ROSS PERRY feared his career could have been finished when he was forced to go under the knife to repair ankle damage last year.
The defender was crocked during Rangers' summer friendly clash with Brora and had surgery in October as he began a lengthy rehabilitation programme in an attempt to save his season.
Perry played 45 minutes of the Light Blues' Under-20 League victory over Inverness Caley Thistle on Monday afternoon and the 24-year-old is relieved to be back on the pitch after a nightmare campaign.
He said: "I can remember being down in London and the surgeon said to me there was an 80% chance the operation would work.
"To me, that meant there was focus on the fact there was a 20% chance it wouldn't and that was a worry. I've got my head down though, I've worked hard and thankfully I've been able to play again. Hopefully I can kick on from here now.
"It was important for me to get back playing. I wanted to do that as quickly as possible but I've had to take my time.
"There have been days when I've come into training and not felt as good so I've had to grit my teeth and get through that.
"Now I'm feeling the benefits of that. Having been out for so long, I need to work on my sharpness and I'll need another couple of under-20 games.
"If I can build up my match time and get 90 minutes under my belt a couple of times then I will look to get back into the first team.
"I've got a taste for playing again now and, after 45 minutes against Inverness, I'm looking forward to next week's game at Hibs already."
Perry was a regular for Ally McCoist's side as they claimed the Third Division title last term but has fallen down the Ibrox pecking order as he has spent several months on the sidelines.
He came through the second string clash in the Highlands unscathed and under-20 boss Gordon Durie has hailed the defender's attitude as he looks to step up his recovery in the coming weeks.
"Ross felt good and him getting 45 minutes was another bonus from the game for us," Durie told rangers.co.uk.
"He has been training well in the last couple of weeks.
"He was keen to come up for the game and, as we all know, it's four-and-a-half hours on a bus.
"That says something about how much he wanted to play and get himself going again and that will do him the world of good."
Meanwhile, Dundee United and the SFA have agreed to a vow of silence as they attempt to halt a bitter row over next month's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final.
Both parties held discussions after a series of public statements over the choice of venue and ticket allocation for the match against Rangers at Ibrox.
A statement from United said: "Regarding the William Hill Scottish Cup semi final ticketing and venue issue, the club today held constructive discussions with senior officials from the Scottish FA and both parties have agreed to conduct future consideration on this matter in private."
United have expressed their anger after their request for the match to be moved to Celtic Park was rejected by the governing body.
Manager Jackie McNamara claimed the tournament organisers had made a mistake by announcing the semi-final venues earlier in the season and called for a 50/50 split in ticktets.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Scottish FA claimed the Tayside club had rejected an initial offering of 11,063 tickets indicating they would initially want just over 8,000 briefs.
However United chairman Stephen Thompson described the body’s version of events as being “economical with the truth.”
The cup clash takes place on April 12 with Aberdeen and St Johnstone taking part in the other last four clash at the same venue a day later.