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DICK ADVOCAAT has been investing in a spot of PR this summer. First Paul Ritchie came through his door as one of seven new signings.

Being a current Scotland cap, the arrival of the former Hearts and Bolton defender hit the headlines.

But a second PR sneaked into Ibrox almost unheralded. His name is Paul Reid and although he is the youngest of the new breed of Rangers player, those who know something about the game believe he could in time become the biggest name of them all.

Reid, just 18, came from Carlisle United after playing only 20 games for the struggling English Third Division outfit.

Those performances, though, alerted some of the biggest names in British football and Advocaat had every right to feel smug as the likes of David O'Leary, Arsene Wenger and Gerard Houllier cursed at their failure to land the kid.

Now comes the hard bit for Reid. He has to find a way of graduating into the Rangers first team which already boasts a string of seasoned internationals, including summer signings Ritchie and Bert Konterman.

Craig Moore will also try to block the youngster's path to the first team, as will fringe players such as Scott Wilson and Tero Pentilla.

Of course, the likes of Lorenzo Amoruso and Sergio Porrini may not be around but the amount of competition facing Reid worries a man who nursed the youngster through his first season in senior football.

Shaun Teale has been in the game long enough to know a player when he sees one and he believes that Paul Reid has the potential to go to the very top of the tree.

But Teale, who skippered Motherwell until a spectacular fall-out with Fir Park chairman John Boyle last season, is concerned that Reid's development may be stifled at Ibrox.

Never afraid to speak his mind, a trait that landed him in hot water at Motherwell, Teale knows his comments will draw furrowed brows from Advocaat.

That's unlikely to worry the big Englishman, who spoke almost like a concerned parent about the young man half his age who is embarking on his Rangers career.

He said: "First of all, Paul has got everything in his game to go right to the top and become a huge star. He uses the ball well, is very quick and is a tall lad who is excellent in the air.

"Almost every big club in the country was trying to sign him at the end of the season and I thought he was going to Leeds. Rangers will be delighted to have beaten them and others like Liverpool and Arsenal to get Paul.

"He made his Carlisle debut on the same day as me, about halfway through the season, and we quickly established a good partnership. He just got better and better and by the end of the season, he had played 20 games and we had a stand full of scouts watching him.

"I'd like to say I've made him the player he is but the fact is that he has all the ability in the world and it is nothing to do with me! Maybe he did benefit from having an old head beside him but I can't take too much credit.

"Going to Rangers is a massive move for Paul and I really hope it works out for him. My one worry is that he won't get the number of games he needs to continue his development. I would hate that to happen and to see him go backward rather than forward.

"He can still play Under-21 games but Rangers have so many players in their squad that he might not even get that every week.

"Dick Advocaat is not daft and I'd like to think he will use Paul from time to time in the first team. He'll know when to put him in and I know that the lad won't let him down.

"He's a very level-headed boy but he has a real determination to make it in the game. I think he'll do that and if he were to do it at Ibrox it would be fantastic."

PR. In Teale's language that means Pick Reid. Time will tell how often Advocaat does just that.

Whatever team the Dutchman puts out it is sure to cause havoc to any club in Scotland - including bitter rivals Celtic.

New Livingston signing David Hagen made the prediction after making his debut in a 5-1 practice match defeat by the Ibrox side at Almondvale on Tuesday.

The former Falkirk winger said: "Rangers have only been back in training for a week or so and I don't know what their fitness level is like but they have tremendous movement in their side.

"They have increased their squad but that does not automatically give you success, as has been proven in the past. But I am sure Dick Advocaat will get the new players gelling.

"They certainly didn't seem to have too many problems against us.With the class they have, they make the ball do all the work.

"It is extremely hard to break them down - in fact it is hard just to get the ball off them, never mind attack them.

"It is only guys like Andrei Kanchelskis who do most of the leg-work. All of the rest of them just use the ball. "As for Celtic, Martin O'Neill has not had a lot of time to work with his players so far.

"He will also have to have a good look at what he has got at his disposal before he makes a lot of signings. I am sure it is not a big problem for him.

"But I still can't see there being a major challenge to Rangers if they play the way they can do."

For Hagen, leaving Falkirk after five seasons was a wrench but he has only one thought in his mind as he gears up for the new campaign with Livingston.

He said: "We need to be challenging for promotion. There are a lot of good players here and the club arel ooking to do big things. "If we play the way we can we will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Mccarthy, David
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 6, 2000
Next Article:FOOTBALL: A place in the half-time penalty shoot-out at Ibrox friendly match.

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