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Last updateFri, 28 Nov 2014 7am

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On the outside looking in

ONE year ago, Marvin Andrews and Nacho Novo were driving Rangers towards the Scottish Premier League title.

Marv was the defensive rock who landed the fans' Player of the Year award; Novo scored the goal that clinched the crown on that dramatic Sunday at Easter Road.

Today, both players find themselves benched on a weekly basis as Alex McLeish's side battle for second place.

Novo and Andrews have been linked with summer exits from Ibrox as new boss Paul Le Guen gets ready to arrive, but, as DARRELL KING discovers, just getting back into the plans is the only thing on their minds.

FOR a man who made the Keep Believing phrase something of a motto among the Rangers legions, it's no surprise to find Marvin Andrews remaining positive as he assesses his current situation at Ibrox.

The big Trinidadian has yet to confirm his future plans, as has the club, although it is believed he has started enough games in the past two seasons to trigger a one-year extension on his contract.

If that is indeed the case, he will turn up after the World Cup in Germany this summer to begin life in the Paul Le Guen era and take his chances.

Grey areas indeed. But what is crystal clear is Andrews' commitment to the cause, even though he finds himself shunted on to the sidelines by Soto Kyrgiakos and Julien Rodriguez.

Andrews had fought his corner well over the season, and was aided by a long-term injury to Rodriguez in the autumn.

But when the Frenchman came back to full fitness eight matches ago, Marv was dropped to the bench.

With just six games to go, it is unlikely Andrews will feature again this season, but he continues to throw his shoulder behind the wheel.

The former Raith Rovers and Livingston man said: "I am biding my time. The team is playing well right now and the boys at the back have been doing well. I don't think the manager will change it.

"I just have to think that I'll get my opportunity and, if I do, then I'll have to try and take it.

"As for the new manager coming in, I don't know what his methods are - I do know that I'll always be Marvin Andrews and play my football.

"The most important thing for everyone here is to see the season out under Alex McLeish. Whatever happens after that will take care of itself."

Andrews has a lot to thank McLeish for as he looks back over his career in Scotland. The 30-year-old was brought to these shores as a raw kid from the Caribbean when big Eck was Motherwell boss.

Then, two years ago, McLeish brought him from Livi to Glasgow. Over the piece, Andrews has never let his boss down, although it remains to be seen if he will still be around when Le Guen takes over.

"I think everyone here wants to do well for the manager, that's why the focus is on getting us back into the Champions League," added Andrews.

"We are all going to give our best for him. Also, for our magnificent fans, we need to get back to that arena next season.

"It's not ideal when the manager is leaving at the end of the season, but he has done a great job at Rangers and won many trophies.

"I'm sure he'll be happy and confident in the decision he has made. That's all that is important, to be happy and content.

"I am sure there will be a lot of clubs wanting him. When one door closes, another door opens. I wish him all the best when he goes."

Rangers are hitting form at just the right time as they attempt to overhaul Hearts and secure the Champions League qualification prize that comes with second place.

Last weekend's 4-1 demolition of Dundee United sets them up perfectly for the home game with Motherwell on Saturday - then comes the crucial split against the teams around them.

"We are playing well and with confidence, and the goals we scored up at Tannadice were great," added Andrews. "That application has to be there in every game and last season proved there can be twists and turns."

A year ago, Andrews was thrust into the limelight when it emerged he was defying medical opinion to play through a knee ligament injury.

The defender put his faith in God, rather than surgery and, amazingly, to this day he has never gone under the knife to get his ligament repaired.

The injury was sustained at Dens Park, the very same place where the unfortunate Lee Wilkie is now going through horrendous problems.

After breaking down three times with knee problems, the big Dundee defender has been told by medics there is nothing more they can do, and he now faces the prospect of hanging up his boots or trying, somehow, to find a way to play on.

"Lee's situation is different from mine, but, of course, if he needs inspiration or someone to talk to about it, I will always be available," says Andrews.

"If the doctor says there are no more operations that can help him, then God is his only hope. I don't know if he is a religious person, but if he is he can play again. There is always hope."