THE Proclaimers swore they’d walk 500 Miles. But Lee Wallace insists Graeme Dorrans would have put in nearer 5000 to join his beloved Rangers.
Team-mates in the Scotland Under-19 side that reached the 2006 European Championship Final – where they went down to a Spain team containing Gerard Pique and Juan Mata – the two men kept in touch.
And it was when they bumped into each other on a summer break in the United States last year that the talk turned to playing alongside one another again on a more permanent basis.
“After the disappointment of the Scottish Cup Final defeat to Hibs, a few of the families were in Florida on holiday,” the Light Blues skipper recalled.
“Myself, Kenny Miller and Andy Halliday were there, and so was Graham.
“Kenny and I got the conversation going with him, and even at that point, he would have walked it home to sign for us.
“It couldn’t quite happen then. But, believe me, we did all we could to get him here even sooner than this summer.
“That sums the boy up. He was just desperate to come back and play for his boyhood club.
“He wanted to represent Rangers, the side he has loved for so many years, and he wants to feel like he has contributed to making the club successful and closing the gap on Celtic.
“It speaks volumes for Graham that he is here now and he is going to be a fantastic addition.
“He believes he can make us better, and I’m sure we are going to see that.”
Wallace’s confidence comes from his experience of studying the midfielder up close.
“I played with Graham throughout the age levels, including that historic Under-19 Euro Final against Spain when he scored our goal in a 2-1 defeat,” said Wallace.
“Then when I made my home debut for the senior side against the Czech Repuclic in 2010, Graham was there, as cool and composed as ever.
“He got the Man of the Match award that night. He was so calm during a tough period in the game for us.
“The crowd were on us, but he stayed composed, used his touch, picked a pass and used his body well.
“That was a great insight into his quality for me.
“I knew how good he was domestically but not at that level, in a full international game.
“He’s got that in abundance and it will be great for how we want to play.
“We still want to dominate the ball, even though we’ve looked harder to beat in the last couple of weeks.
“We need players who are comfortable on the ball and can make forward passes.
“Graham has always had excellent technical ability in terms of the spaces he picks up.
“He’s always got a picture in his head so he’s already on the half-turn and knows his next pass.
“He played a couple of brilliant slide passes at Hillsborough in our friendly against Sheffield Wednesday last Sunday, and produced a quick free-kick which led to our second goal.
“He’s a clever player, the kind we need. His quality will help us moving forward.”
Dorrans, now 30 years old, has a dozen Scotland caps and can truthfully claim to have been a Premier League regular with West Brom.
But Wallace continued: “Graham might feel like he could have achieved more in his career in England.
“I am not sure whether rumours linking him with Arsenal at one point were true, but I know he will feel like he should have won more Scotland caps.
“However, he is in the right place now. He is at the club he loves and we are all delighted that he is on board.
“And the fact that he’s played at English Premier League and international level for so many years makes me think he will be quite content with what he’s achieved.”
Rangers kick off their Premiership campaign this afternoon at Motherwell, with their captain acutely aware of the need to pick up all three points.
“It is vital we get off to a good start in the league” he said.
“We are encouraged by our recent performances in three friendly games but we know there is a long way to go.
“We want to better last season on all fronts, absolutely. In terms of gaps, league placings, cups – you name it – we have to try and better our performance.”
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