McCoist heading on spy trip to Algarve

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RANGERS have stepped up the bid to boost their squad with a European scouting mission.

Assistant manager Ally McCoist is set to fly to the Algarve tomorrow to check out Cardiff defender Glenn Loovens and Middlesbrough midfielder Adam Johnson.

Rangers' first-team coach and European spy Ian Durrant attended the first night's action in the Algarve Challenge Cup, in which 24- year-old Loovens played the second half of the match against Guimaraes and Johnson came off the bench at half-time against Celtic.

McCoist and possibly Rangers boss Walter Smith had been tipped to take in the games at the Algarve Stadium.

But they remained in Scotland as Rangers took on Clyde in a friendly and it was Durrant, along with chief scout Ewen Chester, who was handed the responsibility of puting Loovens and Johnson under the microscope.

Durrant said: "We knew before we came out here that Loovens was only going to get half a game.

"We are looking at two or three players, and Coisty is coming out tomorrow to have a look."

Durrant saw Loovens help Cardiff to a 2-1 win over Portuguese opponents Guimaraes, and he strolled through the 45 minutes.

Johnson also looked good as he lined up against Celtic for the second half of Boro's match, starting wide left before moving to the other side near the end of the 1-1 draw.

Ex-Motherwell star Ross McCormack hit Cardiff's goals and Gavin Rae and Steven Thompson were also heavily involved.

Durrant said: "It was good to see Scottish lads do well, and Ross took his goals well. You come out here to look at players and it is the former Rangers ones who catch your eye.

"It was good performance by them and it was worth coming out to see these games."

Durrant has filed his reports on the potential targets, and Cardiff boss Dave Jones has invited Rangers to put up or shut up about Loovens.

He was quoted as saying talk of a £3m offer from Rangers for the Dutchman was derogatory. But the man who tried unsuccessfully to by Kris Boyd for £2.5m has confirmed he actually said derisory'.

McCoist confirmed he hopes they have snapped up a midfielder before Thursday night's European signing deadline for the second round of the Champions League qualifying stage.

He said: "It would be nice if we could get in another player before then. If somebody becomes available, we will do that.

"We are certainly looking for defensive and midfield players, but if it doesn't happen it won't be a disaster. We have players who can get us through this round.

"But we are looking at two or three players at this moment in time."
 
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