Rangers stopper McGregor is picture of happiness now

DARREN McGregor used a photograph of his celebration after a goal against Rangers at Ibrox to help him get through the hell of two serious knee injuries.

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Darren McGregor's St Mirren goalscoring celebration photo helped him recover from serious injury
Darren McGregor's St Mirren goalscoring celebration photo helped him recover from serious injury

The defender looked at the picture of him rejoicing after his wonder strike for St Mirren back in 2011 to keep his spirits up as he fought his way back to full fitness.

Now he may hang a snap of the sensational effort that he netted on Saturday alongside it - to assist his attempt to establish himself at the Glasgow club.

Despite playing out of position at right-back, McGregor opened his account for the Gers in the first half of the game against Dumbarton at the weekend.

The moment gave the 29-year-old, who has endured a demanding start to his Rangers career, a huge lift and boosted his confidence enormously.

McGregor was blamed for the late goal that Hearts netted against his side in their SPFL Championship opener at Ibrox earlier this month.

And he was a member of the side that was criticised for poor performances against Hibs, Hearts and Falkirk in the opening three games of the 2014/15 campaign.

He said: "The goal was an amazing moment. I didn't think I'd even be in the box, so to get on the end of such good play was great.

"The boys were saying it was a slice that fooled the keeper, but I am taking it. It was special to get my first goal for the club at Ibrox. I watched the goal again online and it was quite impressive. I'm just delighted to get off the mark."

McGregor added: "I have a picture in my house of me scoring for St Mirren at Ibrox. That was the defining picture for me that helped get me through my injuries. That was the pinnacle of my first season at St Mirren. It was a similar goal in the way it was worked.

"That was the last time I scored actually and it was three years ago!

"It's still on the wall. It's of me wheeling away after scoring, after volleying past Allan McGregor.

"That picture got me through the darker days. After the operations I had huge scars on my knees. They were three times the size they are now.

"I would do four or five hours of work and then I would suffer a setback. Just looking at that picture helped keep me going.

"It was just a reminder that only a year before I was folding jeans in a clothes shop - and there I was wheeling away at Ibrox. I'll need to think about putting this one up there now. It would be a good idea to have my first Rangers goal alongside it.

"I never thought I would be in this position at Rangers. That's not to say I didn't have aspirations. But back then it was just about getting back for St Mirren.

"I am here now so everything from here on is a bonus."

McGregor has had a harsh introduction to life at Rangers with the flak that has flown in the direction of Ally McCoist's underperforming superstars.

But the centre-half believes it will stand him in good stead for the remainder of the campaign and is hopeful results and displays will improve in the months ahead. He said: "We were getting stick, but the fans were right. The expectation levels are huge and the fans pay their season tickets and the demands are huge.

"They want to be entertained so it's up to us to perform every week.

"There are external pressures, but we should be beating these teams.

"That's no disrespect to them, but more about the players we have got here.

"It's just the standards set here. You can get away with a couple of bad games at St Mirren and Cowdenbeath, but the winning mentality is unique here.

"They have been dealing with it for years and if you can't handle it you shouldn't be here."

McGregor added: "Confidence is a massive thing and I could see it growing at the tail of the Falkirk game. You saw it with the Clyde game.

"There is a difference against part-time teams, but you still need to put the ball in the back of the net.

"It was good to get eight goals and then another four against a decent Dumbarton team."

The stopper will be trying to help Rangers book a League Cup game against Premiership leaders Inverness Caledonian Thistle with a win over Queen's Park at the Excelsior Stadium tonight.

He believes Rangers can challenge for that trophy and Scottish Cup this season - but stressed he would not be underestimating the League Two part-timers this evening.

He said: "I played Inverness last season and they are a good outfit. But we don't want to be disrespectful and look past Queen's Park.

"Inverness have benefited from having John Hughes there and he has stuck with the same group of players. They have guys like Billy McKay who can put the ball away and they have a settled back four.

"People look at the players we have and the money everyone is on.

"But there is a high calibre of players here and there's no reason why we shouldn't be competing in the cup competitions with the likes of Aberdeen and even Celtic. I'd love to be involved in that kind of occasion."

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