Football: Hendry given his chance to captain Rangers

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COLIN HENDRY will achieve a lifetime's ambition tonight when he wears the Rangers captain's armband for the first time. The Ibrox club's manager, Dick Advocaat, confirmed yesterday that the Scotland captain will lead the team out in the Uefa Cup match against Bayer Leverkusen.

However, Hendry will remain third in line for the post on a permanent basis - the usual captain, Lorenzo Amoruso, misses the second round first- leg game in Germany as he is suspended while the vice-captain, Arthur Numan, is still recovering from a knee injury.

Amoruso, who will also miss the League Cup semi-final against Airdrie on Sunday after being sent off against Hearts, is expected to regain the role against Motherwell next week.

Hendry, a Rangers fan since boyhood, has taken his time to settle in at Ibrox after his pounds 4m move from Blackburn but his appointment has been applauded in the dressing-room. The Scotland midfielder Barry Ferguson said: "I don't think there is any doubt Colin is a leader. He has shown that with Scotland in the past year. Colin is a good talker and when I broke into the Scotland squad he helped me settle in."

Advocaat's decision to make Amoruso skipper ahead of Hendry dismayed many Rangers supporters, but the Dutchman insists he has no qualms about promoting the 32-year-old central defender. "He has been a captain for about a hundred years," Advocaat said. "There is nothing I need tell him. Colin knows the game inside out and is a very experienced player."

Amoruso's absence means that either Gordan Petric or the Scotland Under- 21 defender Scott Wilson will step up. Advocaat may also be tempted to sacrifice the Finnish striker Jonatan Johansson against the Germans and include another midfielder such as Ian Ferguson. But first the Ibrox manager will monitor the fitness of Giovanni van Bronckhorst, who trained alone this morning after picking up a slight hamstring injury.

Leverkusen, currently lying third in the Bundesliga, can call on the likes of the Brazil World Cup squad men Emerson and Ze Roberto as well as German internationals such as the striker Ulf Kirsten and the sweeper Jens Nowotny.