Rangers star Templeton set to hit heights

DAVID Templeton today revealed he is in the best physical shape of his Rangers career - and is ready to kick-start his season.

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David Templeton has enjoyed his return to the Rangers top team where he has played alongside prolific scorer Jon Daly
David Templeton has enjoyed his return to the Rangers top team where he has played alongside prolific scorer Jon Daly

Templeton has struggled during the 2013/14 campaign due to the thigh injury he picked up in pre-season.

The forward has not been a regular starter for Ally McCoist's team and when he has featured his performances have often proved disappointing.

But the former Hearts man has enjoyed a resurgence in recent weeks and believes he is now poised to hit peak form.

The 24-year-old came off the bench and scored a late goal in the 2-0 win over SPFL Championship club Falkirk in the Scottish Cup a fortnight ago.

And in the League One showdown with Forfar at Ibrox last week his trickery proved too much for rival player Ross Campbell.

Templeton was tripped in the box to win a penalty -which captain Lee ­McCulloch promptly buried to round off an emphatic 6-1 win.

Those outings have given the skilful star, who joined the Glasgow giants in a £450,000 move last year, enormous self-belief.

And as he prepared for the league clash with Stenhousemuir at Ochilview on Saturday evening, he predicted better times ahead.

"I have had a tough start to the season," he said. "I haven't played as much as I would have liked. But I have no complaints, as when I have played I know I haven't played well.

"Hopefully, though, now that I have got that goal I can push on and get back to playing the way I know I can. I feel more confident when I go out onto the pitch now.

"I picked up a couple of injuries in pre-season and that definitely set me back.

"But I am feeling fit now. To be honest, I am feeling the best I have felt since I came in to Rangers.

"I would like to think I can start putting a thought in the manager's head with my performances and start getting back in the team on a regular basis.

"When you start games on the bench all you can do is try to impress when you get your chance. That is what I am trying to do in every game I play in."

Templeton has enjoyed helping Rangers break their record for consecutive post-war victories in competitive matches this season.

The 3-0 win over Ayr United at Ibrox on Saturday, which the winger came on in, was their 20th in succession in all tournaments.

The Gers are set to complete Stage Two of "The Journey" in record time and even have a chance of recording a perfect season.

But Templeton is confident that McCoist's charges are, despite playing in the third tier, capable of challenging for the Scottish Cup trophy.

He was a member of the Hearts team that reached the final of the national cup competition back in 2012.

An injury ruled him out of the latter stages of that memorable run - and the emphatic 5-1 win against Hibs at Hampden.

But he saw at close quarters what was required to come out on top in the tournament, and reckons that Rangers can replicate that success.

Templeton said: "I wasn't involved in the Scottish Cup final with Hearts last year because I had been out injured with a double hernia.

"But it was still a great feeling being with the rest of the boys when they lifted the cup after the win over Hibs at Hampden.

"I am obviously hoping that I can do something in the cup now I am at Rangers - and I think after the win over Falkirk in the last round there is no reason why we can't.

"It is great for the fans for the team to go on a good cup run. It is what they want. And as players it is what we want as well.

"Going on a good cup run gives you confidence going into every game. If we can keep that going who knows what can happen this season."

HE added: "I think the win over Falkirk has given us confidence. It is a difficult place to go and play. Rangers lost there in a cup two years ago.

"When I played with Hearts we lost in the cup to Falkirk away as well. It is definitely a very hard place to go to and win.

"We didn't win the game there comfortably. It took us two late goals to make it through.

"But we had quite a few scoring chances before Nicky Law and I netted and enjoyed a lot of the possession.

"I know that they had a man sent off in the second half, but before that we had played well and could have taken a couple. They are from the league above us so we can take heart from it."

Rangers skipper McCulloch, uncharacteristically for him, missed a spot-kick in that cup outing against Falkirk.

The 35-year-old felt that the artificial pitch had affected his run-up - and had no hesitation stepping up to take the penalty against Forfar last week.

Templeton has no doubts whatsoever the former Motherwell, Wigan and Scotland man will continue to lead by example whenever he plays for his boyhood heroes.

He said: "As far as I am concerned, Lee is the best penalty-taker we have at the club.

"The spot-kick against Falkirk is the first one I have ever seen him miss since I have been at Rangers.

"Maybe he was due one. Everybody misses them now and again.

"He has got the bad one out of the way and I am sure he will have no problem taking them from now on.

"Lee is a great captain and since I have come to Rangers he has been brilliant.

"He talks to us all both on and off the pitch.

"He is a great character and big influence on all of the players in the dressing room."


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