Former Rangers defender Craig Moore is questioning why the Scottish Premiership giants did not snap up Ryan Porteous before the Scotland international swapped Hibernian for Watford in January. 

When you consider how Mick Beale’s side have defended throughout much of the current campaign – that 5-1 hammering at PSV Eindhoven still fresh in the memory and goalkeeper Jack Butland already putting together quite the collection of virtuoso displays between the sticks – Rangers allowing Ryan Porteous to slip through the net and across the border feels increasingly like a dereliction of duty. 

The Edinburgh-born 24-year-old was one of the finest centre-halves in the Premiership until his move to Watford in the winter. Porteous was colossal as the Scottish national team secured high-profile wins over Spain and Norway too; the £450,000 fee paid by The Hornets looking more and more like a bargain.

Not to mention an opportunity Rangers really should have taken advantage of. 

Cyprus v Scotland: Group A - UEFA EURO 2024 European Qualifiers
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Rangers may rue not signing Ryan Porteous

“Porteous is one of probably a few that both Rangers and Celtic have probably ignored in terms of the domestic scene,” Moore tells Go Radio.  

“I think it has been overlooked, there’s no doubt about it.”

Rangers’ under-fire head coach Mick Beale did express his admiration for Porteous back in January; the 6ft 2ins stopper scoring in a 3-2 defeat for Hibs at Ibrox. Beale, however, also confirmed that – at the time – Porteous was not a potential transfer target on the radar of the Glasgow giants. 

“He’s not someone we’ve spoken about,” Beale said. “I think Ryan is a good young player. He sort of played in a new position tonight (shining in defensive midfield). Fair play to him.

“I was here when he made his debut (for Hibs) and he’s gone on to play for Scotland.

“I know it’s come out that he’s not going to sign a contract. That means he must have something on his mind. If that’s the case, that wouldn’t be Rangers, as we haven’t discussed it yet.” 

A £450k opportunity missed

Rangers currently feel rather light in the centre of defence; Ben Davies out of favour and 35-year-old summer signing Leon Balogun the shortest of short-term additions. 

Another defender is likely to be one of the top priorities in 2024.

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