Derek Johnstone critical of Rangers summer signing despite goalscoring run
By James Black
Former Rangers striker Derek Johnstone doesn’t think Carlos Pena has given Rangers enough for their £2.2million transfer fee despite popping up with four goals so far.
The Mexican midfielder has taken his time to get up to speed with Scottish football since moving from Chivas Guadalajara but is starting to find his stride.
The 27-year-old scored twice on Friday night as the Light Blues eased past St. Johnstone and the Mexico international will get his first taste of Scotland’s national stadium when his side travel to Hampden to face Motherwell in the Scottish League Cup semi-finals on Sunday.
Pena has slotted in as the Gers’ number 10 as Pedro Caixinha’s side have racked up back-to-back three-goal wins but Ibrox legend Johnstone is worried what will happen when Pena stops scoring.
“For me, for a number 10 – because that’s what he is – you’ve got to be looking for more,” Johnstone wrote in his Evening Times column.
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“Look at Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool for example.
“Now, I’m not saying he’s anywhere near that sort of level, that would be ridiculous, but look at the work he does on the ball.
“He’s getting on it whenever he can and attacking players, and he makes a huge difference in every game.
“Pena hasn’t shown me anything like that yet.
“I’m looking for more from him. As long as he is scoring goals he will be in the team, that’s what wins you games, but you have to ask the question of what he does if he isn’t scoring?”
Since joining the Glasgow giants, Pena has been much-hyped and it’s unlikely Caixinha will drop him if he stops scoring.
The Mexican’s movement off the ball and the space he can find himself suggest there’s a really good player in there and there’s likely much more to come from him.
Despite his slow start to the season, Pena has now scored as many league goals as Leigh Griffiths and Scott Sinclair have for rivals Celtic.
If he can improve his understanding with Alfredo Morelos and help the Colombian striker get back among the goals, then Rangers fans won’t mind if his own strike-rate dries up.
In other Rangers transfer news, a £7.5million midfielder is firmly in the running to be the club’s next signing.