GREGORY Vignal’s training attire is all grey, but the Frenchman’s face lights up as he talks about his latest challenge at Rangers’ Hummel centre on the outskirts of Milngavie. This man of many clubs – 14 – who played professional football in six countries, seems genuinely excited about his first job as a head coach.

That it is in women’s football and with a mid-table Scottish side seems to have no downsides for the 38-year-old. Last Sunday he took Rangers on a day trip to Prenton Park for a closed-door friendly against one of his former clubs, Liverpool. It resulted in an 8-1 defeat and the early loss of his goalkeeper Khym Ramsay to injury, but Vignal views it as an important learning experience.

Today Rangers host Glasgow City, 20 points ahead of their opponents despite the two sides having barely passed the midway stage of a disrupted league season. Once again, as he did last Sunday, Vignal will use the game to assess what needs to be done to achieve the ambitious targets set by both him and his employers.

“They are the best team in the country, with the best players,” Vignal said of the 12-times Scottish champions. “I don’t want to put my players under pressure because there is no pressure on us. The league is already over – Glasgow City will be champions for sure.

“My target is to show to my squad what we can do and where we can improve. I want to use this kind of game to improve everything.”

Vignal replaced Amy McDonald as head coach in July. The changes

coincided with the women’s team and academy becoming fully integrated in Rangers’ football department, with training and home games moved to the Hummel centre.

Even more ambitiously, the club announced the increased investment would allow for existing players and new signings to be put on professional contracts if considered good enough. With Celtic having already promised to deliver full-time football next year, the stakes are increasing.

Vignal’s problem, as the league table makes abundantly clear, is that his current squad is nowhere near good enough to compete with Glasgow City and Hibernian, both of whom are in Champions League action this week, never mind Celtic. There will have to be heavy recruitment over the winter but, as his

Parkhead counterpart Eddie Wolecki Black discovered in the last close season, the top Scottish players are only interested in moving to England – or, failing that, City or Hibs.

Rangers, pre-Vignal, tried very hard to hold on to Amy Muir, but even although she supports the Glasgow club, the former Scotland Under-19 captain moved to Hibs in the summer.

The advent of professional contracts may change that, while the strong Liverpool connection at

Rangers could open opportunities to Vignal for loan signings. And he has no doubt last Sunday’s friendly against the FA WSL side was worthwhile.

“We played Liverpool last week and we have been destroyed,” he said. “But it was positive for us because it showed where we are. I am very honest with myself, the players and the club. We have to increase every single department to be ready for next year. We are targeting very good players, of course we are, because that’s part of the project. The aim is simple – to be ready to play at a high level, to win the title, and to play in the

Champions League. This is where the club wants to go. I know where we are, we’ve just started, and I will use the next 10 weeks to make sure I know what I want.”