Dom jolly after Rangers' promotion!
07 April 2016|Tottenham Hotspur
Ecstatic Dominic Ball has vowed not to rest on his laurels after helping Rangers claim the Scottish Championship title and promotion back to the top flight.
Our on-loan defender, who has played 25 times for Mark Warburton’s men since linking up with them at the beginning of the campaign, was among Rangers’ substitutes as they clinched their domestic crown with a 1-0 victory over Dumbarton in front of almost 50,000 fans at Ibrox on Tuesday night.
The win ended a four-year exile from the Scottish Premiership for the world-renowned club but, with a Scottish Challenge Cup Final date with League One side Peterhead still to come on Sunday, then a mouth-watering Old Firm derby against Celtic in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup the following weekend, the 20-year-old says he’s determined to make a “special” campaign even better.
“I’m absolutely buzzing that we’ve won the league,” beamed the Welwyn Garden City-born defender, who has also been deployed in a holding midfield role on occasion this term. “We’ve been so close for the last month, so to finally win it is very special and a massive relief too.
“It’s my first professional trophy so I’m very glad to win it, especially with a big club like Rangers. When you go on loan you want to be contributing and playing in as many games as you can and I think I’ve made my fair contribution, playing in some important games that we’ve won.
“It’s been such a special experience and I’ve loved every minute of it. We’ve still got some games to play, though, and we’ve got some huge cup matches still to come. If I could come back with three medals at the end of it all, that would be perfect!”
Clearly relishing his time at Ibrox, Dominic spoke at length about his stint north of the border…
What’s it like to compete in the Scottish Championship?
“You can’t take any games for granted in this league – I think I learned that when I first came up. You might think that you’ve got a good chance to win certain games but then when you start playing some of the teams, they’re tough. Against the likes of Falkirk and Hibernian, some of the other teams as well, they’re all difficult games and you’ve still got to go and do the job. You certainly can’t be complacent because you’ll get punished.”
You could have won the league on Saturday but Raith Rovers got a last-minute equaliser to deny you that opportunity…
“Yes – if you look at the game at the weekend, it was just a rollercoaster of emotions. In the 90th minute we were 3-2 up, Hibs were losing and we were going up. Then they got a penalty, missed that, but then scored in the 94th minute so it was disappointing that we had to wait another three days to win the league but I guess it was a bit of a blessing in disguise because we ended up winning it in front of almost 50,000 fans at Ibrox.”
Tell us about your life up in Scotland since the beginning of the season…
“It’s been great. I live in the west end of Glasgow, between the city and the training ground, 10 or 15 minutes from each. The location is perfect and obviously the club has helped me get a nice flat so it’s all good. It’s great when we have home games – it’s daunting at the start when you play for such a big club in front of tens of thousands of fans but when you get used to it, you just thrive off of it. It’s a really special place and the fans are unbelievable.”
What are your thoughts ahead of taking on Peterhead in the Scottish Challenge Cup Final this weekend?
“I think we’re favourites going into the game, we’re playing a team in the division below but we know it’s going to be very difficult and we’ll be giving our all to win.”
Then you’ve got one of the biggest games in European football to look forward to – Rangers versus Celtic in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup. How do you feel about that game?
“It’s crazy up here with Rangers and Celtic and it makes you realise just how big it is. We’ve got the opportunity to play them now so it’s going to be exciting and I’m confident that we’ll do a good job. I think it’s one of the biggest games of any player’s career, not just mine and, for me, it’s going to be a great experience.”
Obviously the season isn’t over yet, but do you feel you’ve benefitted from your time at Rangers as a whole?
“Definitely. At this stage of my career it’s about getting games and improving and coming here to Rangers has certainly helped me with that. The manager, Mark Warburton, has been brilliant as well. I know him from my time at Watford when I was younger and you can see from the games what kinds of management methods he has. His man-management skills are brilliant and it’s a pleasure to play for him.”