As Rangers stumble at the beginning of the new season things haven’t quite got up and running yet at Ibrox.

A mixture of delayed returns, transfer and contract speculation and of course the small matter of the Champions League has weighed heavy so far but we’re still backing the Bears to come good.

Dundee United v Rangers FC - Cinch Scottish Premiership

The Rangers team must bounce back from a first defeat in 41 in the Scottish Premiership, falling 1-0 away to Dundee United. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)

Looking ahead to the next campaign, we’ve identified three Rangers stars who – at differing levels and for differing reasons – can properly announce themselves at Ibrox this season.

Calvin Bassey

When Calvin Bassey signed on at Ibrox, the capture of the ex-Leicester City full-back caught almost everyone by surprise.


The Gers reportedly pipped the likes of Bayer Leverkusen and West Ham to sign the left-back [Express] who has all the attributes to reach the top of the game.

Despite never playing a first team game for the Foxes, Rangers brought Bassey in as direct competition for Croatian international Borna Barisic.

rangers livingston

Calvin Bassey impressed in pre-season and will be hoping to get more chances at Rangers this season – he made 15 appearances in the last campaign, scoring once.(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

It was a stuttering first campaign at Ibrox not without its positives and there’s a real feeling that Bassey can kick on from here.

However, Bassey’s performance in the League Cup defeat to St Mirren and in getting an SFA for attending a houseparty perhaps showed the player’s lack of maturity at this level.

But going by pre-season, Calvin has returned a man determined to leave his impression on the side this season and we’re backing him to do just that.

Stephen Kelly

There’s a bit of a caveat regarding our tip for Stephen Kelly to properly announce himself at the Gers this season.

That concerns the player’s immediate future by the time the transfer window closes.

Kelly has spent the last two seasons out on loan and impressed in both, starring for Ayr United in the Championship before helping Ross County to retain their Premiership status in the last campaign.

There will be no shortage of suitors when it comes to a short-term deal for this very well-regarded midfielder but Rangers themselves may opt to keep Kelly around.

Tranmere Rovers v Glasgow Rangers  - Pre-Season Friendly

Kelly is another who impressed in pre-season but there remains some conjecture over the midfielder’s short-term Rangers future. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

Kelly certainly impressed in pre-season and many see the youngster as the potential understudy of Ibrox veteran Steven Davis.

To get proper experience he’d need to stick around but Rangers are tipped to go back into the transfer market with reports of a £7m package on the table for Joey Veerman [Glasgow Times].

Should Kelly stick around it means Steven Gerrard and co envisage using him this season – and that means this could be the campaign where Kelly begins to make his name as a Gers player.

Ianis Hagi

It feels somewhat strange to suggest that a player who topped the Scottish Premiership assist chart last season and hauled Rangers to Europa League victory over Braga could yet announce himself.

But whilst there’s little doubt Ianis has shown us in flashes what a fantastic player he can be, we’re backing this to be the year the 22-year-old takes a defining step in his development.

We’re talking about Ianis going from influential and important squad player to an ever-reliable first team force who is a key driver of our success.

At one point one of Europe’s most coveted young talents, Ibrox is a stage befitting the young Romanian and his name, made famous by legendary father Gheorghe.

Hagi started the season on fine form, kicking us off with the opener against Livingston, before he was cruelly crocked by Lions defender Adam Lewis.

Tranmere Rovers v Glasgow Rangers  - Pre-Season Friendly

Ibrox star Hagi made 45 appearances last season, netting eight goals and laying on 15 assists, but there are still levels for him to climb at Rangers. (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

We saw just how much we missed the influential attacking midfielder in defeats to Dundee United and Malmo and that same influence is set to be exerted across the campaign.

It’s time for Ianis to announce himself as a leader and footballer who consistently delivers; an asset who can be relied upon to produce every, single week.

We’re backing this campaign to be the campaign in which Ianis does just that.

The Champions League seems a stage befitting a player of Hagi’s talent and Rangers have been boosted by some major news regarding the player this week.


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