Editor's note: On Friday morning the Vancouver Whitecaps announced the acquisition of Fraser Aird from Glasgow Rangers on a season long loan. The move will be finalized upon the results of a medical and receipt of Aird's international transfer certificate. The Whitecaps have an option to purchase Aird outright from Rangers at the end of the loan period.
Recently we visited with Callum Hamilton from "Got the Battle Fever On", the SB Nation site dedicated to the Glasgow Rangers FC. Callum was kind enough to chat with us and answer some questions about Fraser Aird, the little known fullback from Toronto, who, if you would believe the rumours that have been running rampant over the past week or so, is set to join the Vancouver Whitecaps on a loan.
Eighty Six Forever (86F): Fraser's preferred position is at right midfield, but he has switched to right back. What facilitated this change in position and how has Aird done since being converted into a fullback?
Got the Battle Fever On (GBFO): It's probably due to the fact that he wasn't really able to kick on and be a dangerous attacking presence on the flank. The vast majority of Aird's appearances for the club came under Ally McCoist, a manager who was, among other things, a poor judge of talent and very conservative, preferring experience hard work to youth or flair or imagination. Mark Warburton is very much the opposite, and with our system using insanely offensive fullbacks (they have fourteen goals between them this season so far) Aird probably fits in better at the back. He's quite fast, but lacks the guile necessary to play further forward for Rangers.
86F: What attributes does Fraser possess that make him a good fullback?
GBFO: Largely his pace and work rate. He struggles to beat a man, which is probably why he's been moved further back where hopefully his movement and speed will be enough to get into a crossing position. He's a versatile and hardworking player although we've not seen much of him in that position. He could end up doing the classic winger-at-fullback thing where they can tackle but cost you ten goals a season through being unable to maintain an offside line.
86F: Since making his debut for the first team Aird has tallied 9 goals in just over 60 senior appearances. Does he have an offensive flair, and how could he contribute to the Whitecaps' attack as a fullback?
GBFO: He's not the best attacker, but as a former winger he'll be of some attacking use. I'd guess he'd be better if you're the sort of team that likes to press high where he can use his energy to win the ball higher up. It's not clear whether he'd have the positional sense to be able play a disciplined game and sit deep before pouncing on the break, but he certainly has the speed to be able to.
86F: There has been plenty of speculation that Aird will be joining the Caps on loan. Have you heard anything about the length of the loan period, or a possibility of an outright transfer to Whitecaps FC?
GBFO: Nobody seems to be clear on whether it's a loan or a transfer. I don't think we'd be too surprised at either - he's hardly got in the squad under Mark Warburton, but it depends on whether he (Warburton) sees a player in him or not.
86F: Aird was part of the Canadian Men's National Team squad that defeated Honduras 1-0 in a FIFA World Cup qualifying match in November of last year. Is there any connection between Fraser's commitment to Canada at the national team level and this pending move to Major League Soccer?
GBFO: I doubt it other than simply wanting more game time, although going back to Canada and getting in the national team is probably a big draw when choosing where to go. Aird was brought up a Rangers fan by his family there (we have quite a lot of fans throughout Canada due to the old Scots diaspora), so I'm sure he'd be desperate to succeed at Rangers unless he's decided the time has come to try his luck elsewhere.
86F: Finally, ‘Gers striker Kenny Miller spent a couple of seasons here in Vancouver before returning to Ibrox in 2014. How has Kenny fared since returning to Rangers?
GBFO: He was generally poor last season, although nowhere near as bad as his old former MLS colleague, Kris Boyd, who was just quite incredibly bad (despite coming off the back of an excellent season in the top tier in Scotland.) Since then he's been moved into a very fluid front three by Warburton, playing with the hugely talented Barrie McKay and Martyn Waghorn, and he's been excellent. Kenny Miller playing up front on his own is something I associate with him scampering about fruitlessly while Scotland or Rangers stick to their 4-4-0-0-0-0-0-0-1 formation away to a far better side, but now I'd actually be glad to see it. His decision-making and link-up play have been superb and he's chipped in with quite a few goals. but it's not bad for a player who we assumed was totally finished.
On that note that's why it might be worth us (Rangers) keeping Aird, and the manager might see it that way too. Our best player this season, Barrie McKay, was widely-expected to be released in the summer after being generally awful on loan and seeming to have wasted his chance. The players who stayed from last season, when they could barely pass the ball, have been generally superb this year. Warburton seems to fancy his chances of turning players careers round if they have talent. Aird actually always impressed me in the warm-up drills whenever I was at a Rangers game, with seemingly really good close control, although he hasn't been able to show it much in actual matches. He's had a lot of games in the past, but that was for an awful Rangers side where there were all manner of off-field issues and an incompetent manager. A run of games in an actual, functioning football team might hopefully bring out the best in him - there's definitely a player in there somewhere.
Editor's note: we would like to thank Callum for his insight and bringing us up to speed on the "newest" Whitecap, Fraser Aird. You can keep up to date with all the latest Rangers news and match reports at "Got the Battle Fever On" or by giving them a follow on Twitter: