The Falkirk connection that's seen Rangers into the Europa League last 16 with Bayer Leverkusen

Ibrox will host German giants Bayer Leverkusen next month in the last 16 of the UEFA tournament - but there's a strong Falkirk contingent involved at the Gers.

By David Oliver
Saturday, 29th February 2020, 8:58 am
Updated Saturday, 29th February 2020, 1:26 pm
Scott Arfield is congratulated by Steven Gerrard after the win in Braga. Picture: Getty Images
Scott Arfield is congratulated by Steven Gerrard after the win in Braga. Picture: Getty Images

Scott Arfield

The most high-profile of the locally connected figures at Rangers, Arfield came through the ranks at Falkirk before embarking on a career in England. After a £400,000 move to Huddersfield ex-Bairns assistant Brian Rice helped facilitate a free transfer move to Burnley in the English Premier League. After a sterling showing on the grand stage Arfield moved to Ibrox 18 months ago. He made his Europa League debut for Falkirk in the Bairns first foray into European competition in 2009 and this season has played 15 times for Rangers in the same competition, scoring once, in Midtjylland, and seeing another effort against Braga flagged offside last week.

Jay Hogarth

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Scott Arfield. Picture: Getty Images

Another member of the Rangers Europa League squad with local links, Hogarth, son of former Falkirk and Camelon goalkeeper Myles has not featured for the Gers. He is included in the 'B' section of the players eligible for European competition, a section for clubs to include youth players trained by the club. Older brother Nicky is also with the 54-time Scottish champions but is not eligible for inclusion in the 'B' list after a loan spell at East Stirlingshire.

Zac Butterworth

Former Graeme High performance school pupil Zak is, like Hogarth, included on the 'B' list. Inclusions are unlimited and are supplementary to the club's main registered squad of 24, but players must be born on, or after, 1 January 1998 and have been eligible to play for the club for two years in an uninterrupted spell.

Ross Wilson

Ross Wilson. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Rangers' sporting director is heavily involved in the recruitment processes at Ibrox after moving from Southampton in October last year. Therefore the key signing of Iannis Hagi who scored twice in the 4-2 aggregate win over SC Braga and set-up another and Wilson's work in that transfer has been important in helping Rangers reach the last 16 against Bayer Leverkusen. Wilson began his work in football at Falkirk, working as a youth player welfare and education officer before progressing through the ranks to a position working alongside first team managers John Hughes, Eddie May and Steven Pressley as head of football administration. Wilson made the move south to Watford for a similar position before becoming director of football at Huddersfield and then switching to St Mary's.

Creag Robertson

Perhaps not involved directly with the current run, the man who stepped into Wilson's role at Falkirk made a move to Rangers before he did. Robertson left Falkirk as Development manager for a new job at the Rangers Training Centre in 2016, undertaking the Head of Academy Football Business and Education role. He spent seven years with the Bairns, starting when the club was based at Stirling University where Robertson as a player for the University football team and studying for a Masters' degree in Sports Management.

Craig McPherson

Zac Butterworth. Picture: Michael Gillen

The latest Falkirk related recruit to the Rangers man's set-up, MacPherson joined as an Academy coach in January of this year. While like Creag Robertson he may not have too much of a hands-on influence on this year's surge to the last 16, MacPherson will have responsibility for cultivating the club's future European stars and those backing up the squad of 24 on the B-list.

And of course, as a classy midfielder, he's spent many years nicknamed Hagi after Iannis' legendary father too!

Creag Robertson. Picture: Michael Gillen
Craig McPherson. Picture: Gary Hutchison