Ally McCoist insisted the versatility of Spanish midfielder Juan Manuel Ortiz
was key to his desire to bring him to Rangers.
The Ibrox club on Wednesday 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
“He is quick and has obviously played a few games at a very top level so we
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 the
Primera Division 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
He said: “We are talking to Davie’s representatives and hopefully he will
stay for another year.”
McCoist also revealed he will be talking to Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp
about taking duo Jake Livermore and Bongani Khumalo on loan.
“To be honest, I haven’t spoken to Harry yet,” the Ibrox boss said. “But I
will speak to him.”
The former Rangers striker was less optimistic when discussing the possible
signing of Australia midfielder Mile Jedinak and the return of Cuellar.
On the subject of Jedinak, he said: “There is a little bit of work to be done
“There is a chance but I would have to say less than 50-50.”
And on Cuellar, he said: “I have made it clear that he is a player that I
would like to see back at Ibrox but he is under contract with Aston Villa and at
this moment in time it looks as though it might stay that way.”