McCoist delighted at Ortiz acquisition
Ally McCoist insisted the versatility of Spanish midfielder Juan Manuel Ortiz was key to his desire to bring him to Rangers. The Ibrox club today confirmed the signing of the 29-year-old from Almeria on a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee.
McCoist's first signing since he succeeded Walter Smith as manager joined up with his new team-mates before flying out from Glasgow Airport for their pre-season trip to Germany. The Light Blues boss welcomed his new recruit after failing to land several other targets, including Craig Conway and Neil Danns.
"We are delighted," said McCoist. "There were one or two little hiccups along the road, unfortunately, but it's done and dusted and we are all pleased. I think the fact that he can play a number of positions was a big thing. He probably runs Steven Whittaker close.
"I'm not sure if he can play left-back and outside right but he can play a few positions. He is quick and has obviously played a few games at a very top level so we are pleased."
Ortiz, who took part in an impromptu photo-call at the airport, came through the ranks at Atletico Madrid before making his senior debut in 2002. However, he failed to make an impact at Atletico and had loan spells at Osasuna and Polideportivo Ejido before moving to Almeria in 2007. Ortiz made over 100 appearances for the Andalucian club, who were relegated from La Liga last season.
During his time at Osasuna, he played alongside former Rangers defender Carlos Cuellar and it was his fellow Spaniard, now with Aston Villa, who helped convince him to move to Scotland.
"When the chance came up to come to Rangers, I spoke to Carlos about it and he had only good things to say," Ortiz said on Rangers' official website. "He told me the club is massive and that he was very, very happy here so he told me it was a move I should make."
The signing of Ortiz comes in the same week that goalkeeper Allan McGregor and utility player Whittaker signed new six and five-year deals respectively and Steven Davis gave a heavy hint that he is set to join the duo by extending his current deal, which has a year to run.
Asked about negotiations, the Northern Ireland midfielder said: "(They are) still ongoing. I think it's just a matter of getting things sorted and hopefully getting things done and dusted. I'm not sure how long (it will take), I wouldn't put a timescale on it but obviously I'm happy here so hopefully we will get something sorted out."
McCoist appeared to believe Davis would be signing an extended contract when he discussed the long-term deals handed to McGregor and Whittaker. "The players asked for it (long deals) and from where I was sitting it was a tremendous level of commitment," he said. "It was a fantastic opportunity for them to, hopefully, finish their careers at the club. Arguably they have the best years ahead of them so from the club's point of view it was a no-brainer.
"In all honesty the three players have been part of the spine of the team that has been successful in recent seasons and it is going to cost you a fortune to replace them if you lose them. So, I am genuinely thrilled the players have decided to stay and pledge themselves to the club for the long-term."
McCoist, who admitted he had not given up on signing Dundee United striker David Goodwillie, also hopes to retain the services of veteran defender David Weir. He said: "We are talking to Davie's representatives and hopefully he will stay for another year."