Hegarty said: “Dean knows he has been given another chance to prove himself, just at a time when he thought chances were getting fewer and fewer under Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall.
“That came down to his style – they didn’t think it was suited to the way they wanted the team to play. But Dean is showing he can play for Rangers until his career is over. They don’t have anybody else like him and if they get promoted, they’ll need him.”
Shiels was something of an outcast at the beginning of this campaign, and he was never truly in favour under the management of Ally McCoist. There was one run of games especially when he was cast out of the first-team, failing to make an appearance in seven consecutive games.
However, since the appointment of Stuart McCall, Shiels has enjoyed a great rejuvenation, missing just two of 11 games - and starting an impressive 10 of them. He netted the winning goal at the weekend as the Light Blues stole a 2-1 advantage over Queen of the South in the play-off quarter finals, and the current head coach looks to be a fan of the Northern Irish midfielder.
If promoted to the top flight, it is expected that much of the Rangers squad will be let go, with 12 players out of contract, but Hegarty believes Shiels will be one player who stays.
He has certainly proven to have the talent to succeed at the top level, being an international regular with Northern Ireland, and McCall’s newfound faith in the midfielder could be the thing that sees the 30-year-old remain at Ibrox past the end of this campaign.