By Alex Stevens

Graeme Souness has revealed he tried to sign Ian Rush, Gianluca Vialli, Ray Houghton and John Collins when he was Rangers manager.

Souness brought a number of leading players to Rangers during his trophy-filled five year reign, including established England internationals like Terry Butcher, Chris Wood, Trevor Steven and Ray Wilkins.

Such was the ambition of Rangers at the time and the lure of Scotland while English clubs were banned from Europe, the midfield all-time great pushed hard for some big stars to move to Ibrox between 1986 and 1991.

“One or two players slipped through the net,” Souness told the Scottish Sun. “I tried to get Gianluca Vialli, I tried to get Ian Rush when he left Juventus.

“I tried to get John Collins. I also attempted to get Ray Houghton before Maurice Johnston came.”

Souness had played with prolific former striker Vialli at Sampdoria, while he knew Rush very well from their time together at Liverpool in the early 1980s.

Collins eventually joined Rangers’ bitter rivals Celtic from Hibernian, while Houghton remained at Liverpool.

Souness is convinced his Rangers team could have conquered English football, too, and still hopes a move happens.

He added: “At the time I was there, if we’d been in the English Premiership, we could have been champions of Britain.

“We’d have kept growing. Even now, we’d have been in the top four.

“If Rangers and Celtic were in the Premier League today, the stadiums would not be big enough. I pray it will happen one day.”

“We’d done the hard bit, we’d laid the foundations. I take great pride in the five years I had at Rangers. It’s easily the best job I had.

“I don’t wish I’d stayed but I accept now that I made a mistake in leaving. I thought every chairman and board of directors would be like the ones I had at Rangers, in David Holmes and David Murray.

“I was sure that’s how all football clubs were run but I quickly found out when I left that it’s not.

“My job was to try and attract the very best players and when I got them I had to get them to perform.”

In other Rangers news, ex-Celtic manager Neil Lennon is convinced there has been a shift in the Old Firm Landscape following Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final.