When he was languishing on the sidelines in the third tier of English football at Doncaster Rovers a few months ago, collecting silverware was the furthest thought from Harry Forrester’s mind.
Thanks to a reunion with Mark Warburton, the rejuvenated 25-year-old winger already has his sights firmly fixed on a third winners’ medal as a Rangers player.
Forrester signed a new contract yesterday which commits him to the Ibrox club until the summer of 2019, a reward for his contribution since joining them on a short-term deal at the start of the January transfer window.
Having helped Rangers secure the Championship title and Petrofac Training Cup over the past week, Forrester hopes to complete a “treble” of sorts by playing a role in going all the way in the Scottish Cup.
The small matter of Sunday’s semi-final against Scottish champions Celtic at Hampden presents a significant obstacle to fulfilling that ambition.
But, regardless of the outcome this weekend, Forrester is gratified by the personal renaissance he has enjoyed under Rangers manager Warburton. He insists he has no regrets about his decision to part company with Warburton in 2013, when he left Brentford for Doncaster, but admits he is now benefiting from again being under the guidance of a man who knows how to get the best out of him.
“I’d never look back and say I shouldn’t have done this or that,” reflected Forrester. “It was not a decision that was made lightly. I thought it was best for my career at the time. It didn’t work out, but you can’t regret anything.
“Of course, I’m pleased Mark came back and brought me to Rangers. I owe him a lot. I wasn’t playing at Doncaster when I signed here and maybe there were a few questions, a few eyebrows raised.
“But I know Mark believes in me. That allows me just to go out there, relax and play my game. When you’ve got someone above you who’s not too sure about you, you tense up and try to impress too much, but I don’t have to do that.
“It’s been a whirlwind this year. When I kicked off the season, I was doing all right at Doncaster, but then the new manager [Darren Ferguson] came in and I wasn’t playing. Now I’ve won two medals this week for Rangers and a new deal. So it’s paid off the last couple of weeks, but the job’s not done yet.
“I came here, worked hard and put my head down. I’ve got a manager and staff that believe in me. I’ve got team-mates that have helped me settle in. Kenny Miller and Lee Wallace especially helped me to settle in. It’s just been a combination of things and luckily it’s paid off.
“I feel as confident now as at any time in my career. I also had a phase at Brentford when I was playing good football for a season and then I got my move to Doncaster. Things didn’t really work out there, but that’s football and I’ve been given a new lease of life here.
“Now I just want more silverware as a Rangers player. I’ve got two pieces of silverware this week, a real chance of three this season, which would be unbelievable. I’m here for another three years, so hopefully we can get more of that.”
Forrester did his best yesterday to stick to Warburton’s season-long mantra of Rangers’ next fixture being “just another game”, although it is a narrative which simply won’t wash this week.
“I’ve heard a lot about the Old Firm,” he added. “It’s a global game and there will be a lot of people watching, but for us, it’s just another game. It’s a semi-final and we relish it.
“I watched a couple of Old Firm games on the TV when I was younger. Everyone knows about the Old Firm. When it was drawn, I got a lot of texts from down south. There is a lot of anticipation about it but, for us, it’s just 90 minutes of football.
“We had the Petrofac final at Hampden last Sunday, so we’ve just been concentrating game by game. That’s what we do. But obviously there are things in the build-up to this one and I’m sure experienced players like Kenny Miller and Lee Wallace will be very vocal about what needs to be done. It was good for certain players in our squad who hadn’t played at Hampden to go there and get a feel for it last Sunday, but it doesn’t give us an extra edge. We had a job to do in the Petrofac and we did it. The atmosphere was electric and it was brilliant to have 46,000 Rangers fans turn up.
“I’m not too sure how big a gap there is between Celtic and other teams we have played this season. I haven’t watched them too often. We had our own job to do, to win the Championship.
“For us, it’s about moving Rangers forward now. We’re going to be back in the top division next season and, hopefully, we can keep building.”