He is Rangers’ top goalscorer so far this season – but the best still comes from Abdallah Sima.
That is the verdict of Billy Reid, who knows the Senegal international striker well from his time together on England’s south coast with Brighton.
Former Hamilton coach Reid was assistant to Graham Potter when the Seagulls brought Sima to British football in 2021.
He was immediately loaned out to Stoke City and has yet to make a first team appearance for Brighton.
But Reid says that shouldn’t be a cause for concern – because that’s the Seagulls’ tried-and-tested formula.
Sima has scored nine goals in 16 games for Rangers after Michael Beale brought him on loan in the summer.
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Reid told SunSport: “As most people know, Brighton’s recruitment policy is based on a points system and Abdallah’s attributes have made him aware of this.”
“The plan when he came to the UK was always to take him out on loan so he could develop and get used to the UK.
“Even little things like improving the language because his English wasn’t that good at first.
“That’s how Brighton worked. Moises Caicedo was loaned out to Belgian League bottom side Beerschot and has just moved for £115m.
“When Alexis Mac Allister joined, he stayed with a few clubs in Argentina before coming to the UK.
“Abdallah picked up an injury upon his arrival from Slavia Prague and was not at his best for a few weeks.
“You could see the qualities he is showing now at Rangers. He was fast, strong and could run behind the defense.
“But it was clear he wasn’t firing on all cylinders – and when he went to Stoke he had the same problems and couldn’t have a decent run in their team.
“He is a player who needs to be at the highest level physically to show what he is capable of.
“He has been training well and working really hard in every session because he wants to perform well.
“He’s great as a boy. He was one of those boys who always came in with a smile on his face.
“He is an infectious character and even when his English wasn’t that good, he was always an important part of the dressing room.
“Now he speaks the language easily and I’m sure he’ll be popular at Ibrox.”
Beale was sacked by Gers after a miserable start to the season saw them crash out of the Champions League and fall seven points behind champions Celtic in the Premiership.
Reid believes 22-year-old Sima has the mental strength to withstand the pressure under new Ibrox boss Philippe Clement.
He said: “Everyone knows there can be two paths in this city. You can get started right away and the fans will love you, or you have a hard time and have to win them over.
“I’m happy that Abdallah is playing a lot of games and scoring goals. Being in the team and playing consistently will only benefit him.
“When I moved to Rangers on loan I wondered where he would play. He’s a striker but I think they use him coming from the left with his pace and power.
“Some of his goals were clinical outcomes.
“With his speed he will outrun most defenders here. And he can do explosive things.
“I watched Rangers’ game against PSV and they had a difficult first half. You could hear the fans getting a little into him.
“But then he got a meter of space and rolled one of them into the top container – he can do something like that. He can do brilliant things.
“It’s just a matter of finding the level of consistency that is required at Rangers.
“I’m back in Scotland at the moment and I’ve probably seen more Rangers in the last three months than I have in the last 11 years.
“Everyone knows how demanding things are at the top of the Premier League.
“If Rangers had won the first Old Firm game of the season things might have been very different for Michael Beale.
“I saw them a few times towards the end of last season and thought they looked OK.
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“But the players that came in in the summer didn’t perform, he had a few injuries and then we know what happened.
“It will be interesting to see how things go under the new manager but he has made a pretty good start.”
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