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Slow start proves source of Daly regret

IT is not unusual for scorers to remember their misses as readily as their goals.

After failing to score  in his Ibrox debut against Brechin,  Jon Daly has been proflic
After failing to score in his Ibrox debut against Brechin, Jon Daly has been proflic

Jon Daly has scored 18 times for Rangers this season but ask him how his campaign has gone and he brings up a day when he drew a blank. There are not many people who attach much significance to Brechin City's 4-1 defeat at Ibrox on August 10. In fact, Daly might be the only one, but he does it for the most poignant reason.

His father, John, had been ill. That Saturday he had travelled from Ireland to watch his boy make his Ibrox debut as a Rangers player. Jon had chances to score that day but couldn't. It turned out to be the only chance his dad had to see him play for Rangers at Ibrox. He passed away not long after. "I still beat myself up about that," said Jon. "He was over to watch that game against Brechin and never got to see me score at Ibrox. It would have been great for him to see that. But it was a bad day at the office for me. It's something I sometimes look back on and wish I'd stuck one away.

"I spoke to my dad at the time of my move and he was delighted that a club like Rangers were in for me. He told me to jump at the chance. I think I'd pretty much made my mind up that I was coming anyway, but it was nice that he was full of enthusiasm for the move. He was very proud that I'd signed for Rangers, although he did give me stick for not scoring in that first Ibrox game. That's the way he was, he used to have that kind of banter with me. But he was very proud. Hopefully I can still do him proud in the future." It's obvious on his face that it's a raw, emotional topic for him.

When Rangers take on Stranraer at Ibrox this afternoon they will be looking for their 21st consecutive win, and 15th-in-a-row in SPFL League 1. Daly's statistics are individually impressive too. Having scored only three in his first seven appearances since signing on a two-year deal from Dundee United, the Dubliner has helped himself to 15 in his last 12.

"The season could probably have gone even better for me so far, to be honest. I could have had a few more goals. It took me four games before I got my first goals for the club. It's gone quite well since then, to be fair, and I'm delighted to be sitting on 18 goals at the moment with the team doing so well."

Daly will turn 31 next month and is on an SPFL Premiership-level wage only Celtic could easily better. Looking at it from an economic perspective, but not a football one, he would be the sort of player who would be most vulnerable when new chief executive Graham Wallace begins what is likely to be an unforgiving round of cost-cutting.

"If the squad has to be cut in size then it will happen and we will deal with it at the time," he said. "It's not something I've been focusing on. That's not me not caring - of course I care - but I just want to focus on my football and do my best for the club. Whatever happens, happens. That's football, players come and players go. You build up a good squad and then, for whatever reason, players have to leave.

"I'm sure it will happen that players do leave, whether it is through cuts or whether they just get sold on, because there are some fantastic players here who have been doing really well and I'm sure there are clubs down south who are keeping an eye on them. I can't speak for the rest of the boys but personally I try not to focus on things off the park. I concentrate on training, my own routine, and playing games. Whatever happens off the pitch is out of our hands, we can't control it."

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