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Rangers' Gallagher shuns sun in attempt to shine

CALUM Gallagher sacrificed a holiday with his mates to fight for a first-team place at Rangers.

While his friends having been living it up in Magaluf, the teenage striker has been focusing on maintaining his physical condition in the gym ahead of next season, although he did make it out of the country as part of the Ibrox club's squad at the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens.

Having made a handful of first-team appearances in the latter part of last term, Gallagher decided to put all his close-season energies into attempting to become a regular part of Ally McCoist's plans as the SPFL League 1 champions prepare to do battle with Hibernian and Hearts in the Championship.

"I was going to go on holiday, but this is going to be a big year for me so I thought I'd do the most professional thing, buckle down and start work a wee bit earlier," Gallagher said.

"All I can do is train as hard as possible and take opportunities if I get them. For me it's about posing questions to the club and, hopefully, having a more regular role with the first team."

Gallagher, 19, made his mark thanks to his bustling energy and exemplary attitude. However, with the arrival of Kenny Miller, and others touted to follow, he knows he will face increased competition for a starting berth.

"It is maybe harder to keep your place, but at the same time you are more motivated to do it," Gallagher said.

He also believes he can benefit personally from the return of the 34-year-old Miller. "I was on the fringes of things when he trained with the first team last season but I did have a couple of days with him and what a player," Gallagher said.

"He's definitely the kind of guy you can learn the trade from. I think if you are good enough it doesn't matter what age you are as long as he is able to perform and I am sure he will be able to do that."

Rangers will face stiffer competition next term than the last two campaigns have provided, but Gallagher knows expectation among the fan base remains fixed on securing the title. "We should be thinking about winning the league, winning games," he said. "The play-offs maybe aren't as much of an option for us as they are for other clubs ... I think it is expected of us to win the league"

The upcoming year is of the utmost importance to Gallagher: he could emerge as a first-team regular or be left lingering on the periphery of an expanding squad. If he does play a prominent role, it will certainly have been worth missing out on that Magaluf trip.

James Campsie

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Football

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