Rangers winger Glenn Middleton will return to Ibrox this summer after a stunning loan spell at St. Johnstone saw the Perth side lift a domestic cup double – and the Scotland under-21 star hopes it can help force him back into Steven Gerrard’s Gers plans.
Middleton was a regular in Gerrard’s first season at Ibrox but has only made one senior appearance for Rangers in the two that followed, spending time on loan at Bradford City, Hibs and St Johnstone.
While the former Norwich youngster knows there’s no guarantee that he’ll be able to push back into the reckoning at Rangers, Middleton is desperate to prove he has a future in Glasgow and build on the success of his time in Perth.
“Rangers have told me to report for pre-season as normal. So I am focusing on that and then we will take it from there,” Middleton said, as quoted by the Scotsman.
“Everyone’s aim is to play and I am no different. I just have to go back into the club in the best shape I can be. I have always been grateful to Rangers for everything they have done for me.
“Even when I was out on loan they were always in contact and helping me out. They were telling me ‘well done’ when I had performed well and it was nice to have that. It gave me that little bit of extra motivation having that contact and that they were looking at what I was doing.
“If I can keep making progress then we will see.”
Cup success can ‘only help’ with Rangers
After the Saints became the first side in Scotland outwith the Old Firm to do a domestic double in 30 years, Middleton’s place in the folklore of the McDiarmid Park side is secure and the boyhood Rangers fan hopes the likes of Gerrard and his coaching staff have taken notice.
After making 28 appearances, scoring five times and contributing five assists in Gerrard’s maiden campaign, Middleton looked to have proven he can cut it at Ibrox before practically falling off the face off the earth.
Botched loan stints at Hibs and Bradford did little to help his cause before an abortive attempt at converting him into a left-back was cut short by his loan move to St Johnstone.
While “no one can take away” the success of this season in Perth, Middleton hopes Rangers have seen they can trust him to “do the job” and help the Gers push towards title number 56, adding: “I think being part of St Johnstone’s success last season can only help me with Rangers. They have seen I can play a big part of a successful team and I hope it will put me in a good position moving forward.
“No one can take away what we did at St Johnstone. But going into next season, I hope Rangers know if they need me to play they can trust me to do the job. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a dream loan, especially after how the season before had gone. [Loan spells with Hibs and Bradford] didn’t go as I would have liked.
“When I went to St Johnstone I was desperate to make things happen and do as well as I could. I would like to think I did that.”