On paper, Liam Kelly would be a more than decent signing for anyone in the Scottish game.

An experienced goalkeeper who has just made his 132nd consecutive league appearance for Motherwell. A Scotland internationalist, who made his debut against France last October after being a mainstay in Steve Clarke’s squad for some time. An outside bet to be included in the pool travelling to the European Championships. And, perhaps crucially from a Rangers point of view, a homegrown player.

But it would be fair to say that on the pitch of late, Kelly has split opinion among the Motherwell support. In fact, it might be generous.

He signed for the Fir Park club on a permanent deal three years ago from Queens Park Rangers after a successful loan spell. The move was seen as something of a coup, and was certainly warmly welcomed by the majority of Motherwell fans given his fine form during that initial loan period.

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He has ability, of that there is no doubt. Anyone who witnessed his stunning, acrobatic stop at the weekend after a clearance had inadvertently ricocheted towards his top corner can testify to that. And you don’t play so many consecutive games for a team in the top-flight – or impress Scotland manager Clarke – without having something about you.

His leadership qualities and character too are often praised by Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell, who said this recently about his captain: “I’ve trusted Liam, and you look at his performances and the numbers he bashes out every season.

“You look at his ability and all these different things, his leadership has to go in there. How good a goalkeeper he is, not just with his feet but with his hands as well.

“I think he’s top drawer. What wouldn’t surprise me is a goalkeeper of his stature and standing attracting interest.”

It was something of a surprise to most though, particularly Motherwell fans who have watched him on a weekly basis over the past couple of years, that he was initially linked with a move to Celtic a week or two ago, and now - as the Scottish Sun report - looks set to instead re-join the club where he started his professional career.

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At times, he has been very good. But those times have been fewer and farther between as his Motherwell career has progressed. His relative lack of physical stature for a goalkeeper is an obvious weakness, and something that opposition teams have come to exploit.

Kelly has remarked this season that he is his own biggest critic, and that he knows he has made some costly mistakes for his team this term, particularly under high balls. The opening goal against Morton in the Scottish Cup, for instance, and the goal that Dundee scored directly from a corner recently spring to mind.

On the flip side, when he is on his game, he can be inspired. His performance as Motherwell claimed a draw at Celtic Park earlier this season was top drawer, saving a Luis Palma penalty and making a string of other fine stops on the day.

Similarly, he was hugely impressive when Motherwell won at Ibrox, perhaps the afternoon where he caught the eye of Philippe Clement.

The question would be though that if he can, at 28, now kick on from here and mount a serious challenge to be a number one goalkeeper for Rangers. Perhaps training alongside better players every day, and even just a change of scenery, will push him on to another level.

More likely though, if Kelly does indeed make the move to Ibrox, it will be as a backup option to a more accomplished keeper like Jack Butland. If the Englishman was to leave Ibrox in the summer, the Rangers support are highly unlikely to accept Kelly coming in as his direct replacement.

From Kelly’s point of view, it might be difficult to say no to Rangers, both from an emotional and a financial standpoint. But for his career, his prospects of regular football and any international dreams he may harbour of further caps for Scotland, it would surely be detrimental.

He may well back himself to go to Ibrox and make an impact. But going from starting 132 consecutive games to warming the bench every week – at best – would be quite the change of pace. And, it would seem, the most realistic outcome.