Diomande pleased with more minutes as he gets up to speed at Rangers

The midfielder made his first start since moving from FC Nordsjaelland.

Diomande pleased to earn more minutes as he gets up to speed at Rangers SNS Group

Mohamed Diomande was happy to take another step towards full fitness after making his first start for Rangers in the 2-0 Scottish Cup win over Ayr.

The 22-year-old Ivorian midfielder joined the Ibrox club from FC Nordsjaelland last month on a loan deal until the end of the season, with an obligation for the Light Blues to buy in the summer for an undisclosed fee.

Diomande came off the bench late in the home win over Aberdeen on Tuesday and boss Philippe Clement included him in the line-up for Saturday’s visit of the Championship side, with Colombian winger Oscar Cortes, on loan from Lens, also making his first start.

Borna Barisic’s deflected low drive put the Light Blues ahead after 10 minutes and Diomande was taken off in a triple substitution around the hour mark before Fabio Silva, another January recruit, scored the clinching second goal.

Diomande told RangersTV: “It was tough for me as I haven’t played competitive football since November.

“But I got the minutes I wanted and I tried to push myself to get to the same level as the rest of the boys but it was good.

“I want to do everything I can to contribute to the team. I need to show I can help the team.

“I am going to push and make use of the opportunities I am getting.

“The club and the boys have really helped me settle in and I have moved into a new house and I am really enjoying that. I want to go around the city and see some places too.”

Ayr, managed by former Celtic captain Scott Brown, put up a decent fight without really suggesting that they could pull off a shock.

Diomande said: “It was good for us to win and we controlled the game, playing with a good tempo.

“Ayr couldn’t really match it, but after we scored the first goal the level dropped a little bit for the last 15 minutes of the first half.

“The most important thing is to win the game and we have done that and we are in the next round.”

Brown could find little fault with his players.

He said: “Our performance was really, really good.

“We knew Rangers were going to have a lot of possession, which was fine, but it was build-up play from the back.

“What I am more impressed with than anything is that the lads had character.

“It takes a lot to go there and play, especially when you lose an early goal because the lads could have crumbled. But they had that desire and belief in themselves and they stuck to the game plan.”

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