7 Irish Players That Played For Rangers
In this post you will find out about 7 Irish players that played for Rangers, a club in Glasgow with a strong protestant identity.
If you took one glimpse at a Celtic match, you would be forgiven for assuming you were watching an Irish Club. Throughout Celtic Park, you can see the crowd decorated with Irish flags and colours and The Fields of Athenry chorused across the ground.
However, much to people’s argument, Celtic are a Scottish club situated and playing in Scotland. They just so happened to be founded by an Irish Marist Brother Walfrid who founded the club to alleviate poverty in the East of Glasgow and thus the strong connection between Ireland and the club exists.
Due to this historical connection between Ireland and Celtic and the highly sectarian element of the Rangers and Celtic rivalry, the relationship between Ireland and Rangers is very much considered taboo even today. Former Ireland U18 and U19 Charlie McCann did play for Rangers from 2021-2023 but he has since switched to Northern Ireland.
However, on the 28th of January last year Irish Women’s International Ciara Grant broke the taboo by signing for Rangers on a six-month deal putting her on the small list of Irish players that played for Rangers. Grant became the first Republic of Ireland international to sign for Rangers since Alex Stevenson in 1932.
She would go on to help Rangers to finish the season unbeaten and win their first-ever Scottish Women’s Premier League title before departing that summer.
Below you can find out about seven Irish players who have donned the Blue of Rangers and not the Green of Celtic.
Irish Players That Played For Rangers
1. Alex Craig (1905-1912 + 1914-1916)
The full-back born in Galway represented Ireland at the International level nine times from 1908-1914 so he had actually played for Ireland before he had ever played for Rangers.
Craig represented Rangers over 140 times across his two spells with the club and will forever be the first Irish man to don the blue of Rangers.
2. Jim MacAuley (1910)
The “inside forward” was born in Portarlington Co. Offaly in 1889. His family moved to Belfast when he was young where he played football with the likes of Cliftonville.
MacAuley would sign for Rangers in 1910 and played a small role in Rangers’ title success, he played a single game for the Glasgow club, a 1-1 draw.
3. Bert Manderson (1914-1927)
The right-back was born in Belfast in 1893 and would represent Ireland five times at international level from 1920-1926 and Northern Ireland three times in 1926.
Manderson had quite the storied career with Rangers where he played for 370 Games for them and scored five goals.
4. Alex Stevenson (1932 – 1934)
Born in Dublin the inside-left player is the only player to play for both the FAI and IFA XIs and to line out for Rangers.
Stevenson was already a full-Ireland international when he signed for Rangers in 1932 and it was another 14 years, interrupted by World War II, before he represented the FAI again. The Dublin born man would win the Scottish League with Rangers in the 1933–34 season.
5. Alan Smith (2010 – 2013)
The Cobh native and former Ireland U19 International came through the ranks of Springfield in Cork and with Crumlin United in Dublin before signing for Rangers aged 16 in 2010. Smith would go on to make just one appearance for Rangers, as a late sub in a friendly with Linfield, but never made it further from the bench in League Two.
He was released from Rangers in the summer of 2013 after a serious knee injury severely halted his progress. Smith joined Cork City in 2015 but left in 2018 and at the age of only 29 has not played since.
6. Jon Daly (2013 – 2015)
Following the club’s liquidation, relegation and transfer ban the club would win and re-enter the pyramid in the fourth tier where they would win the League Two title, their transfer ban would be lifted in September 2013.
One of the first players signed by the club was former Ireland U21 striker Jon Daly. Daly would surprise many with his performances at Ibrox where he scored 21 goals in 50 appearances over two seasons for the Gers, helping them to the League One title in his first season before departing in 2015.
7. Rob Kiernan (2015-2017)
Despite being English born the defender qualified for Ireland through his father who was born in Wexford. He would go on to represent Ireland at U18, U19 and U21 levels 23 times in total and was often captain of his country.
On 22 June 2015 Kiernan signed a two-year deal at Rangers for a transfer fee reported to be £200,000. He would play 76 Games for the club winning the Scottish Championship and Scottish Challenge Cup in the 2015-2016 season.
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