Steven Davis says he is ready to make an immediate impact this season after shrugging off his stuttering January return.
The former club captain rejoined the Light Blues during the winter transfer window but lacked sharpness having made just two starts and four appearances off the bench for Southampton during the first half of the campaign.
It took the Northern Irishman time to get back up to speed but the 34-year-old feels near his best having finished the season with some vintage displays.
He racked up six straight starts before featuring twice for his national team as Michael O’Neill’s side kept their Euro 2020 bid on track with vital wins away to Estonia and Belarus.
Now he expects to hit the ground running after topping up his fitness work with Steven Gerrard’s men during their pre-season training camp in Portugal.
He told RangersTV: “I certainly feel I am in a better place now than what I was when I joined the club in January.
“Pre-season never gets any easier as you get older, but we know how important it is and it gives you that platform and the base for the rest of the year.
“It is going to be tough – the boys obviously spoke about it last year in terms of the work they have put in and how tough it was.
“So it is going to be interesting to see how I cope with that, but I know how important it is.”
Gerrard’s side face either Prishtina of Kosovo or St Joseph’s of Gibraltar in their Europa League opener early next month and Davis hopes the team can carry on the fine form that saw them end last season with six wins out of seven.
Davis said: “It was thoroughly enjoyable and I think all the boys enjoyed the style of play we were playing.
“We were dominating games and, for me personally, it was an enjoyable period although I was obviously disappointed to pick up an injury in the Celtic game which meant I missed the last game of the season.
“Overall, I think there was good progress made and a lot of positive signs, now it is about trying to build on them this season.”
Gerrard has made six signings so far with Charlton’s Joe Aribo waiting to clinch his Ibrox move.
But the new arrivals have given Davis encouragement ahead of their title battle with Celtic.
“I certainly think there has been a good level of progress and there have been some good additions made in the summer, so I think the squad is getting stronger,” said the midfielder.
“That is going to stand us in good stead and towards the end of the season we put in some really, really good performances and got good results.
“We know it is going to be another difficult year but I think there is a lot of confidence in the group that we can go and make it a successful one.”
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