King of the highlands threat

Jason Holt has first-hand experience of the threat Inverness winger Billy King is capable of – but reckons Rangers would be wrong to ignore the rest of the Caley Thistle ranks.

Ibrox midfielder Holt graduated from the same Hearts youth academy as King – who is currently on loan in the Highlands from Tynecastle.

The pair also spent six months together last season when King was farmed out by Jambos boss Robbie Neilson to help Mark Warburton’s Gers seal their top-flight return.

And King has continued to impress since joining up with Richie Foran’s side this term, smashing home a sensational long-range effort during last month’s draw with Celtic.

But while his former team-mate Holt is well aware of the problems King will pose his side when Rangers head up the A9 for Friday night’s Ladbrokes Premiership clash, he does not want to take his eye off the dangers lurking in other areas of the Inverness line-up.

He said: ” The guys who were here last year will all know what Billy can bring to their team and the ability he’s got.

“We will need to be aware of that but as a team in general we know Inverness will make it tough for us. We need to be on top of our game.

“Inverness have been doing well recently and we’re under no illusions – it is going to be difficult up there on Friday night.

“We’ll go up there with confidence and try to enforce our style of play from the start with a high intensity. From the first minute we will be on the front foot.”

Holt endured a troubled start to the campaign as an ankle injury ruled him out of the opening month of action.

But the Joey Barton saga has opened up a slot in Warburton’s midfield and the 23-year-old has taken advantage after re-establishing the partnership he formed with Andy Halliday during last year’s successful promotion push.

His club boss has already suggested the recent displays of both men should put them in contention for Scotland honours.

That possibility will have to wait until the uncertainty over national team boss Gordon Strachan’s future is resolved, but Holt insists he will not give up on his dream.

He said: “For both Andy and myself, it’s just about working hard every day, keep trying to perform as well as we can for Rangers and then who knows?”

The Barton row continues to hang over the club like a dark cloud but Holt is just pleased to be back alongside his friend Halliday.

The pair combined with Niko Kranjcar to help claim a 2-0 win over Partick Thistle in their last game before the international break as Gers picked up just their third win of the league campaign so far.

Now Holt is looking to build some momentum ahead of next weekend’s Betfred Cup semi-final duel with Celtic, where the Light Blues will aim to gain revenge for their 5-1 Old Firm hammering five weeks ago.

“Andy and I can both play with any of the midfielders we have in the team but we played together in nearly every game last year, so we’ve got a good relationship both on and off the park,” he said.

“Against Partick, Niko was great too. He scored a goal which was straight out of the top drawer.

“I think that before Partick, performances were good without getting results and then you flip that, we got the result against Partick without actually playing particularly well.

“I think it’s about getting that balance, but I know that there’s more to come.

“We know there is a Celtic game coming up, but our focus is fully on Inverness on Friday. We always take one game at a time and we don’t look too far ahead, so we are just thinking about Friday.”

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