RANGERS did send Ian Durrant and Duncan Ferguson to Goodison Park

yesterday, but their transfers are only temporary. After a day of

discussions Everton did not sign Durrant on a long-term basis, and like

Ferguson the midfield player has moved only on loan.

Rangers had been hoping to raise some finance by selling Durrant to

Everton, who it had been reported were anxious to buy him for #1.75m

subject to a medical examination, but after a long wait the parties

involved emerged to say only loan deals had been agreed.

Neither player was required to undergo a medical, and although the

press conference after business had been concluded was brief, it

transpired that a more permanent deal involving Durrant could be

arranged after his month. Effectively, then, Durrant, who will be 28 at

the end of this month, is on trial which seems a peculiar position for

someone with his ability and experience.

It also is strange that Durrant, who, apart from Brian Laudrup and

Alexei Mikhailichenko has greater vision and a better touch on the ball

than anyone else at Ibrox, should be allowed to move at all. Rangers'

midfield needs his skills more than ever.

The player, though, has no choice ''but to get on with it,'' and he

and Ferguson will start by playing against Portsmouth in a Coca-Cola Cup

tie tomorrow night. ''There are a few big games coming up for Everton

and I can only do my best,'' said Durrant.

''I have a platform to show what I can do, and who knows what might

come of it. But it's going to be a challenge for myself and Duncan.''

Durrant tried to speak to his former Ibrox team-mate Maurice Johnston,

who also played with Everton, but couldn't make contact. ''This puts me

in the spotlight and it will beat playing in the reserves,'' Durrant


Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, accompanied his players to

Merseyside and had been hoping to return to Ibrox with some money in his

pocket. It is thought he is still looking at either Hearts' Alan

McLaren, who is valued at #2m by his club, or Marc Reiper, of Brondby,

but any moves into the transfer market might now have to be delayed.

However, for a short period at least Rangers' heavy wages bill will be

eased as Everton take over payments to Durrant for one month and

Ferguson for three provided, of course, his court appearance on October

25 goes in his favour, and then the SFA uphold his appeal against a

12-match suspension. The association decided to defer his appeal until

after criminal proceedings have been concluded.

The likelihood is that the 22-year-old striker, who has failed so far

to live up to Rangers' high opinion of him -- they paid Dundee United

#4m -- will still have to serve a ban, which would mean that his

three-month loan period would be cut even shorter.

Everton are struggling at the bottom of the Premiership and are

desperately seeking a remedy to their problems, but they are not stupid.

Although they have said three months for Ferguson, he would be sent back

to Ibrox to serve any suspension.

Although all of the details of the day's events were not divulged, it

can be taken for granted that things did not go Smith's way. It was

originally thought that Everton were interested also in Trevor Steven,

but nothing can be done with the former England internationalist until

he resumes playing.

He had surgery to correct a calf-muscle problem 10 days ago and it

would be foolish of anyone to buy him until after he has won back his

first-team place and is again playing well. It could be another

fortnight before he is ready to restart, but there is no indication that

Everton would renew their interest.

The Goodison club have already been made to look foolish by making it

known they were about to make a signing only to see the deal collapse

after the media had gathered to speak to the Brazilian, Muller, who

failed to agree terms at the last minute.

Swindon have been looking at Pieter Huistra, but they have not yet

followed up their interest in the Dutch winger, and Tranmere have still

to indicate if they wish to transform Gary Stevens' loan arrangement

into something more permanent.

* MOTHERWELL escaped punishment over a coin-throwing incident during

the second leg of their UEFA Cup, first-round tie because of a lack of

evidence. Rene Eberle, UEFA's disciplinary spokesman, said yesterday:

''The incident was not witnessed by the referee or linesmen and the UEFA

observer also missed it.

''If we have no witnesses we cannot take sanctions.''