DAVID TEMPLETON has seen Rangers rise to the top of the Irn-Bru Third Division without him in recent weeks.

Now the Ibrox star is determined to help them stay there – and prove a point to doubters who said he was wrong to drop down the leagues.

Many questioned the motives of Templeton, Ian Black, Dean Shiels and Fran Sandaza in the summer as they turned their back on the SPL to join Ally McCoist's side in the bottom tier in Scotland.

The journey back to the top will undoubtedly be an arduous one for the Gers, with results already this season proving they will not have it all their own way as they bid to progress swiftly and safely through the SFL divisions.

Templeton's return to action in the latter stages of Sunday's William Hill Scottish Cup win over Elgin further strengthens McCoist's hand in the title race, and the former Hearts winger is confident the Gers have what it takes to go all the way.

"I took a bit of stick, with people saying I had no ambition and things like that, but I don't see it like that," he said. "I'm here to try and get Rangers back to where they belong, and I think if I was here and did that it would be a massive achievement in my career.

"I'm looking forward to the test. It's obviously a different squad from the one Rangers had last season and we've lost a lot of big players.

"We've still got some top players, though. We have boys who have played in the SPL with loads of experience.

"Guys like Dean Shiels, who was one of the best in the league last year. I think that shows we still have a really strong squad.

"I knew most of the boys before I came here, but even the ones I didn't have shown they're all really good players.

"We have some excellent young players coming through as well, so it's all good for the future and that's why I wanted to come here.

"I know it won't always be easy and, of course, we've had some mixed results, but the belief is there in the squad that we will keep getting better the longer we play together."

While the 3-0 win over their Third Division rivals was the most important aspect of Sunday's cup clash, the sight of Templeton starring in the light blue jersey once again would have been a major source of satisfaction for McCoist and the Ibrox crowd.

The winger made an immediate impact on his Gers bow as he netted in a 5-1 win over Ross Jack's side just hours after putting pen to paper last August.

His dreams of a regular run in the side were soon dashed, however, with an ankle injury sustained at Annan keeping him sidelined for weeks.

He will undoubtedly be a key man for McCoist in the months ahead, and the 23-year-old is keen to make his mark.

"I only got to play really one game and I've been out for over two months, so it's basically like starting again," said Templeton.

"Hopefully I'll be able to have an impact like that again, and hopefully the fans can enjoy the way I play.

"It's been frustrating because I felt like the first game went really well and I was looking forward to getting a few more matches to get used to the team and put my stamp on it.

"To get injured after eight minutes of the second game was very frustrating and to watch the boys in the last few weeks has been hard.

"Witnessing them get to the top of the league has been great, but hard, too, because I've been injured."

Templeton's skill, speed and direct style are sure to make him a hit with the Light Blue legions in the months ahead.

His father Henry named him after Ibrox legend Davie Cooper, but it is another former Gers hero – Brian Laudrup – the forward idolised growing up.

Having Cooper as a middle name perhaps puts more pressure on Templeton's young shoulders, but he is determined to win his place in history.

"Hopefully it goes well for me here, but it will be pretty tough to try and emulate him [Laudrup]," said the former Tynecastle favourite.

"He's a legend here and was an unbelievable talent. The fans loved him and hopefully if I can do even half as well the Rangers fans will love me, too.

"It's obvious that everyone is going to make the Cooper comparison, but I'm just going to try and be my own player.

"I'm not going to say 'I'm as good or even half as good'. I'm just here to try and make an impression for myself.

"Hopefully the fans will take to me as just David Templeton rather than have the Cooper in there."