Dean Shiels lifts lid on why he rejected Champions League football for Third Division with Ally McCoist – The Scottish Sun

EX-RANGERS star Dean Shiels has revealed he knocked back Champions League football to play in the Third Division with the Ibrox side.

The former Gers playmaker signed for the club under Ally McCoist in 2012 as they were demoted to Scotland’s bottom tier of professional football.

 Dean Shiels in action for Rangers


Dean Shiels in action for Rangers

The Northern Irishman was just off the back of a highly successful season with his dad Kenny at Kilmarnock.

He helped the Ayrshire side win the League Cup 1-0 against Celtic, scoring the vital goal against bitter rivals Ayr in the semi-final at Hampden.

This helped raise the profile of the former international star with interest coming from the Bundesliga, clubs in England and even the opportunity of Champions League football with Danish champions FC Nordsjaelland.

But the chance to play for his boyhood heroes at Ibrox was too strong to turn down – despite the glamour of European footie.

 Sheils scores against Dumbarton for the Light Blues


Sheils scores against Dumbarton for the Light Blues

Shiels, 35, told Herald and Times Sport: “I had the opportunity to go and play in the Champions League, but I wanted to play for Rangers in the third division and I don’t regret it one bit.

“I had Scandinavian teams wanting me to join and I was actually in Germany when Rangers called me, I had just come off the back of a great season with Kilmarnock.

“Growing up as a Rangers fan and when Ally McCoist phones you to sign for the club you aren’t going to say no.

“I miss playing for Rangers, any time I walked out at Ibrox I felt so lucky. It is something that will stick with me my whole life.

 Kenny and Dean Shiels with the 2012 League Cup


Kenny and Dean Shiels with the 2012 League Cup

“I feel I played my part in getting the club back to where they belong and I can take some satisfaction from that, but it would give me more satisfaction now to see the current team win the title again.

“Hopefully that is coming sooner rather than later.

“I had grown up being a Rangers fan so I was always aware of what it meant to the fans, so it was simple for me to give my all and do my best.

“When you got beat it was like it was the end of the world and that is the way it should be, Rangers should never get beaten ever.”

 Shiels says he has no regrets over rejected Champions League football


Shiels says he has no regrets over rejected Champions League football

Meanwhile, the retired midfielder has called on the SPFL to use the current sticky predicament to reconstruct Scottish football.

All four leagues north of the border have been called as clubs voted on whether it would be possible to finish the remaining games of the 19/20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This has led to Celtic being crowned nine-in-a-row champions of the Premiership and Hearts being relegated to the Championship for the second time in the last decade.

And while Shiels is a huge fan of Scottish football, having spent the majority of his career in Scotland, he insists the current setup is boring and needs a shake up.

He added: “Scotland is not a healthy country football wise at the minute and that’s why I think there has to be a change.

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“I think they missed a trick a couple of years back when they had the option to reconstruct the league.

“I think now they have maybe got that opportunity again to reconstruct the league set-up a little bit.

“I played one season in the Championship towards the end of my career and I know there are some really good clubs in that league.

“The club I was at Dunfermline, they were an excellent well run team who have a brilliant chairman in Ross McArthur.

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“There are a lot of clubs in that league who are just as equal in terms of stature to the likes of Hamilton, St Mirren and Ross County.

“There’s no difference between the clubs in the lower half of the Premiership and those who are challenging in the Championship.

“The Premiership for me at the minute gets a bit repetitive. I think there was one time when I was at Hibs and we played Aberdeen seven times in the one season. We drew them in the cup and had replays.

“You were going up against your opponent and you would be like ‘not you again this is just so boring’.

“So I think they definitely need to extend the league, but whether they do it is anyone’s guess. There are good people on the SPFL board and I think they will realise that there is a chance to do something here.

“The priority has to be that people’s lives are at risk at the moment and people are being affected all over the world, but I think the most important thing for Scottish football is that they use downtime to try and reconstruct.”

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