'Great to have' - Johansson blown away by immediate impact of senior Rangers man
Rangers first-team coach Jonatan Johansson thinks Jimmy Nicholl has been “great” since arriving at Ibrox as Graeme Murty’s number two in January and admits the Northern Irishman adds “so much positivity” to the squad.
Nicholl swapped Falkirk for Ibrox at the start of the year as the Gers looked to bring in an experienced coach to help rookie boss Murty until the end of the season.
Although the Gers have lost their last two games, the Ibrox giants’ results have seen a marked improvement since Nicholl’s recruitment.
Johansson revealed that Nicholl’s competitive streak hasn’t been diminished with age although joked it means he “cuts corners” to make sure he wins.
“Jimmy Nic has been great and it is great to have him on board,” he said. “He brings so much positivity to the team and he’s seen everything there is to see in football, so he is always there to lend his experience and give advice,” Johansson said, as quoted by The Herald.
“He loves competition and he’s been great at starting that. He competes with everybody and he always cuts corners to win! I’m not calling him a cheat, but he always tries to win. His competitive streak is still there.”
Nicholl has also maintained his role with the Northern Irish national team alongside his work at Ibrox as he looks to help Michael O’Neill’s side to the 2020 European Championship.
The former Rangers and Manchester United defender has enjoyed a long management career with the likes of Milwall, Raith Rovers and Cowdenbeath.
Nicholl famously led Raith to the 1994 Scottish League Cup after beating Celtic on penalties at Ibrox and faced Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup – leading 1-0 at the Olmpiastadion in Munich.
Football Insider verdict:
Nicholl’s hire has echoes of the appointment of Archie Knox as Walter Smith’s assistant almost 25 years ago. The Northern Irishman’s been there and seen it all in football and brings a wealth of experience to help Murty which is clearly paying off to some degree. While results still are not where they need to be for the Light Blues to mount a title challenge, the form since the turn of the year signifies a definite improvement than the final few months of 2018, and it is likely Nicholl’s experience has played at least some part in that.
In other Rangers news, the club must blow Celtic out of the water to sign the next Moussa Dembele.