By James Black
Former Ibrox winger Andrei Kanchelskis has revealed then-Rangers owner David Murray stopped reporters asking questions about a supposed mafia link following the Russian’s move to Glasgow.
The Russian cost a then-record £5.5million when he moved to Ibrox from Fiorentina in 1998 and stories in the media at the time claimed Russian mobsters were protecting the former Manchester United winger after running up huge gambling debts south of the border.
As one of Dick Advocaat’s first signings after taking over as Rangers manager, Kanchelskis was an under-valued part of the Rangers side under the Dutchman.
Kanchelskis admitted that Murray killed the bizarre story and it quickly faded away as the Russian enjoyed a successful spell at Ibrox.
“David Murray was a great man,” said Kanchelskis, as quoted by the Evening Times.
“He was always speaking to the players after training sessions.
“When I signed my contract with Rangers, there were stupid stories about me and the Russian mafia.
“David came out and said I was here to play football and said ‘no more questions about this’ which was good.
“Because sometimes people speak a lot of rubbish.”
Kanchelskis won two Scottish titles and three Scottish Cups during his time in Scotland before falling out of favour with Alex McLeish and leaving to join Southampton in 2002.
The winger incredibly represented three different national teams across his career – picking up caps for the Soviet Union, CIS and Russia as the USSR crumbled.
Kanchelskis was back at Ibrox in Saturday to see the Gers lose to Hamilton in the league for the first time since 1926.
The 48-year-old also played for Everton, Manchester City, Shakthar Donetsk and Dynamo Kiev.
In other Rangers news, this 46-year-old manager who is wanted by the Gers is set to hold talks.