Former Rangers coach Michael Beale has revealed that Ibrox back-up keeper Andy Firth played a vital role and was an unsung hero in securing 55 off the pitch last season.
The 25-year-old goalkeeper might not be close to the first team but as an infectious and positive member of the squad his contribution in the background appears to have been invaluable.
Beale – who left Rangers alongside Steven Gerrard and the rest of the Liverpool legend’s backroom staff for Aston Villa in November – was speaking on the Gallant Few podcast.
Despite not playing a minute of the campaign for the club, ex-Liverpool coach Michael Beale insists Andy Firth was an unsung Rangers hero as the Gers secured their first title in a decade.
“If I need to be pushed on a player then in the year we won the league it would be someone who would train at his maximum every day and not play but every day being positive,” said Beale.
“I’m going to go for Andy Firth. A lot of fans might be saying ‘go on then, Andy hasn’t played he’s only had a couple of minutes against Kilmarnock so what is it?’
“Well he’s a fantastic team-mate, a fantastic kid, super positive and every day he trains his hardest.”
Andy Firth branded unsung Rangers hero
Signed from Barrow in January 2019, Andy Firth has been at Rangers for three years but has played only one game for the club, coming on as a sub against Kilmarnock in May 2019.
Now on loan at Partick Thistle, Firth still retains an important role in and around the side as evidenced by his presence in the win over Borussia Dortmund.
However, as Michael Beale explains, there are people in the background of football clubs who whilst they might not get as much gametime, play pivotal roles in the squad, such as Andy Firth and even Greg Stewart.
“I feel the year we won the league there was a lot of people who didn’t get recognition on the pitch who did a hell of a lot for the group on it,” said Beale.
“The thing is there’s people who never take from a football club and only give. The three people I mention give a lot and built the environment.
“The environment is very important. You go there every day and you probably see the other staff and players more than you see your family. If you’re a star you take the pressure and you’re on the pitch but you can make a change and a difference.
“There’s certain players around the squad that train every day and do ever so well.
“I could easily have mentioned Greg Stewart as well. He was very similar in that he trained to a high level every day but our team was performing and winning every week and he couldn’t find his way in.
“People said ‘aw, what’s wrong with Greg Stewart, why didn’t he play more?’. There wasn’t a lot wrong with Greg Stewart at all. He’s a fantastic person and made the environment we had, supported his team-mates week in, week out, even though it must have been difficult knowing inside he wasn’t playing and showed real quality in his training.
“That goes a long way to supporting the group. Football clubs are not easy places some days. Not everyone comes in smiling every day, they might have things going on personally, the results and the pressure at a club like Rangers are very high and it’s the people behind the scenes that just make the club tick over.
“In the year we won the league Andy Firth and Greg Stewart stand out as two players who really supported.”
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