IT is ten years since Rangers and Steven Davis last tasted title glory together. In a matter of weeks, both could have a reason to celebrate once again.
The next league flag will mean everything to the supporters that have travelled near and far through the most difficult days in the recent history of their club. For Davis, it will be a special moment as well.
The Northern Irishman returned to Ibrox two years ago to help Steven Gerrard’s side reclaim top spot in Scotland. And former Gers midfielder Alex Rae knows what another winner’s medal would mean to Davis this term.
Rae said: “From my own experience, to come back to a club at a particular age, I was 34 and similar to Steven, and to win a title having had so many barren years, it would probably be more important than his first one.
“When you get on in years, you cherish them so much more than when you were younger because you feel as if that is going to be the norm and you are going to win titles and win trophies.
“I think when he came back with the possibility of transforming Rangers, and when you look two-and-a-half years ago to where Rangers where and where they are at the moment, they are in a really good moment.
“If they can get over the line in the coming weeks, for me it would rank up there with one of the best. It is always the last one, the one that is most important is the most current.”
The influence of Davis has been clear to see once again this season. His performances have been exemplary, while he sets an example to those around him on a daily basis with his words and actions.
The 36-year-old is one of Gerrard’s most tried and trusted players and that leadership role will continue in the coming weeks as Rangers look to see it out in the Premiership.
“When you go back to the old days, you would say he is a leader because he is screaming and shouting and pointing,” Rae told ten10podcasts. “But, for me, I think that has moved on and we have got a better understanding of people.
“I have said how much influence he has had on people around him, how he slows the game down and speeds it up. For me, that is leading by example.
“He is not necessarily shouting and bawling, but people look to him for that leadership and he has that in abundance, more so in his performances than being vocal. I would imagine that when Steven Davis says something to you on a football pitch you take note.
“When I look at him, he always seems to be in control of what he is trying to do and he will relay in his own way verbally to the players round about him.”
The end of the campaign will surely not mark the end of the road for Davis at Ibrox and there are no signs that the Northern Ireland legend is slowing down or should be phased out of Gerrard’s plans.
Talks over a new deal will begin when the time is right and Rae believes a hybrid role could ensure Rangers get maximum value out of Davis on and off the park for some time yet.
Rae said: “I would even think about a player/coach role next year because it is a natural progression and if you are Steven Gerrard you would want a guy like him in and around the place and he can be your go-to guy playing.
“If you are a player/coach, you still want to be able to contribute on the pitch. I look at it and I see the influence he is having on people so he can do that off the pitch as well. You are also looking to bring through the next generation and can you imagine Steven Davis in and around the training ground walking along to the youths?
“He has got a wealth of experience and it is not necessarily for the midfielders, it is about passing on the right standards. When Rangers were really developing kids with John Brown, these guys know what it takes and it is important to have guys that know what it takes to get over the line and win trophies at Rangers to pass on that experience to the next generation.”
*Alex Rae was speaking on ten10 Podcasts. To listen to his exclusive show with Mark Hateley or the ‘Rangers Fans Corner’ with Steven Clifford, visit https://ten10podcasts.com/rangers-podcasts/.