Ferguson said: “Dean Shiels is a tremendous player. He has done really well. I've watched the last four or five games Rangers have played and for me he's consistently been one of the best players on the park.
"He was out in the cold for a while before Stuart came in. He’s [now] one of the top performers, because he's been given a chance and a run of games.”
Northern Irish international Shiels has made 30 appearances this season, but he struggled to find consistent game time under the Ally McCoist regime.
He was frequently only selected as a substitute, or even missed out on matchday squads entirely - including a run of seven games when he was not selected by McCoist.
It looked as if the 30-year-old was drawing to the end of his career at Ibrox, but since Stuart McCall was appointed manager, he has been excelling with a new lease of life.
Now one of the main figures in the playing squad, he has been converted from a second striker into a more deeper midfield role, and has missed just two games of McCall’s reign.
He scored the winning goal in the play-off quarter-final first leg victory over Queen of the South, and Ferguson is correct to highlight the importance of Shiels in the last few months.
There are still no guarantees of his future at Ibrox, and with McCall maybe out of a job in the summer Shiels could once again find himself as an outcast. However, if McCall remains as a full-time manager, Shiels could be the main player to benefit next season.