Alex McLeish has revealed how a humiliating axing in his early Aberdeen days spurred him to reach new heights as he hailed the transformation of Borna Barisic’s Rangers career.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former treble-winning Ibrox manager claimed talk of the left-back not being good enough when he joined in 2018 would have had an effect on him.
But McLeish has been impressed how Barisic, 27, has been “tremendous” over the last 12 months and is now a key cog in Steven Gerrard’s title-chasing side.
The Croatia international was the subject of interest from elite clubs in the summer but Rangers fended them off with an £8million price tag.
Barisic has continued where he left off last season and made 13 appearances that have already yielded a remarkable six assists as well as a goal.
“There was talk that he wasn’t quite good enough for the Rangers level, he’d again hit a
bit of a patch of bad form and looking a wee bit vulnerable,” McLeish told Football Insider.
“But that’s confidence and you don’t know what a person is like, you’ve never walked in their shoes and it’s difficult to know what he’s feeling in his stomach or what he’s feeling in his head at a certain moment.
“In my days at Aberdeen, I remember losing my form and Sir Alex dropped me and I was humiliated.
“Then I played in a game and I thought I did pretty well but we got battered 3-0 by Dundee United, 3-0 at home. I thought, ‘that’s it, I’ll be dropped again’ but he said to me: ‘That was more like yourself tonight,’ and all of a sudden my mentality came back strong again and my confidence was there.
“They’re only human so I think Barisic has actually exceeded expectations now such is his tremendous form.”