Rangers favourite has 'no doubt' striker will depart as ex-Hearts coach talks collapsed move for Celtic winger

 Andy Halliday has had his verdict on Rangers’ striker conundrum, while Lee McCulloch has explained why Hearts failed to land an exciting Celtic star 
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Former Rangers defender Andy Halliday has backed Cyriel Dessers to be the club’s first choice forward until the end of the season and claims he doesn’t understand the clamour from fans to start returning striker Kemar Roofe.

Dessers is the team’s second top scorer this season with 17 goals from 44 appearances in all competitions. However, in recent weeks he has been criticised for some of his performances and his composure in front of goal, particularly against Ross County last time out when the team fell to a shock 3-2 defeat.

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Halliday added that the team were desperately short of a striker in the January transfer window and claimed that the forward that they did sign, Fabio Silva, is not an out and out striker and feels that he would be better deployed as an advanced midfielder.

Speaking on Clyde Superscoreboard, Andy Halliday started by discussing Rangers’ shortcomings in January. He said: “ Any Rangers fan will agree (the club had to sign a striker in January),” said Halliday.

“Going into the January window you knew that Philippe Clement was going to maybe bring in two or three players.

“You felt as if that real priority position was that out-and-out striker, they feel as if they brought that in with Fabio Silva.

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“But I think anyone that’s watched him he’s never seemed like an out-and-out striker, he’s always someone who wants to be arriving in the box or driving at a back four rather than somebody who wants to play with his back to goal.

“Dessers is going to play at the weekend and then he’ll play the next week and the week after that because, to be honest, he’s the best striker Rangers have got just now for me.”

This led to a discussion about Jamaican international Kemar Roofe - a player that was signed just months after Halliday’s departure from Ibrox.

The 31-year-old was signed from Anderlecht in 2020 for a fee in the region of £4.5m - similar to Dessers - though his time at Ibrox has been blighted by injuries and he has thus far registered 26 goals in 59 league appearances, with just two of those coming in the last two seasons.

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Roofe’s existing contract at Rangers is due to expire at the end of the season and Halliday believes that his days are numbered. He explained: “Where’s the evidence that Kemar Roofe is as good as people make out that he is when he’s injured?

“Listen he’s done OK for Rangers, he’s done well at times, but what’s the most consecutive that Kemar Roofe’s played? I don’t imagine it’s that many.”

When asked if Kemar Roofe is likely to leave in the summer, Halliday added: “Aw yeah, I don’t think there’s any doubt about it.

“Listen, we know there’s talent there but he’s obviously not been very fit and – I’m speculating here – but you imagine he’s on quite a big wage.

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Former Hearts coach discusses the reason that Mikey Johnston transfer fell through

Former Hearts assistant boss Lee McCulloch has revealed how a move to Tynecastle for Celtic winger Mikey Johnston fell apart.

Johnston struggled for first team minutes in the first half of the campaign, but is now enjoying some of the best form of his career out on loan at West Brom. 

Since arriving at the Hawthorns in January he has registered seven goals from 15 appearances in the Championship and was lauded as the league’s Player of the Month for March.

But things could have been very different for the Republic of Ireland international had he opted to make a move to Gorgie. Former Jambos' assistant McCulloch has told the Daily Record that Robbie Neilson was keen to make a move for Johnston before the end of the summer window in 2022 - with the forward eventually opting to gamble and sign with Portuguese top flight side Vitoria Guimaraes on loan.

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During his time in Portugal he managed just one goal and four assists in 25 appearances, but he could well have been an asset in the capital.

McCulloch explained to PLZ the reasons behind the knock back. He said: "We tried to get Mikey Johnston at Hearts and he didn't want to leave Celtic. And if he did leave Celtic he didn't want to go to another Scottish team."

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