Sone Aluko’s Rangers motivation as he reveals the Ibrox moment remembered in family painting – Daily Record

Posted: April 29, 2020 at 3:41 am


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When former Rangers star Sone Aluko joined the Ibrox club from Aberdeen, there wouldn't have been many people who thought he'd still be loved by fans eight years later.

The Nigerian international had spent three years at Pittodrie but had been without a club for a couple of months when he signed on the dotted line for Rangers in November 2011.

He would go on to spend just six months at Ibrox but he packed a lot in and left when his contract was up in the summer of 2012 after Rangers had entered administration and then ended up in the bottom tier of Scottish football.

The diminutive attacker got 12 goals in 23 games for Rangers before spells at Hull City, Fulham and Reading as well as a loan spell in China with Beijing Renhe.

Aluko is remembered fondly by Rangers fans - largely for a stunning solo goal against Celtic - but that wasn't always the case as he admits supporters weren't keen on his signing.

It got even worse after a disappointing start but he kicked on and used the criticism to turn his career around.

He told The Athletic: Rangers agreed a deal and I just wanted to get it over the line so I agreed for part of my bonuses to go to the Aberdeen pot. I didnt really pay to go to Rangers as it was reported. There had been interest in me before but then Steven Naismith got injured and they had to replace his goals.

At the time everyone was saying, Why are Rangers signing someone from Aberdeen who is out of contract? Hes not going to be good enough. There wasnt a red carpet rolled out for me. I played the games with a chip on my shoulder, determined to prove everyone wrong. In my first game against Kilmarnock Rangers were unbeaten (in the league) at this point I was on the post for a corner.

"We cleared it but I didnt push out quickly enough and played everyone onside for them score the winner with 10 minutes to go. The fans had a field day with me but I had played really well that day and I couldnt believe that I was still on at 80 minutes.

I was then banned for diving against Dunfermline. They banned me for two games. I was the first player ever to get banned for two games after they changed this rule so it wasnt going well but I was playing well overall. The amount of focus on you at Rangers is unlike anything.

"There were about nine days I was on the back page of a newspaper and I got booed at away grounds for months. I was thinking, What the hell is going on? This is not normal, but I did love it. Off the back of being out for so long, nothing else mattered but football.

The aforementioned Old Firm derby strike is regularly posted on social media as Rangers stopped Celtic winning the league at Ibrox in a 3-2 win.

A famous image of Aluko celebrating on the advertising boards in front of the Sandy Jardine stand with Ibrox fans responding exactly how you would expect is also shared all over the place.

And the 31-year-old admitted he was just determined to make an impact after he knew that he wouldn't last any more than 60 minutes because of his fitness.

He last 72 before being replaced by Andy Little and revealed how his Dons spell helped him score the goal.

but he added: It was just frustration. Id had a slow start to the game and had only touched the ball back or lost it. I knew I was only a 60-minute player too now, as Id had no pre-season, so I knew I had to do something explosive. I turned and instinctively thought, Lets just commit players. I just wanted to put a bit of fear into them.

I went past the first one and thought. Oh, that was smooth. I knew Charlie Mulgrew was coming towards me and I played with him at Aberdeen so there is an understanding of what certain players are like. I knew I could go past Charlie but after I beat him I didnt expect the goalkeeper to be rushing out. I scuffed the finish because that was the part I couldnt have planned for.

"I wouldnt normally have shot from there with my right foot but the keeper being out made up my mind for me. I just saw it trickle in. It all happened very, very fast.

I remember running to celebrate and then realised there was a sea of green so I was like Forget them and just curved my run to the Rangers fans. I did know that when I scored I wanted to go into the crowd but I also didnt want to get booked in an Old Firm game because I knew a second yellow could happen.

"I originally wanted to do it behind the goal but if I did that in front of the Celtic fans it would have started a riot. I have an unbelievable painting of that image in my familys house. Theres nothing like that feeling.

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Sone Aluko's Rangers motivation as he reveals the Ibrox moment remembered in family painting - Daily Record

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April 29th, 2020 at 3:41 am

Posted in Motivation