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Ben Williamson determined to ‘get under nose’ of Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst by shining with Raith Rovers

Ben Williamson is out to make up for lost time this term
Ben Williamson is out to make up for lost time this term

Ben Williamson believes spearheading Raith Rovers’ promotion push is the perfect way to catch the eye of Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

Williamson, 20, has joined the Fifers on loan until the end of the season after an underwhelming stint at Livingston was cut short.

The combative midfielder made just seven appearances for the Lions and was dismissed on his final outing against Dundee United in October.

His exile from the Livi side was untimely, coinciding with van Bronckhorst replacing Steven Gerrard at the helm.

The last thing Williamson, contracted to the Gers until 2023, needed was to be out of sight and out of mind.

There will be no danger of that at Raith, with his energy and drive set to be pivotal in their bid to reach the Premiership.

Rangers manager Van Bronckhorst

“I spoke to [Livingston manager] Davie Martindale and he was really good with it,” explained Williamson. “I told him I wanted to progress — I don’t just want to be a training player. He was fine with that.

“I want to get under the gaffer’s nose at Rangers.

Playing here at Raith will do that because they are a good footballing side. That will help me.

“Billy Kirkwood is my loans manager and I’m always in touch with him. He’ll tell me what the gaffer’s saying. I need to do well here and hopefully show that I’m good enough.

“I need to play, get minutes under my belt and earn more experience; do well and impress them, basically.”

Livi learning curve

Williamson was a standout for Arbroath in the second half of last season, scoring one goal in 18 appearances and winning the Lichties’ young player of the year award.

Becoming a Scotland under-21 internationalist, he appeared ready for a formative spell in the Premiership.

But a mixture of circumstances — some his fault, others anything but — meant his time at Livingston proved forgettable.

Keen: Williamson

He added: “It was hard to get into the team, especially as we played Rangers three times [for which he was ineligible] and I got Covid!

“It was just kind of stop-start all the time.

“That’s football; there are ups and downs.

“I made the most of training because I wasn’t really playing. I was working on my fitness and getting ready for the next challenge, which is here at Raith.”

Discussing that red card against United, he laughs ruefully: “I don’t want to talk about that one! No, that was my senior first red card; I had one in the youth academy years ago. I just need to learn from it and hopefully not do it again.”

Debut derby

Williamson was immediately pitched into the Rovers starting line-up for Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Dunfermline, turning in a bright, feisty showing on the right side of a midfield diamond.

“I thought I did alright,” he smiled. “Enjoying my football; playing with a smile on my face — that’s all I wanted to do. I did that, so it was good.”

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