Rangers v Motherwell: Baraclough aware of Haris Vuckic threat

Haris Vuckic celebrates a goal for Rangers
Haris Vuckic has been on form with Rangers
Scottish Premiership play-off final, first leg: Rangers v Motherwell
Date: Thursday, 28 May Venue: Ibrox Stadium Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Ian Baraclough knows Haris Vuckic will be one of Rangers' main dangers in the Premiership play-off final - having tried to sign him for Motherwell.

The Slovenia midfielder joined Rangers on loan from Newcastle United in January when he could have joined Well.

"He's come in and scored good goals at times and he'll be one of the threats for sure," said manager Baraclough ahead of the first leg at Ibrox.

"He is a good player amongst many good players. They've got threats all over."

Baraclough revealed he had also been in talks about signing England Under-20 midfielder Gael Bigirimana from the Magpies before he too ended up at Ibrox.

"We spoke about them when I first came in and they were two players that were mentioned," he said. "I had good conversations with the agent.

"I think Rangers were aware of that at the time, but I haven't got a clue how close we were to signing them."

While Bigirimana has failed to make a single appearance for Rangers, Vickic has been a standout for the side that finished third in the Scottish Championship, scoring nine goals in 20 outings.

Meanwhile, Motherwell's Josh Law is preparing for a midfield battle with older brother Nicky, who moved to Rangers from Fir Park in 2013.

Scott McDonald scores against Celtic in 2005
A famous Scott McDonald goal ended Celtic's title hopes in 2005

Nicky Law's manager at the time was Stuart McCall, who became Rangers manager in March after being succeeded by Baraclough at Motherwell.

And a further element of intrigue in the final is Scott McDonald, who in his first spell at Fir Park scored two goals against Celtic that diverted the path of the league trophy away from his future club and to Alex McLeish's Rangers.

The Australian striker went on to score a number of important goals against Rangers as a Celtic player and returned to Motherwell after spells in England.

Meanwhile, Baraclough has himself experienced the highs and lows of play-offs in a career that took him to Grimsby Town, Lincoln City, Mansfield Town, Notts County, Queens Park Rangers, Notts County and Scunthorpe United as a player before managing the later.

Baraclough on Law versus Law

"I don't know what's been happening in that household. Hopefully Josh has been doing his own cooking.

"Josh has come in each morning with a spring in his step. He's looking forward to it.

"Lord knows what is going on with their mum and dad. It must be hell for them.

"They are staying down south by all accounts.

"Strange dynamics, but it's a great twist going into this game."

Baraclough on Stuart McCall's legacy

"They have a good manager in Stuart McCall, who I know very well, and it is a great challenge to come up against him.

"I respect him for what he's done at this football club. He'll be forever remembered by the fans and hopefully on Sunday he'll get a good reception before battle commences.

"It could be a disadvantage for him. He made a lot of friends here. He'll have to deal with that in his own private way."

Baraclough on McDonald's "Helicopter Sunday"

"Scott McDonald wants to score in every game he plays.

"I think Rangers fans loved him on that occasion. Hopefully they will be loathing him come Sunday."

Baraclough on play-off experiences

"I've been involved in play-offs down the years as a player - unfortunately beaten by a Bradford team at the old Wembley - and it wasn't nice to take.

"I've been involved as a coach at Scunthorpe where we beat Millwall at Wembley to get promotion.

"They are great days when you win and everyone wants to feel that side of it and you learn as well from the negative experience of losing.

"We'd rather not be involved in the play-offs, but now it's here, I'll relish it and enjoy it for what it is because, when you win in these situations, it's a great feeling.

"I want us to experience that winning feeling. The idea is not to be intimidated by it and be inspired by it."

Baraclough on potential relegation

"Financially, the new owner, Les Hutchison, has come in and been very fair and calming in that respect.

"He said this club has a long-term plan and vision that would not be affected by what is to happen."

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