Football: Hendry to lead Rangers at last

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The Independent Online
By David McKinney

IT HAS taken a long time for his football dreams to come true, but on Thursday Colin Hendry is expected to be offered the chance to play out the Braveheart scenario for real as captain of Rangers.

The Ibrox club face Bayer Leverkusen in the Uefa Cup and with Lorenzo Amoruso suspended the captain's armband will naturally fall to Hendry.

Many observers have been surprised that Dick Advocaat has stuck with the Italian as his captain and with Amoruso facing a domestic suspension after being sent off against Hearts on Saturday for aiming a kick at David Weir, Hendry will have time to settle into the role as captain.

"I've often looked at Rangers' European results from England and wondered why they haven't done better and now I'm part of the Rangers team and it's my chance to influence the results," said Hendry.

There's no doubt Rangers will be stretched further by the Germans than they were by Hearts, who were a huge disappointment. At the very time when they wanted to show they could go to Glasgow and compete, having beaten Rangers in their last two games one of which was the Scottish Cup final, the Edinburgh club massively under-achieved.

With Rangers holding a seven-point lead over Celtic at the top of the league, Advocaat continues to hold out for a hero. With Ally McCoist at Kilmarnock and Marco Negri in exile, the coach is looking for a proven goal-scorer to provide a finish for outfield moves which have become both fluid and varied.

That is not to ignore the contribution of Rod Wallace who scored twice against Hearts and leads the Premier Division scoring chart with Albertz. But the Englishman would surely benefit from a striking partner.

Celtic, too, are in need of a recognised hitman and once again Harald Brattbakk produced mixed emotions among the Celtic support in the 2-2 draw with Dunfermline. He scored Celtic's second goal to earn them a point but on the stroke of half-time was guilty of a glaring miss.