By George Overhill

19th Apr, 2023 | 8:10am

Rangers: David Martindale reveals surprise at Stephen Kelly transfer amid 'more money' claim

Stephen Kelly turned down more money elsewhere when he left Rangers to sign for Livingston claims manager David Martindale.

The former Ibrox midfielder moved to the Tony Maraconi Arena in September on an undisclosed fee, having racked up a series of loans during his time as a Light Blue.

Having been at Salford City in English League 2 last season he started the season in the Gers B team, but he was generating interest from a number of sources over the summer and Martindale has revealed his surprise at managing to secure the 23-year-old on a cheaper deal than he could have got.

The Livi boss said, as per the Scottish Sun: “He’d been at Rangers but had been on loan and that’s tough because you don’t know where you’ll be playing the next year.

“I’m surprised we got him as he had options. It is credit to him and his agent at the time as they pushed him to come here. He understood our progression with players.

“He could have gone elsewhere for more money but he took a gamble to come to us and I think his career will go upwards from here.”

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It appears that Kelly chose the right situation rather than just the most money and is now seeing the benefit of his decision.

He has scored five and assisted three across 24 SPFL appearances this season for the mid-table side, starting on a fairly regular basis.

The former Ross County and Ayr United loanee didn’t look to be in line to get anywhere near that kind of usage in Glasgow so it was time he moved on to a new permanent home.

It might be considered a slightly disappointing conclusion to his time at Ibrox with there having been high hopes for him as a youngster while Steven Gerrard was manager.

But not every player can make it at any club, let alone at Rangers where the margin for error has to be slim.

Plenty of the veteran options in Michael Beale’s current squad are likely to be on the way out in the coming months, which may make room for more playing time for some of the club’s youngsters.

But aside from Leon King and the lesser-spotted Alex Lowry there haven’t been too many graduates in the past couple of seasons.

In other Rangers news, one senior pro who seemed certain to move on has been talked up for a surprise stay by a club legend.