Greg Stewart promises Rangers fans hes learned from weight issues and opens up on past failures – Daily Record

He grew up a Rangers fan in Fallin and Greg Stewart made sure there would be no chance of a fall out from a summer of excess.

He admits he hit the beach and bars too heavily two summers ago but this time the Ibrox frontman is just interested in hitting the goals trail.

Stewart, 29, got off to a flyer with his boyhood favourites on Sunday when he scored on his Ibrox debut in the 5-0 pre-season rout of Oxford.

The action gets underway for real tonight when Rangers take on St Joseph’s in Gibraltar in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier.

Stewart is determined not to let up on the biggest challenge of his life after admitting his first loan spell at Aberdeen almost faltered because of a pre-season of excess.

Unhappy with his career direction at parent club Birmingham, he went on three holidays at the end of the 2016-17 season and paid a hefty cost when he returned home overweight and out of condition after breaks with his mates, his missus and his family.

07/07/19 PRE SEASON FRIENDLY RANGERS v OXFORD UNITED IBROX – GLASGOW Rangers’ Greg Stewart (R) competes with Alex Gorrin

This time? He spent his break counting calories and keeping in condition to ensure he has the best chance possible of fulfilling his potential with Steven Gerrard’s squad.

Stewart said: “We were all given off-season plans from the fitness coaches so I made sure I kept on top of that so I could prepare myself as much as possible coming into the new campaign.

“You can’t really return in bad shape anymore, it is not like back in the day where you could be a few stone overweight.

“I have learned my lesson from that previously. I won’t do that again. You learn from your failures so I tried to prepare myself as best as possible this time around.

“I am not getting any younger either so I have to return in as best shape as possible and the fitness team here have helped with that.

“You eat the right things and do the right things to make yourself ready for the games. It is still early days yet and the fitness and sharpness will come with more games.


“I am just looking forward to the games coming thick and fast and I was delighted that I managed to get off the mark at the weekend.

“It was my main aim when I knew I was starting against Oxford because you want to score as soon as possible when you come to a new team. The chance to write my own chapter at this club? That’s the chance that I have been given. Every chance I get I want to grasp it.”

Stewart scored just one goal in the opening months of the season when he first moved to Pittodrie and fought for fitness on the back of his own recklessness.

In stark contrast, on loan at Kilmarnock in the opening weeks of the last campaign he found the net eight times from his first dozen matches.

His level of performance at Rugby Park, which continued in a second loan stint at Pittodrie in the second half of the campaign, convinced Gerrard to move when his contract at St Andrew’s expired.

Stewart, released by Rangers as a young teenager, is one of six new arrivals at Ibrox in the summer and after casting envious eyes from afar in previous years, he admits he has been bowled over by the standard of the Light Blues’ squad now he’s up close
and personal.

The Ranger players celebrate Greg Stewart’s goal

Rangers fans were also given a tantalising glimpse of the potential of players such as Joe Aribo, Sheyi Ojo and George Edmundson against Oxford, although analysis will be more exacting when the season begins in earnest on the Rock.

They aren’t tooling up to finish second again and Stewart said: “Rangers is probably even more than I expected.

“I didn’t realise how good the club was looking at the moment with the players here already. When you get an opportunity, you have to take it.

“I know it is early days and there is a lot of hard work to be done but if we just keep doing what we are doing, we could achieve something special this year.

“We’ve played two bounce games behind closed doors but it doesn’t feel the same as walking out at Ibrox in front of the fans.

“It was good to get that game under our belts on Sunday. We are looking forward to the match against St Joseph’s and it is obviously the first competitive game of the season. The boys are raring to go.”

The Europa League campaign and, in particular, qualification for the group stage, was Gerrard’s finest achievement in his first season in management, not least in terms of the financial boost it gave to the club’s bottom line.

But Stewart knows, as a fan, the boost to the prestige of the club and self-respect of the supporters that comes on the back of big European nights.

He said: “I have been to a few Champions League games and I was down at Manchester (for the 2008 UEFA Cup Final) with family and friends. Those occasions live with you for the rest of your life.

“I want to be part of those big nights. I have dreamed of it, the atmosphere around those games is unbelievable.

“I watched the Europa League last year and you always want to go further in any competition. If we can go one better than we did last year, great, but we will respect every opponent we play.”

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