Midfielder Bendiksen completes Tromso deal

Rangers' injury-plagued Norwegian turns down the offer of a new Ibrox contract to return home

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The Independent Football

Thomas Kind Bendiksen has completed his move from Rangers to Tromso. Rangers manager Ally McCoist revealed that the Norwegian midfielder was heading home, and Tromso yesterday announced that he had signed a three-year contract.

Rangers had offered the 22-year-old a new contract and they say they will be entitled to compensation following his move. Bendiksen, whose contract had expired, struggled to make an impact after signing for Rangers in August 2007, with his progress hindered by a serious knee injury.

However, he scored in a friendly defeat by Hamburg in November and made his first competitive start for the club in a 2-1 win over Dunfermline last month. Bendiksen also made two more substitute appearances, in victories over Hibernian and Inverness, but his heart was clearly set on a return home to Norway.

Bendiksen told Tromso's official website: "I had a very good contract offer from Rangers but I said 'no thanks'. Tromso IL are a good club with ambitions to be even better. I aim to play my way to a permanent place in the team and look forward to an exciting season, both at home and not least in the Europa League."

Bendiksen's departure comes amid a shortage of attacking options for McCoist, who vowed to hold transfer discussions with chairman Craig Whyte after Monday's 3-0 win over Motherwell, which kept Rangers two points behind the Scottish Premier League leaders, Celtic.

Nikica Jelavic, the subject of mounting transfer speculation, missed the game with a groin strain, while Kyle Lafferty was taken off on a stretcher early on with a hamstring injury that McCoist fears may keep the forward out for anything up to four or five weeks.

With Steven Naismith ruled out for the season with a knee injury, David Healy was the only experienced striker fit enough to take on Motherwell. Healy was making his first league start of the season and responded with his first goal of the campaign to give Rangers the lead 10 minutes before the break.

The 32-year-old had struggled to make a major impact beforehand, however, but McCoist was happy with his introduction. "Even without his goal, I thought Healy's performance in terms of forward play was really good," McCoist said. "If I had one criticism of our front men in recent weeks, it would probably be that the ball hasn't been sticking enough for us.

"It's not been solid, it's not been tight and we've not been allowed to bring people in. It was important that we made that change and I thought David Healy did it really well. He showed up, was taking a touch and bringing people in."

One of Healy's former managers, Billy Davies, was at the game working for Rangers TV and he has backed the Northern Ireland record goal-scorer to seize his chance.

Davies, the former Rangers midfielder, said: "I was fortunate enough to have him at Preston and he was a terrific player for us at that time and he has been an excellent international player.

"What David needs now is a run of games. It's okay coming in and out but he will be wanting to try to string some matches together. He had the opportunity to come in and do what he does best and score and he did that. I thought he took his goal well after a very good run from Maurice Edu – and it was a typical David Healy finish.

"The one thing he does give you is maximum commitment because he is a fantastic professional, and there's no doubt that the goal will have done him the world of good.

"You don't have the career record he has without being a good player, and the other thing about him is that he is a very honest lad and he always works very hard."

McCoist is looking for reinforcements, though, and refused to rule out a contract offer to former Ibrox striker Nacho Novo, who trained with his former team-mates during the festive season.

A proposed loan move for John Fleck to Sheffield United looks to be off, however, after the attacking midfielder replaced Lafferty against Motherwell, and McCoist will now hope to persuade Whyte to allow him to bring in his targets.

The Rangers manager said: "I've got names, absolutely. I've got as many names as anybody wants, to be honest with you. I know what we want and I know what we need and I know what we would like to get. That's where we are at the moment."