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Football: IT WAS DANE DEAL THREE YEARS AGO.

DANISH sensation Peter Loven- krands didn't sign for Rangers on Thursday - he and his family have been committed to Ibrox for the last three years.

Peter's father is a close friend of Brian Laudrup and it was a trip to Glasgow to see the great Dane in his days as a Rangers player which put a down payment on his son's loyalty.

What David Murray did was apply the finishing touches by selling 22-year-old Peter the idea that Rangers means glamour.

Laudrup is a Danish legend. Murray is a multi-millionaire businessman with a private jet and an album full of photographs with his movie star mate Sean Connery but when he wants something badly enough he doesn't mind dirtying his hands with hard work.

That's why Lovenkrands was one of seven people inside the chairman's palatial Edinburgh office at 8am on Thursday.

Advocaat had spoken to the player from his holiday home the night before to explain where he would play at Ibrox. Laudrup had called before that to cement relationships between player and club.

And a delighted Murray said: "We're building the level under the level. Think of any position and we have choices.

"We operate on a different plane from everyone else in Scotland and that's the sales pitch I'm able to give a young lad from Denmark."

But while Murray is grateful to Laudrup for the role he played in getting Lovenkrands to Rangers the Ibrox owner draws the line at considering Lauders for a role as European scout. for one reason - any such appointments are Advocaat's call and he's said nothing.

Murray said: "I know Brian's smooth, multi-lingual and has played in Dutch, German, Danish and Italian football but I also understand he wants a complete break after retiring from Ajax due to injury.

"And I wouldn't dream of interfering in Dick's side of the business. We get on because it's clearly understood anything to do with the football side of the operation is his responsibility and anything business orientated is down to me.

"I know other clubs have tried to steal him and he's turned them down because friendship means more to him than money - now I'll repay him for that demonstration of loyalty to me."

Murray's statement of intent is a timely reply to the appointment of Martin O'Neill as Celtic manager.

It's the kind of threat to Rangers supremacy that always draws an unruffled response from the man who has watched 10 Celtic managers come and go during a 13-year reign at Ibrox.

Murray said: "We'll give Martin O'Neill respect but Dick has changed our focus and there's more to come.

"I won't go away for a break until next season has started. I want to be about every day because I want another big signing before the championship starts."

Rangers will find out their opponents for the Champions League qualifier on June 23 and they could be drawn against tough opponents such as Red Star Belgrade, Levski Sofia or Albanians Tirana.

Dick Advocaat's side will enter the competition at the second round of the qualifiers for the right to play in the tournament proper.

The Ibrox club will play the first leg on July 26 with the return a week later.

Meanwhile, Rangers have arranged to play top Belgian side Ghent at Ibrox on July 19 as part of their build-up.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 11, 2000
Words:559
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