Rangers winger Templeton at last can have some summer lovin'

IT was a summer of discontent for David Templeton 12 months ago - and the pain is still seared in his memory.

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David Templeton, left, Lee Wallace and Lee McCulloch down to work in the Californian sun
David Templeton, left, Lee Wallace and Lee McCulloch down to work in the Californian sun

But the Rangers star hopes the outlook will be brighter this time around as he gears up for his third, and most important, season at Ibrox.

The Light Blue legions had high hopes for Templeton when he arrived in Glasgow nearly two years ago, but the winger has rarely lived up to the hype or the expectation.

A brace on his debut in the 5-1 win over Elgin got things off to the perfect start but, apart from the odd flash of brilliance and moment of magic, he has never truly kicked on in the way many had hoped.

A series of niggling injuries have too often hindered his process and halted him in his tracks as others have moved ahead of him, leaving him struggling to hold down a regular place in Ally McCoist's plans.

Like striker Jon Daly, injury ruled Templeton out of the Light Blues party that made the trip to Highlands earlier this month as McCoist's side kicked off their pre-season schedule with a win over Buckie and draw with Brora.

He has once again completed his recuperation and rehabilitation and has set his sights on a sustained run of action after jetting out for the tour of America and Canada.

When fit, Templeton has the ability, skill and flair to be a major player for Rangers and should be one of McCoist's key men as he bids to guide his side to the SPFL Championship title.

But the 25-year-old knows he has to get himself in the best possible shape before he can look to finally establish himself as an Ibrox wing king.

"I am feeling really good actually," Templeton said. "During the summer, I was in a lot to get my fitness right.

"I came back and twisted my knee, it was nothing major, [and was out] for a couple of days. I stayed out of Brora to make myself right for this.

"I thought this was the better trip for myself to get more fitness rather than being away for 12 days from the squad. I am looking forward to getting a few games under my belt."

Having sat out the trip to the Highlands and missed the first two friendly fixtures of the summer, Templeton is back in the fold and back in the groove across the Atlantic.

While Ally McCoist's side cruised to the League One crown last term, Templeton endured a stop-start season, in terms of selection and performances, as Rangers relied on other stars for inspiration in the final third of the field.

His tally of seven goals from 26 appearances was a decent return but one that he is more than capable of bettering this time out in a league that will also contain his former club Hearts and their capital counterparts Hibernian.

And the ex-Tynecastle star knows a solid pre-season will be crucial to getting him off on the right foot.

Templeton said: "It is massive for me. Last year I picked up a lot of injuries, starting from pre-season. I missed pre-season and you are always trying to play catch-up. I was wanting to make sure I got away with the squad this year and kept myself in the right condition to make sure that I am fit to play as many games as possible."

Having spent the closing stages of the League One campaign on the treatment table rather than on the park, Templeton did not have the same requirement for a prolonged summer break as some of his Ibrox team-mates.

Nearly all of McCoist's tried-and-trusted stars played on right to the final whistle as the Gers ended the third tier campaign undefeated but Templeton's last action came in the 3-0 win over Airdrieonians in March.The close-season has given the Light Blues squad a much needed rest, but Templeton hasn't spent the downtime with his feet up.

"It is definitely what I needed after last year," he said. "That is why I was in during the off-season, to make myself right and make sure that I was okay to come on this trip. I will need games.

"I got a lot of niggling injuries through that at the start of the season. Hopefully I can have a few good days here and some game time and I will be able to get myself right for the start of the season."

Having put in a shift at Murray Park, Templeton is now training with the sun on his back as Rangers gear up for the Championship campaign across the pond.

Their time in America and Canada will give boss McCoist and his staff a chance to put the squad through their paces and fine tune their preparations for the new season which is on the horizon.

On their return, English second-tier side Derby County will provide the final friendly opposition of the summer before the real action gets underway against Hibs in the Petrofac Training Cup.

The meeting with Alan Stubbs' side, and the clash with promotion-chasing Hearts just a few days later, mean Rangers have to be at their best from the off.

And Templeton is confident their time Stateside will prove to be the ideal foundations upon which to build for a third-straight shot at glory.

"It is not the worst place to train," the winger told RangersTV.

"It is great weather. You need to make sure that you are hydrated a lot and keep yourself in the right shape.

"I am sure, with the upcoming games, we will be able to do that and get ourselves ready for the games that are coming ahead."

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