Jon Daly dismissed the press coverage of his move to Rangers in 2013.
With the label of the first Catholic player from the Republic of Ireland to play for Rangers, Jon Daly had to put up with a certain narrative after his switch from Dundee United.
Daly, a former Republic of Ireland U21 international, spent two years at Ibrox but despite the fact that the media latched on to that narrative, the Dubliner admitted he’s not even religious.
“I’m not religious at all, I’m not a practicing Catholic. If anything, I’m probably an atheist if I’m being truthful,” Daly said on the Si Ferry Open Goal podcast.
“So all that hype and everything, for me, it’s just nonsense. I didn’t really pay much attention to it.
“There was a big deal made of it at the time, and I’m still getting asked about it today, it’s obviously still a big talking point.
“For me, I just saw it as going to play for a massive football club, a worldwide institution, they’re a huge football club with fans all over the world, the same as Celtic.”
Daly scored 25 goals in his first season with Rangers, playing a massive role in getting the club promoted from Scottish League One.
A knee injury spelled the beginning of the end for Daly at Ibrox, however, and when Stuart McCall took temporary charge of Gers in March 2015, it became clear that his time was up.
“I became a cyclist under Stuart McCall,” Daly explained.
“With my clean up on my knee at the start of the season, I didn’t train as often. Like a lot of older pros you learn to manage your body that come game day you’re ready to go.
“At the start of the week, I wouldn’t be physically on the park training. I would be doing stuff in the gym, I would be on the alter-g treadmill doing running and getting my fitness up that way or in the pool getting stuff that way.
“So I didn’t really train on the park until later in the week.
“But under Stuart, I never really got an opportunity to show what I could do on the pitch in terms of matches. I was one of the only ones who didn’t play under him or would have had limited game time.
“There were times when Stuart would say ‘Look, you don’t need to come in tomorrow, there’s no need to travel from Dundee’.
“So I’d get on my bike and just cycle around Fife. I was getting ready for the Tour de France. I did some ridiculous cycles. I did 60 mile, 70 mile cycles, honestly.
“There were times I was training with the kids. You’re part of the bomb squad and not part of the plans.
“The biggest disappointment for me with that situation was it was coming out in the press that I was injured and I wasn’t and that bugged me.
“I knew it could then affect me trying to get my next move. I was comfortable with the situation in terms of ‘the manager doesn’t rate you or doesn’t want you’, that’s fine.
“But I felt the situation and the way it was handled was wrong. For me, I felt it should have been done different, but I enjoyed the cycle.”