ROSS Wilson, the director of football operations at Southampton, insisted last night that rebuffing the chance to become director of football at Rangers was one of the 'most difficult decisions of his career' - but said he is heartened to see the progress currently being made at the Ibrox side by Steven Gerrard and Mark Allen.

Wilson, who rose through the ranks at Falkirk, Watford and Huddersfield, opted to stay at St Mary's last March prior to the appointment of Pedro Caixinha, a decision which led to the appointment of Allen from Manchester City. After a turbulent 2017-18 season, the early signs of the Gerrard era are far more positive. The Ibrox side have taken four points from their first six in the Ladbrokes Premiership and travel to Maribor in midweek with a 3-1 lead to protect in a Europa League third qualifying round tie.

“It was one of the most difficult decisions of my career not to take that job at that particular time,” recalled Wilson. “It is a club which has so much history, such high standards and such an attraction to it, because of the size of opportunity which a club like that presents you with.

“There are a lot of people inside Rangers who I would consider friends of mine, who I keep in touch with and keep on top of how things are going," he added. "I am delighted to see how well things are going at the moment, they are playing with pride, there is a lot of excitement and the fans are turning up in huge numbers to support the club and the investment they have made. It is a hugely exciting time for Rangers and as a Scotsman more than anything else I make sure to keep an eye on it.

“There are some excellent operators there, whether it is the chairman Dave King right through Stewart Robertson, Andrew Dickson and Mark Allen, who is doing a great job there since coming up from Manchester City."