Chris Hegarty made himself a lot of friends around Ibrox last summer when, despite being out of contract and a free agent, he threw in his lot with newco Rangers.
The 20-year-old from Dungannon in Northern Ireland has been rewarded with a string of appearances in the side, and the defender is keen to stress that the fans’ positive feelings towards him are mutual, as he showed by backing the supporters’ boycott of the forthcoming Scottish Cup tie away to Dundee United.
“With the confidence there is in the team at the minute, I think we’re willing to take on anyone and anything,” said Hegarty, right. “Winning is a habit and I think we also have a point to prove going away to Dundee United.
“I think we’ll be underdogs for that tie but I think that suits us – it’ll help us get through the game. Our fans have supported us so, on this occasion, I think we have to support them. Whatever they decide, we have to agree with that.
“The fans pay our wages and they’ve supported us through thick and thin so we’ve got to stick together.”
Hegarty is so pleased with his own form and that of the team that, though he didn’t know he was doing it at the time, he voiced a view entirely contrasting with manager Ally McCoist’s statements about wanting a winter break for all of Scottish football and not just the SPL.
“I wouldn’t want a winter break,” said Hegarty. “I’m just happy playing the games. The weather hasn’t even been that bad so it’s better that we get the job done. Playing games is better.”
Hegarty says 2013 has started with “a lot of positivity” around the club, and he wants to be part of “the journey” that Rangers are on. He said: “It’s been brilliant having opened up such a big gap but we’ve still got to keep winning games. We’ve built up a good momentum and, even though the performances haven’t been that fancy, the results have kept on coming.
“I want to keep playing well and to stay in the team. I especially want to prove to the manager that I’m good enough to make the next step up and go the whole way back up to the SPL.”