BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
Rangers captain Lee Wallace admits he is relishing the prospect of going up against star pupil Jordyn Sheerin when Livingston bid to end the Ibrox club’s flawless start on Saturday.
Left-back Wallace was a coach at Heriot-Vale when striker Sheerin starred for the Edinburgh-based amateur side on their way to collecting four trophies during the 2013/14 campaign.
Now the pair will go head-to-head for the first time in a professional match this weekend after one-time Arbroath marksman Sheerin earned a move to the Lions on the back of notching an impressive 42-goals for Musselburgh juniors.
Aspiring coach Wallace, who now helps out at East of Scotland Premier outfit Tynecastle, said: “I coached at Heriot Vale for five seasons as a lot of my mates played for them.
“The group we had two seasons ago was special because we won the quadruple, and Jordyn was a huge part of that.
“We’ve been friends for over ten years and it’s no real surprise that he’s got a move back to the professional game because I knew he had that potential to go on again.
“It’s going to be weird on Saturday going up against him but there are no real surprises as he’s always had that quality, and with the hard work he’s put in he deserves to be where he is.
“It was actually from Jordyn scoring in last season’s Junior Cup final for Musselburgh against Auchlinck that I celebrated like a fan for the first time in a long time.
“Even though they got beat in the end, it was a special moment as we had lost a friend Murray D’Angelo and Jordyn paid tribute to him with his T-shirt underneath.”
Sheerin scored his first goal for Livingston in last weekend’s 4-2 loss to Morton but knows he’ll have to get past a Rangers rearguard that includes friend Wallace if he is to add to his tally on Saturday.
The 26-year-old said: “It would be good to play against Lee, it would be somewhat strange and I’m sure we’ll have a wee smile about it.
“Lee has had great coaching through the years and he brought that to Heriot Vale.
“He brought his professionalism to the club.
“Everybody there was appreciative of it and we all showed Lee great respect. He would tell us how it was and we would all listen in.
“We all know it’s a tough task for us on Saturday, especially to play in front of so many fans.
“It’s something we’re relishing and hopefully we can get a result.”
Wallace is part of a Rangers side that has been transformed under the new management team of Mark Warburton and Davie Weir.
The Govan outfit have won the first nine games in all competition, scoring a staggering 35 goals in the process.
And Wallace, who has already attained his B-coaching license, admits he tries to absorb as much advice as he can from Warburton and Weir.
He added: “I’m up regularly with the manager and Davie asking about stuff for me as individual and about things to take back to Tynecastle.
“I feel I’m learning and I’m really enjoying the role I’ve been given in the team.
“The training is very intricate and it’s great to learn from it.
“The fact that Tynecastle are playing the exact same formation, albeit we know it’s a different level of standard, helps when I go back there and pass on what I can.”
The daunting prospect for Livingston and the rest of the Championship is that Wallace reckons Rangers are not yet playing to their full potential.
He added: “It’s new and we’re still going to get better, it will take us time to truly get to top form.
“I think we got a small taste of that last week against Raith, it was a pretty accomplished performance and I think we’re of the mindset now that if we drop our standards then games will become games, whereas if we’re at our top level and at our best as individuals then we’ll be be very hard to stop.”