It is seven years since Nicky Law left Rangers. In more ways than one, Rangers have never really left Law.

Now living and working Stateside, Law still encounters Rangers supporters that are keen to talk about the club and his time at Ibrox. A couple of weeks ago, he was up at six in the morning to watch the Old Firm defeat to Celtic and post-match debriefs with his father-in-law are a regular occurrence as he keeps a close eye on the fortunes of a club that is very different to the one that he departed just weeks before their first game back in the Premiership.

The three seasons that Law spent at Ibrox were certainly not the most memorable for those that watched them from the stands. Yet one of the mainstays of that side still recalls them with fondness and still uses them as an inspiration now that he is on the other side of the white line. Law the Tampa Bay Rowdies manager was shaped by Law the Rangers midfielder.

“I think my spell at Rangers had the biggest influence on my playing career, my experiences and now taking it on to my coaching career,” Law told The Rangers Review. “The sheer size of the place and the standards, the little things like wearing suits. It was just standards, the history of the club.

“Draws were unacceptable at Rangers, never mind defeats. It is the highest expectation levels I faced in my career and they stick with you. To me, that is how any club should expect to operate, to the highest standards. They are different sizes of clubs and finances, but whatever your budget or your restraints or wherever you are, you have to strive to be the best and give the guys the best standards and expectations every day.”

Law embarked on a new chapter in his life and career two years ago when he left Exeter City to join USL Championship outfit Indy Eleven. Like his stint at Ibrox, it has been quite the tale as the twists and turns have seen doors opened and opportunities explored and he finds himself putting the lessons learned in blue to good use in the dugout at the Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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As the calendar flicks over from year to year, the days of ‘The Journey’ will be lost in the mists of time but Law’s Ibrox experiences are embedded in his mind. He speaks appreciatively of the chance that he was granted and is honest enough to acknowledge that it wouldn’t have materialised if Rangers had not found themselves in the lower echelons of the Scottish game.

The League One title was lifted during his first term under Ally McCoist. The trials and tribulations that followed amid the backdrop of the boardroom machinations that would eventually result in regime change were more profound than a failed Championship title bid.

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The euphoria of beating Celtic at Hampden was followed by the agony of losing to Hibernian. A Championship medal was added to a Challenge Cup gong and Law was released by Mark Warburton at the end of his third season at Ibrox.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity and to be associated with Rangers is an honour,” Law said. “I loved it. To see them win the league and the good moments they have had has been great to see. I am proud to have played there.

“It is good to see them competing every year and I think Scottish football needed it as well. It was a long journey back but the game has improved and you need a strong Rangers and Celtic for that to happen.

“Wherever I go, I meet Rangers fans. There are fans here in America that recognise you and that come and say hello. To be fair, they say thank you for my time there and they are always great all over the world.

“They say that when you sign you are always embedded in the history of the club. I still watch the games, I still want Rangers to win and do well. It is just the way it is. It was an unbelievable time, some good and some bad. When I look back on it now, it is definitely one of the proudest times of my career for sure.”

That career saw Law return to Bradford City and then spend an enjoyable time at Exeter City. In the twilight of his playing days, a new dawn broke and he realised his own American dream.

He laughs when he discusses his fondness of the States and slips into the local language by calling previous family trips there vacations rather than holidays. Interest from teams in Major League Soccer clubs during his time at Rangers never materialised into a move.

“The attraction of America has always been there for me,” Law said. “It just never happened for a couple of different reasons. At 32, 33, I guess I thought I had kind of missed my chance to come out and never expected it to happen.”

The story then becomes one of knowing the right people. A friend of a friend floated the idea of a switch to Indiana and Law soon linked up with Martin Rennie, who had tried to take him to Seoul a couple of years previously. That deal didn’t appeal at the time, but America certainly did and Law would spend 18 months with the side nicknamed The Boys in Blue as a leap of faith, a step into the unknown, proved to be a sliding doors moment both personally and professionally.

“The first year when you move countries is the most difficult and there were times when both of us thought ‘do we want to go back?’ because you miss friends, you miss family,” Law said of the discussions with his wife, Amy, and the trips back to England to ease the homesickness. “I always say that for anyone who comes out, it is how do you navigate that first year? Do you stick at it?

“We had Cammy Smith out here, who joined Indy at the same time as me, and three months in he had enough and wanted to go back. I can see easily why that does happen. We came through that year and then we wanted to stay. I was at Rangers with Danny Wilson and he had a similar experience, Rob Kiernan had a similar experience. We all had the same thing.”

The decision to stick it out was the right one for Law, Amy and son Oscar, who is now seven-years-old. Once again, a previous relationship would transform their lives on and off the park.

Law had been a team-mate of Neill Collins during the defender’s loan spell at Sheffield United from Sunderland way back in 2006. It was in the midst of his time at Bramall Lane that he became close with Jon Stead and, as fate would have it, the pair were looking for a midfielder to move to the Rowdies.

It was either Florida or England for Law the footballer and Law the husband and father. As he describes a way of life that ‘you can’t beat’ it becomes clear that the decision was the right one. The golden beaches and climate - there is an average of 361 days of sunshine each year in Pinellas County - are an obvious appeal and Law jokes that his family visit them more now than they did when he was in Alabama.

That was only a short-term arrangement. Again, it had come about through a long-standing relationship as Jack Collison, the former West Ham United and Wales midfielder, offered Law a player/coach position at Huntsville City.

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Sooner rather than later, Law was back in familiar territory. Collins and Stead returned to England to take over at Barnsley in July and the approach from the Rowdies was as welcome as it was out of the blue for Law.

“Telling my wife we were leaving Florida to move to Alabama was not one of the easiest ones but it made sense from a career point of view,” Law said. “I never imagined I would be back in Florida but six months later I got the call and was asked if I would consider doing the role as head coach.

“It was a no-brainer, really, from there and it was a great conversation to have with my wife saying that we were going back. It was unbelievable and I was honoured to be asked. It came way sooner than I ever imagined but I love doing it and hope that I can do it for years to come.

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“It is a really good club and the best club in the USL. Living here and everything that comes with it, it is perfect. When you are coming over to America, these are the kind of places you think of coming to.  Indy was really nice but to be in Florida, Tampa, St Pete, it is amazing and with a young family it is perfect. We absolutely love it.”

Law’s fortunes on the pitch mirror those off it. The first weeks of his tenure have been disrupted by paperwork issues and a return to England to sort out his visa has seen him miss the last couple of matches, including the draw away to San Antonio last Saturday evening.

The Rowdies sit just three points adrift of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in the USL standings. With a game in hand, their destiny is very much in their own control as Law has picked up where Collins left off following his switch to Oakwell.

"I have enjoyed it," Law said. "Neill took Steady with him but the rest of his staff stayed behind and they have been a huge help to me as well.

"I knew how they played here from being a player and how thing worked, which has been a huge advantage to me as well. The guys have responded to it, the results have been good."

Law’s initial plan was to be a coach, or perhaps an assistant, for four or five years before going out as a boss in his own right but he has played the hand that he has been dealt. His knowledge of the Rowdies from his playing days has certainly been advantageous and he was in the unusual position of being able to take over a team that was in fine fettle rather than suffering a crisis of confidence.

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His task has been to refocus and reinforce. The 35-year-old calls on his time at Ibrox and with the likes of Motherwell and Rotherham United and is learning on the job as he develops his own style as a coach whilst finding his voice as a manager.

“I am following Neill, who definitely is a ranter and a raver,” Law said when asked about his style on the touchline. “He is one of the more vocal coaches that I have had in my career. I am probably at the other end of that spectrum now. I am calmer, my approach is a bit different.

“There are moments where you get angry and you do lose it a little bit, that is just natural in this sport when you want to win. When things aren’t going how you would like, you can definitely lose your rag a little bit. I am a bit calmer in that sense. I guess that will evolve over time.

“You definitely have to have that side to you where they know there is a line that can’t be crossed. Like in any walk of life, you have to have that edge to you. I am new to it, I am working it out myself on the job after being thrown into the deep end a little bit.”

That was the case when he arrived at Ibrox, too. In some ways, it is remarkable to think that it is a decade since Law was part of a signing spree that saw the likes of Cammy Bell, Steven Smith, Nicky Clark and Jon Daly join McCoist’s squad. Come Law’s third campaign, the group had been through a significant evolution as Warburton replaced Stuart McCall following the play-off defeat to Motherwell.

James Tavernier is the only surviving member of the squad from Law’s era. The quality of the right-back, and his attacking prowess, became evident in their early days together but few would have foreseen the longevity that has allowed Tavernier to score more than 100 goals for Rangers.

“He is not a one season wonder,” Law said. “He has been asked to do it at every level and in every season. It is a credit to him. He is the captain, you would have to say he is a Rangers legend.

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"He is in the Hall of Fame and that tells you everything about him, his character and the quality of him as a player and person. It is great to see him doing so well.”

Law will continue to watch on from afar and wish Tavernier and his team-mates well in the coming weeks and months. The club has changed and time has passed, but the memories and the pride continue to live on for Law as Rangers inspire him in a different manner all these years on.

“Everybody from that first game in the bottom division played their part, some good, some bad,” Law said. “I laughed the other day when Willie Vass posted saying it was ten years since the strip launch. I had a chuckle when I looked through the comments.

“Those guys played a part in it. Some players had to try and get Rangers through the leagues and some did better than others. But I think everyone appreciated the opportunity to play for Rangers because a lot of us, myself included, would never have had that chance if the club hadn’t been on that journey.

“To say you played for Rangers and experienced that is something I will always cherish. I had some really good moments, I had some poor moments, but it definitely helped me grow as a person and a player to go through those experiences. I drew on them as a player when I left Rangers and finished my career and I use them now when I am coaching as well.”