One of Rangers’ more downplayed transfers of the summer was that of Russell Martin. The central defender has been capped many times for Scotland, albeit himself being English, and his performances for Norwich over the years in the upper echelons of the English Premier League have certainly been those of a leader, a commander, a player who the Canaries sent out onto the pitch almost 300 times.
That says it all about the regard in which the 32-year old is held in the game, and even last season the ex-Wycombe man still had a heavy role to play as captain at Carrow Road.
On top of Graham Dorrans and youngster Glenn Middleton, Rangers have not been shy in bringing players from Daniel Farke’s lot, and as we know, Rangers did take interest briefly in Steven Naismith too but elected against it.
As for Martin? Few could say he has blown them away, but short of a spectacular talent like Jean Alain Boumsong or Carlos Cuellar, it is hard for a defender to stand out.
But Martin has been quietly effective – since he joined, Rangers have only conceded two goals and won three of four matches of those in which he played – the exception being a rampant Hibs with the predictable nuisance of Scott Allan.
Rangers do seem a little more trustworthy with him in defence, and while it is not quite perfect, it feels more robust with him partnering Bates than it did with Alves.
We are talking about a player well aware of the SPL, well aware of the size of Rangers, and who has eased into his role at Ibrox pretty inconspicuously.
The one thing that has been functioning quite well of late is defence. Sure, it does get breached, but that is football – not even Barca, or PSG can avoid conceding goals occasionally.
There is an option to buy this summer, and we can see Rangers taking that option up – it is puzzling why Norwich’s ‘new’ manager Daniel Farke just does not fancy the internationalist, but he does not, and Norwich’s willing loss seems to be Rangers’ gain at the moment.
Long may it continue.