Friendly cancellation suits Thomson fine
Rangers midfielder Kevin Thomson was the only player unconcerned by the cancellation of the first friendly of their German tour, as it saved him from the frustration of missing yet another match. Thomson had ruled himself out of the Sportfreunde Lotte contest after his knee swelled up following the team flight. The match was postponed on Friday evening due to a waterlogged pitch and continued heavy rain forced an abandonment of plans to reschedule the game for today.
Thomson is preparing to make his return to match action for the first time since damaging his cruciate ligament in a 4-0 victory at Kilmarnock in November. So the extra time to recover from the flight gives him every chance of brushing off the minor setback and appearing in tomorrow's friendly against Nuremberg.
The 24-year-old said: "I felt great on Friday morning when I first woke up, but there was a bit of fluid in it and it was a bit more puffy than usual.
"That's because of the flight from Glasgow we had on Thursday and it meant I wouldn't have played at Lotte, so I wasn't too bothered that the game was cancelled. While there are 20-odd frustrated boys in the squad at the moment, there's one happy one as well.
"It's a wee bit frustrating I had the issue with my knee, but it's all part and parcel of coming back from a serious injury," he said. "In the first ten or 12 days of pre-season, it was a bit like that, where I'd feel fantastic and move well sometimes, but find a wee bit of fluid there on other occasions.
"I always knew it would be a case of taking a couple of steps forward and one back every now and then, but I'm still on target to get some game time over here."
While Thomson is itching to return, former Rangers midfielder Jorg Albertz believes the rest of the squad will benefit from their less strenuous summer. Rangers began their UEFA Champions League campaign at this time last year, following their run to three cup finals the previous season, and soon crashed out to FK Kaunas. But their first title victory in four years propelled them straight into the Champions League group stages and Albertz believes that will help them hit the ground running this term.
"I think it has been very important for Rangers to have a long holiday this summer and they will have benefited from that so much," Albertz said. "After 2007/08, I wondered how the team would cope after playing 68 competitive games and at the start of the next season you could see they were still suffering.
"People might say they are professional footballers and they should be able to cope with that, but when you are playing in big matches with so much pressure on your shoulders every time you step on the pitch, that eventually takes its toll.
"You could see that against Kaunas," Albertz said. "That was a freak result, but I think a large part of that was because the players had not recharged their batteries properly.
"I am happy that they have finally had time off after winning the double and I am sure this will help them domestically and in Europe this season."