Former Ibrox hero Peter Lovenkrands wants to manage Rangers one day and hopes his new job with the club’s youth academy can help him towards realising that ambition.
The ex-Denmark international was considered for a role working alongside manager Pedro Caixinha before Jonatan Johansson got the nod.
But Lovenkrands, who played for Rangers between 2000 and 2006, believes his work with the academy is an ideal first stepping stone towards one day taking up residence in the manager’s office.
“I’m very excited and looking forward to the challenge,” he told The Evening Times.
“I got asked to come in and do the interviews for the assistant coach job for the first team and I missed out on that – and of course that was hard to take because I really wanted that.
“But then I got asked to come in for this one and I thought it was a really good opportunity to show what I can do and get a foot in the door with the coaching and trying to get my experience across to the younger players.
“I have ambitions, I would love to be higher up and this is a way for me to come in and show what I can do and try to work my way up.
“But it’s not like I want to go in and work my way up to be a manager right away. I can’t see myself as a manager actually for quite a while, I need to learn a lot of the game in that way, the coaching side of it, but I do think I can see myself being higher up.
“The best way is to go in and show it and work your way up.”
Lovenkrands has recently completed his UEFA A license and is happy to be starting his coaching career with Rangers, for whom he scored 54 goals in 182 appearances.
He is part of a coaching team that also includes Andy Little, Stephen Little, Brian Gilmour and Graeme Murty and the Dane cannot wait to get started.
“I was just speaking with (head of academy) Craig Mulholland and the new structure he is looking at, it’s really interesting. I think it’s fantastic what he is doing,” he said.
“It’s something I’m happy to be part of and one I want to be part of. So when he asked me and we talked about it, it sounded really interesting and I wanted to come and help.”
Lovenkrands feels that young players respond best when they are working with coaches who have experience of playing at the highest level.
As well as playing for Rangers, the Dane was capped 22 times for his country and also had spells at AB, Schalke 04, Newcastle United and Birmingham City before retiring in 2014. He represented Denmark at both the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004.
“I think for young players, and I’ve been in that situation myself when I had Ian Durrant and John Brown in the under-21s when I came here, and having players who have been there and done it at the club and know what it is about and have that experience,” he said.
“I think young players will enjoy it a lot, coming in and knowing they are learning from players who have been through it.
“I think it’s a big thing and a good thing bringing in former players. I’m a little bit like I was as a player, I’m passionate, I give 110 percent with everything I do, so it will be the same on the sideline.”
Lovenkrands’ return to Rangers comes with the club stabilising following a tumultuous few years that culminated in liquidation and then three consecutive promotions to return to the Scottish Premiership.
Their first season in the top flight after promotion from the Scottish Championship ended with them finishing in third place behind Celtic and Aberdeen.