attending the European Club Association annual conference in Qatar on February 5 and 6 and visiting Rangers supporters in Dubai. He will go to Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, as well as planning talks with Central Coast Mariners, the club from which Celtic signed Tom Rogic this week. Rangers used to own the Sydney club Northern Spirit but it went out of business in 2004.

"We went to North America on a similar trip last year and I promised the Australian supporters' clubs I would go out there," Green told the Rangers website. "We have huge fan base there. We won't have time to see them all but if I'm travelling 18,000 miles then maybe some will travel to see me.

"I am also going to meet the directors of Central Coast Mariners on the back of conversations we have had. Australia is producing and has produced good footballers and one of the things we're looking at is putting an academy together with Mariners. It's something we have exchanged emails on and something we'd like to take forward. We are similarly keen to have an academy in the US so to have one in Australia might be an ideal thing."

Rangers will rest captain Lee McCulloch for tomorrow's game at Peterhead. Despite wintry weather in the north-east, Balmoor Stadium is expected to be playable for the noon kick-off.

Manager Ally McCoist has excused McCulloch from training for the past few days to allow him to recover from an ankle injury. "I have given him a few days off and he won't be involved on Sunday. He needs complete rest for his ankle," said McCoist. Right-back Chris Hegarty will play despite coming off against Berwick Rangers last week because of a thigh injury.

Rangers began their third division campaign with a 2-2 draw at Peterhead in August in a game which was, like most of their away fixtures this season, shown live on television. McCoist said that the presence of the cameras served to remind his players there was no prospect of poor performances going unnoticed.

"Any mistake is highlighted," he said. "I don't think it does us any harm at all. On the other hand, it also fires up the opposition. With the greatest of respect, I am not sure the last time Peterhead were on television other than the last time they played us. When we drove into Peterhead and saw the first marquee, I thought 'here we go'. That was our welcome to SFL3. We only scored in the last couple of minutes.

"I am pleased by how far we have come but we're in a no-win situation. People will always find something to moan about, and that is not a criticism. That goes for everything from away results to form. It goes with the territory and I can accept that but we are pleased with our work in terms of results and where we are in the league.

"We've still got miles to go, in terms of improving as a team, as players and as a club. But I am a lot happier than after 87 minutes at Peterhead [when Rangers trailed 2-1 in August], that's what I am trying to say."

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