Glasgow welcomes Gascoigne

JOHN ARLIDGE

After three troubled years in the Eternal City playing for Lazio, Paul Gascoigne arrived in Glasgow yesterday and said Rangers would "put the smile back on my face". The 28-year-old England international returned to British football when he signed a pounds 4.3m contract with the Ibrox club. The three-year deal makes him the most expensive and the highest-paid footballer in the history of the Scottish game.

Some 1,000 fans - many sporting the player's peroxide blonde crew cut - turned out to welcome him. They said Gascoigne would help make Rangers "not only one of Europe's best supported and wealthiest clubs, but also one of the best."

Beset by injury problems in Italy, Gascoigne told a press conference that he felt "very fit" and "couldn't wait" to start playing. His first game - unlikely to be a full 90 minutes - will be against Brondby in a pre-season tournament in Denmark next week. His home debut will come at the Rangers International Tournament on 29 July.

Following speculation that he might make an 11th-hour move to Manchester United, Gascoigne confirmed that he had had talks with several English clubs, but had decided to move north of the border because Rangers was "a massive club with a huge following and a lot of top-class players." The midfielder will play alongside the Danish international Brian Laudrup, the French star Basile Boli and England's Mark Hateley.

"Some great England players have come here in the past like Ray Wilkins, Chris Woods and Terry Butcher. I want to follow in their footsteps," he said. Asked if he would recapture the form he showed in the 1990 World Cup and during his four years at Tottenham, he said: "Yes and more. I've hardly played in the past three years. I still feel 25. I've come here to enjoy my football."

Sitting alongside Gascoigne at Ibrox, the Rangers manager, Walter Smith, struggled to make himself heard above the chants of the fans who had lined the streets outside the stadium. Smith said that he would build a team around Gascoigne, whom he described as "one of the best midfield players in Europe". Compared with the pounds 7m United paid for Andy Cole, or the pounds 8.5m Liverpool put up for Stan Collymore, Smith said that if Gascoigne fulfilled his potential, the record deal could turn out to be the "best bargain" in Rangers' history.

David Murray, the Rangers' chairman, predicted that Gascoigne would help the Ibrox side win a record 10 consecutive Scottish League championships and win through to the final rounds in European competition. "That's where our ambitions lie," he said.

The signing will give a much-needed fillip to the Scottish game, which has been in the doldrums in recent years after poor performances by club sides in Europe and the national team's failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup. Gascoigne said yesterday he was "fed up with people putting down Scottish football." He would, he said, "talk and play it up".

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
Life and Style
i100

Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst – 2 year fixed term contract – Kent – Circa £55k

£45000 - £55000 Per Annum 31 days holiday, pension, healthcare, annual bonus: ...

Experienced Foundation Teacher

£100 - £222 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recruiting f...

SEN Learning Support Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: SEN TA's apply now! West Midlands

Network Infrastructure Technical Lead - up to £45k DOE - Surrey

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week