Steven Naismith, Steven Whittaker and Kyle Lafferty


It is hard to refer to these three without casting one’s mind immediately back five years and to the hell of Summer 2012. It was a period of time we will never forget, nor should we, but this article is going to forego all discussion about it and examine the present day and the football side of things.

As we know, Pedro Caixinha is busy underway rebuilding his Rangers team in time for pre-season training. Naturally he is unlikely to have all business completed within two weeks but he will hope to have made major inroads by then, with further deals thereafter, and three of the most frequently-linked names are three of the so-called ‘deserters’ – Steven Naismith, Steven Whittaker and Kyle Lafferty.

All three ditched Rangers way back when but there is a lack of denying that time has healed the damage they did in the minds of some Bears and a portion of the support would accept a number of them back.

But would any of them actually add anything to Rangers’ squad?

Naismith was an exceptional player for Rangers, filling the role of two, maybe three players, and when he was injured, then-manager Ally McCoist could not compensate. Signings like Sone Aluko and Matt McKay, not to mention Juanma Ortiz were pale comparisons and Rangers’ lead in the league slid dramatically from that moment onwards. But that was five years ago – Naismith has aged five years, and naturally is not quite the same player. But he is one with a glut of top-level experience in the English Premiership, and is one of the rare success stories of SPL exports to England’s top flight with Everton.

He slid a bit thereafter at Norwich, a team who ended up relegated after his arrival and his form has been a little wavy the past few years, but it is the old cliché; ‘he would walk the SPL’.

Many claim it is in fact a done deal and Rangers are bookmakers’ favourite to sign him. They also said Pedro Caixinha was the favourite to become Rangers manager…

Verdict: Take Him.

Moving onto Whittaker, the truth is he was a pretty ordinary utility full back for Rangers. Frequently cited over that goal in Portugal, Whittaker was a poor man’s Hutton and while he did not quite disgrace himself, he was certainly not a memorable player for anything else he did on the pitch. That said, with doubts over both James Tavernier and Lee Hodson’s futures, and only Wallace and Beerman on the other side, Whittaker might be a useful tool to have. However, he has probably been more linked to Hibernian than Rangers anyway.

Verdict: Probably Take Him.

Last but not least Lafferty, who is said to be in ‘advanced talks’ about a return to Ibrox. The Northern Ireland international’s club career has certainly struggled of late, with unproductive loans to Turkey then Birmingham. The 29 year old did not half bad in Italy’s Serie A for Palermo though, chipping in with just under one in three for a struggling Sicilian side, and has stated he does want to return to Rangers.

Verdict: Take Him.

Four years ago I would never have dreamed of accepting any of those back but times change and Rangers’ squad is desperately in need of quality.


  1. Whittaker is past his best and Laffertjy was probably the biggest mistake (money wise) teh cardigan ever made so it's a definite no way from me. I'd be delighted to see Naismith back in blue.

  2. Not going say to much about this but some one will step in and give Naismith more money than ewe can offer, Lafferty again if some one else wants him and pay more money than us then he will not come here,Whittaker is the one we could get and would have to pay around £10 thousand a week for,but listen to many older boys in there 30s is as bad as too many young lads,we need only 3 or 4 in there 30s and most of the team in late teens early 20s if we have a future do not spend all the money on some old has beens.

  3. If we take one, two or all three of them it has to be on terms that are financially beneficial to Rangers F.C. and if they are willing to accept a very large cut in their financial packets to help us rebuild then it would have to be yes but it definitely has to favour the club financially otherwise we'd be better signing six players on half the wages and develop them and take our chance s from there.

  4. I agree with this article, These three players would definitely help us next season and they would at least guarantee we would give selic a game.

  5. Only one I would take back is naismith the other 2 are probably just as bad as what we have now

  6. I wouldn't take any of them. It would be nice to help Naismith out and allow him to be closer to his family back home, with a nice salary and a 4-year contract. Naismith today needs Rangers more than Rangers need Naismith; we can find better and younger quality than him today. He's a decent footballer, but is he so good that we can't do without him? I don't think so. The other two are nowhere near the standard we need. Getting back to past glories is not about getting back past players. We tried that with Andy Halliday and Danny Wilson, remember? We get to our target by building a youthful team. One we should have built 5 years ago.

    • JC…imo your comparisons don't stand up… also where would the money come from to acquire similar younger versions of them…we paid some seven million or so back then !! I'd have both Naismith and Lafferty back asap… personally I'd love love love it if we could get oor hands on young Paterson from hearts as our right back…that young man has what we are totally devoid of… physicality,dig,attitude and he chips in wae some goals. If as a suspect and we don't push the boat oot tae get him…I'd prefer we make a move for Hutton tae come back.

    • If that's your opinion, it's cool. I'm just giving my own. No one needs to agree.
      A poll was carried out in March by Norwich City fans, with 1000 taking part in voting ( 70% of these fans said that Naismith should leave. 89% said Whittaker should leave.
      Out of all the players we're linked with…Jack, Moult, Paterson, and so on – if a poll were carried out by the fans of each respective club, I highly doubt any of the players would score higher than 20%; they are all highly rated by their fans, which explains why we might be interested in them.
      Regarding our ability to attrach better players – Moussa Dembele cost Celtic 500k. The young striker at Chelsea, Dominic Solanke, would command the same development fee; Chelsea want to keep him, but he wants first-team football. Perhaps there are others like him…

    • Jorg you are bang on there we should have had that youthful team waste of time and money the last five years.

    • Jorg

      It pains me to say it but once again I bloody agree with you.. Get Boyce and Moult for cheaper than both Naismith & Lafferty's wages.. If we get two CB's in I'm certain Bates can also play at RB as he did it Falkirk.. Get new young blood rather than living in the past just my view..

    • Jorg

      I go to a lot of games down here, Sheffield Wednesday is my other team so we go to Hillsborough a lot, but this season we went to Norwich away as I was working there. All of the guys I worked with were big Norwich fans and none of them had a good word to say about any of them, sometimes I thought a bit harsh on Naismith but they went every week so were far more up to speed on them than I was.

      The Owls beat Norwich 5:1 at Hillsborough after drawing 0:0 with them at Carrow Road. Naismith was the only one involved in the games and I did watch him during the game, the drive and work ethic was missing from him and I remember how he kept a back 4 on its toes on his own…sadly I also watched the manager and felt decidedly sorry for him, a lone figure standing by the touchline, not one player or backroom staff member stood with him or went to see him as they were humiliated, sure enough he was gone within the week…the sad life of football management.

      I did see Whittaker two seasons before at Hillsborough and he was awful, dire and constantly, like Tavernier, caught miles out of position….so the two of them are a definite no for me, firstly for how they stabbed us, the fans in the back when they left for fcuk all, unlike Steve Davies who made sure a fee was paid, probably the best £1m Southampton ever spent, but it showed the integrity of both player and club at the time and I have nothing but respect for them both….unlike those two.

      As for Lafferty, well he wasn't good enough first time round so not sure how he will be a whole lot better this time round…so for me, a big no but thanks for the interest.


    • Exactly, lads. Agree too re Davis at Saints…a proper player and an excellent club (the way they conduct their business and raise their youth is an example to follow. Our media team at Ibrox could learn from theirs too!). Sad that Sheff Wed didn't get promoted this year, Gordo. A sleeping giant of a club and one that should really be up in the Prem every year.

  7. Four years ago I would also have never have dreamed of accepting any of these three back but times do change and the poor standard of the Rangers’ squad is desperately in need of some quality. I say YES to Naismith – MAYBE to Lafferty and a resounding NO to Whittaker who is a Hibs standard player, let them have the poor defender.

  8. If the money is right and they are eager to make it up to the fans then I'd say take Naismith and Laff. I'd take Whitts too unless we could get Alan Hutton back, who is also on a free if we want him.

  9. I would take them back if they want to come. BUT, they need to accept that we are not paying the wages we were 5 years ago, never mind what they have been earning in England. If they want to come back to earn some redemption, then lets see what they achieve. After that we will decide whether or not we forgive.

    Whittaker is the one who I didn't mind leaving. He never claimed to be a Rangers fan, so is entitled to look after himself. He is a better RB than we have, so if he wants to sign for our kind of wages, fine. It will help the young guys come through. We may be better with 26 year olds, but if they are good we can't afford them.

    Lafferty I was never happy with. He wasn't that good, we had to defend him a lot for his behaviour and he cost us a decent whack. But if he wants to come for the money we are paying these days, I suspect he is better than Garner.

    Naismith is the one that hurt. We stood by him when he was injured. I can understand that he doesn't want to go down the leagues; wouldn't have asked him too. All he had to do to gain undying loyalty was publicly say I stand by my club. Privately, he explains he is not playing in the bottom league, so the club have a summer to sell him for whatever they can get. But he shows loyalty and brings in some much needed funds. Never mind that the crooks would have stolen it. He would have earned our respect and loyalty – its a two way street. He didn't.

    At the end of the day, we care about the club, not the money. Ally may not be god's gift to management, but he stayed. He held the club together in our darkest days and I will never forget that. Neither should anybody else, whatever you may think of his management. A legend. Now and Forever.

    McCulloch stayed. Yes, he was well paid, no he maybe didn't have a lot of options. But he stayed. He gave us the best he could, played any position he was asked, and fought his heart out for the team and the club. I was glad when he left, his time had come and gone, but I was so extremely glad when, in our hour of need, he pinned his colours to the mast and said "I stay" As did Wallace, who could have gone to England and made good money and kept a Scotland career. Maybe he is a homebody; doesn't matter. He stayed. I suspect John Fleck would have stayed, but McCoist made it clear he wasn't wanted. Close your eyes for a minute and think what we would have done if those last, those few, had walked. Where would our soul have been, our identity? Without Rangers fans, what are we?

    Americans and Romanians stayed, publicly, while making it clear they would not be playing in the bottom league. Respect, no problem with that.

    But some badge kissing, traitorous b*st*rds ran. I can never forgive or forget that. There was one young guy who had been injured for a couple of years, Ness maybe?, who could have shown some loyalty and didn't, but there were so many.

    These three? I will let them come back and try to make amends. Maybe they will do something so spectacular that I will forgive them. I can't think what, but I will concede it is theoretically possible. But I will be a long time cold in my grave before I ever forget. Lafferty can score a hat-trick at the Piggery, Naismith can win us the Champions League. Not enough. I will never forget.

    Bitter? Maybe. But I am Rangers. I will never run. WATP

    • Well said ,I am 61 and have been a true blue all my life .I have seen good times and bad times with the "Gers", love them I do but 2012 hurt me through and through and to see these players loyal or not just RUN as fast out on the club and leave us near to dead still hurts ,never bring them back they hurt our club so badly, and for all you so called Bears fans out there that still slags of Ally McCoist F–k, grow up or f–k off he is not the only " Gers" player to have become our manager and was crap, he was voted our greatest player ever Ally has been loyal to the core for Rangers and do not forget… ALLY IS A BEAR TO THE CORE…. ARE YOU …..WHEN YOU SLAG HIM OFF…… In the Gers I trust till I die…….

    • Well put, ScotsWhaHae. You're a more kind-hearted man than me though;). It's the PR thing that concerns me regarding Naismith. He's a decent player, maybe even a good one, but I'd like to think we could do better while avoiding the messy PR.

  10. Naismith on 2 year contract. Forget other 2.Over 30s always a gamble. Generally looking for retirement package. There are always exceptions and Naismith was outstanding for us. Generally though we should be signing experienced 25 year old players who are also strong.Midfield little guys , no matter how good, get brushed aside in modern game.

  11. Like most I say yes to Naismith. I'm a bit doubtful about Lafferty and Whittaker. But such is our dire situation they needs must. They certainly can't be any worse than what we've got just now. With a substantial pay cut and on our terms then I would take Naismith and probably Lafferty. Unsure of Whittaker.

  12. Steven Naismith – "I haven't quit Rangers – I have quit Sevco."

    First question he'll be asked by reporters – "Have you returned to Rangers or to Sevco, Steven?"

    First of many banners you'll see at away grounds next season – "Welcome back to Sevco, Naisy".

    I, for one, can do without it. He's just not good enough for that hassle.

    • If you think we haven't shot ourselves in the foot with enough bad PR in the past few years, go ahead and welcome him.

    • p.s. signing a player who said the club died and was replaced by Sevco…to you, that's not moronic…

    • That isn't exactly what Naismith said and he would transform Rangers into credible challengers. What he did will always hurt and his conduct in 2012 was despicable, but as long as he makes a grovelling apology at the signing press conference, I'd take him back in a heartbeat! The filth would love for us to cut our nose off to spite our face, by not bringing him back! We lack leaders and whatever else Naismith is, he is a leader on the park and that's what we need. I don't want Lafferty or Whittaker anywhere near Ibrox, because they were average at best first time around! But I hope that we make an exception for Naismith. We must do everything possible to stop them reaching 9!

  13. we cant be this desperate, we need to hold on for better options or are we all too suspicious of the season ticket money we have been promised?
    Garner is as good as Laffarty, Hodson better than Whittaker and Nico better than Naismith so why are we so desperate to allow these 3 to come back, we dont need them and they wont offer any progression value.

  14. No. I wouldn't take any of them back. We need players that want to play for the club regardless of which division we are in.

  15. I cant believe we are this desperate, all we have heard this season from all fans (Myself included)is how the current squad are not good enough to play for the shirt, this squad doesn't know what it means to play for the Rangers shirt etc etc
    Now today too many seem to be too willing to invite back with open arms the 3 that walked away 5 years ago because they didn't want to play for the shirt!!
    The only part of this story i agree with is the moving on part and we should all move on like these 3 did 5 years when we needed them most and tell them to f*ck off, i am glad that after what they did they want to come back just so we get the opportunity to say tough shit now f*ck off we do not need you or want you.

  16. Naithsmith yes other two not a chance as they are no better than what we have steve davis and niko jelavik and Ryan gault along with those supposedly in the bag would be my choices

  17. All three are better than what we have, BUT if the best we can manage is to try to bring back the past then we are in a worse state than I thought.

    We need imagination, we need to be attracting younger players that we can sell on and we need to start scouting the lower leagues across Europe.

  18. Naismith, yes, he's good and he's got something to prove/resolve. Laff and Whit, no thanks.

  19. Not good enough. Would rather have a season developing youth than the 3 suggested. Past their best. Simple.

  20. Agree Naisy …Why o Why are we not trying to get the laddie Murray from Dundee Utd …he's got great potential Anyone else agree

  21. Would not take any of them–would go for Moult and Simon Murray –both at a good age and strong up front–they chase everything so would give any defence a hard time

  22. I was so happy when we signed Naisy, so so happy. Made it all the more distressing when he bailed. As someone previously said- fine if he came out and said he was doing it for his career etc. but to just bail? Yes, he's a quality player but that still hurts a lot.

    Whittaker was fine for the time- a journeyman. It would be like the Stevie Smith re-signing all over. Backwards.
    Lafferty and that "head-butt" nonsense is nothing we need at Ibrox. Other younger, stronger, feistier players to consider. These three would be backwards, like Ally and the Championship.
    Why pay them the thousands when there are hungry players out there who would die to pull on the blue shirt?
    Not for me.

  23. I try to compare what we have with what the three of them would give to us. Naismith in my mind would be a direct replacement for Kenny Miller, forget all that went on in the past and the fact, if fit , gives us exactly what we need, footballing ability and aggression.
    Whitaker to me is 50/50, I can take him or leave him, but if we get him for a reasonable pay packet, I personally class him better defensively than Tavernier, Hodson, young Beerman at the moment and Wallace.
    Lafferty would have been ideal when Warburton was manger, he has the ability to play in all three forward positions, as one other pundit said, he isn't exactly a success at club level, but in Internationals is outstanding, so I would leave that one up toPedro, if he fits into his style of play , sign him.

  24. NAISMITH AND LAFFERTY yes, WHITTAKER only yes if we cant get Paterson. Not interested in the politics behind them leaving before, at that time they had careers and families to think of, and there was nothing guaranteed by hanging around to see what happens.Shame there are so many bitter people on here and Rangers banter page,

    • I agree with you wholeheartedly, at times we sometimes forget that our loyalty to things have to be compromised whenever your future or your families future is concerned. Those times were the blackest and bleakest time in my lifetime as a Rangers supporter. How must those young men have felt at that time when their careers were threatened. Excellent comment Ulsterfry.

  25. If Ped did sign Naisy, Laffy and Whitty would we win the league next season. Nah. Don't think so. If we signed Bruno Valves, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo we might. Never going to happen. In my opinion we should be budgeting to win the league in 2018/19. The 3 amigos would only get older with no sell on value. We should be investing in younger players like Moult who can score in this league and our own youngsters coming through (eg Barjonas, Serge Atakayi), who can improve and command sell on fees and still achieve a more competitive second place this season. We should be budgeting to win the league 2019 and use whatever transfer pot we have sensibly. Move on the likes of Kiernan , Waghorn and Halliday and let O'halleron go on loan to Motherwell as part of the Moult deal. Our turn will come. Let's not despair. I'm 71 and been watching the Gers since I was 9 years old. Watched the likes of Wee Willie Henderson, Sandy Jardine, John Greig, Durranty and their ilk come through the ranks. Our future lies in younger players. We don't have millions to spend on established stars, and we don't want to waste money in the pick and mix shelf.

    • Exactly Alec. Buying guys in their 30s just continues the endless cycle of buying, buying and more buying. A lot of our support realise it, but I wish more would.

  26. I recall Pedro stating that his policy was to sign players that he had previously worked with or had observed in opposition teams. How do these three fall into that criteria? Perhaps they have good agents trying to peddle players whose best years are behind them. I thought that our policy was to develop our own young players and if necessary sell them on for a profit.

  27. All three have limited prospects and obviously will say the right things if there's a chance to being signed. If we forget the history of the dark days ok but must consider the future and they aren't really it. Naismith could be a fit but leave the others alone.
    Rangers need to stop looking over their shoulder and get a team for the future.

  28. I wouldn't take any of them back,they didn't just walk out the door they ran as fast as they could,I'd rather give the young boys a game than those 3.

  29. I will sum this up if any of the above can not find a team to give them more money than we can then they will come searching for us to take them has beens are like that i would stay clear of them.

  30. Norwich supporter here. Naismith has been shocking almost every game. He can't make a simple pass, falls over at every opportunity and shouts at everyone else. Can't fault Whittaker for effort but he lacks skill and concentration. Not up to English Championship level! Lafferty doesn't appear to have been given much chance to impress here but rumours are that he is disruptive!

Comments are closed.