Ex­pe­ri­enced Rangers sign­ing in­sists he is not over the Hill

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FOOT­BALL - STE­WART FISHER

CLINT HILL said last night that he plans to use David Weir as an ex­am­ple af­ter the vet­eran de­fender sealed a one-year con­tract at Rangers. The 37-year-old cen­tre-half, a for­mer team-mate of Joey Bar­ton’s at Queens Park Rangers, was pa­raded at Mur­ray Park yes­ter­day af­ter ar­riv­ing at the club as a free agent.

While he ac­knowl­edges his ad­vanced years will be a cause for scep­ti­cism, he in­sists he has been prov­ing peo­ple wrong for six years and sees no rea­son why the club can­not win the ti­tle in their first year back in the top flight.

“He [Weir] is def­i­nitely an ex­am­ple for me,” said Hill. “If you can get to 41 in pro­fes­sional foot­ball then you are def­i­nitely do­ing some­thing right. He was in the same sit­u­a­tion as me, an older pro com­ing to a big club. Maybe his sign­ing was not as ex­cit­ing as some were. So I will def­i­nitely be ask­ing him as the sea­son pro­gresses for more ad­vice.”

Hill’s ini­tial deal is for just 12 months but he sees no rea­son why he will not be able to ex­tend that. Pre-sea­son be­gins at Mur­ray Park to­day. “I hope so,” said Hill. “I never thought I would get to 37, I will be hon­est with you.

“Of course, there will be doubters, there will be fans ask­ing ‘Why have we done that?’,” he said. “I know I am not the most ex­cit­ing of sign­ings. But I am here to prove peo­ple wrong. I have had to do that at ev­ery club I have been at.

“I re­mem­ber af­ter my first pre-sea­son game at QPR, walk­ing down the road with Shaun Derry — and we were both told (where to go) in no uncer­tain terms. I man­aged to stay six years, 180 games and two pro­mo­tions, and changed a few minds. So hope­fully, if I get the chance here, I will do the same. It was only a friendly, that game — my first for the club. And it was QPR fans. It was quite funny, my­self and Shaun had just come from Crys­tal Palace — and we were both told to get back to the Ea­gles.”

If Hill’s first task is to el­bow his way into the Ibrox start­ing line-up, it is worth men­tion­ing that he does have form for catch­ing his new Rangers team-mate Rob Kier­nan with a swing­ing arm while play­ing for QPR against Wi­gan Ath­letic in a play-off semi-fi­nal.

“I have seen Rob to­day, he was in the chang­ing room ear­lier,” said Hill. “We shook hands. It is foot­ball, you have got to do things to win a game. There was no mal­ice in the chal­lenge from me, I did not mean to con­nect — and I did apol­o­gise straight away.”

Hill, who hails from the same Liv­er­pool sub­urb of Huy­ton as Bar­ton, is a huge ad­mirer of the mid­fielder. While he has of­fered his ser­vices as a coach with academy play­ers, his ar­rival is pri­mar­ily as a player. He has never at­tended an Old Firm game — but has seen plenty on the tele­vi­sion. We are from the same neck of the woods but we prob­a­bly got to know each other a bit more when he came to QPR,” said Hill. “We spent a tur­bu­lent four years there to­gether, while I was there for six. I re­spect him mas­sively, not just as a player but as a per­son and a friend. It is too strong to say we ran the dress­ing room but I would rather have Joey Bar­ton on my team than against me, to be hon­est with you.

“I am not com­ing up here for a hol­i­day. I would have cho­sen a dif­fer­ent op­tion if I wanted that. You can­not come to Glas­gow Rangers and ex­pect an easy ride. You need to be on the ball ev­ery day, in train­ing and even in the street. You need to be pro­fes­sional. And, more im­por­tantly, you need to win games of foot­ball — be­cause that is what the his­tory of this club is built on, win­ning tro­phies.”

Hill forms part of a back­bone of golden oldies at Ibrox — and Mark Hate­ley reck­ons their ser­vices can help Mark War­bur­ton’s side de­liver sil­ver­ware this term. Hill, 37, Bar­ton, 33, and Kenny Miller, 36, may soon be joined by 31-year-old Croa­t­ian play­maker Niko Kran­j­car — and Hate­ley reck­ons this vet­eran spine can give the club back­bone. “If you look at all suc­cess­ful teams then they have strength and knowl­edge through the spine,” said Hate­ley. “You can­not al­ways rely on the coach or man­ager to solve the prob­lems. It is eas­ier to fix with ex­pe­ri­ence.”

HOLDING UP: For­mer Queens Park Rangers de­fender Clint Hill, 37, is fol­low­ing the lead of as­sis­tant man­ager Davie Weir

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.