Jason Holt believes he took a risk with his career by turning down firm contract offers elsewhere to agree instead to a trial period with Rangers last summer.
But the midfielder is now savouring the rewards he is reaping from the faith he retained in his own ability after being deemed surplus to requirements by Hearts.
Holt has been a conspicuous success at Rangers, scoring ten goals in 34 appearances so far for Mark Warburton’s side. The 23-year-old’s consistently impressive form for the Championship leaders has already seen the initial three-year contract he signed in July extended until 2020 on improved terms.
“The fact we’ve gone so well this season shows I made the right decision,” said Holt. “There were other offers open to me but the chance to come to Rangers was a massive opportunity.
“It was a gamble for both parties, for me and for the manager here. But it has worked out well for both parties and I’m extremely happy.
“It’s always an uncertain time when you go on trial anywhere. But you just need to go out and do what you do, to try and prove to the club that you can do well for them. I had to show I wanted to play for Rangers and that I was good enough to play for Rangers.
“They obviously saw something they liked and I was delighted when they gave me the nod to come in and be part of it.
“I never doubted myself. You always have to have self-belief and I had that. Yes, it was a blow to be let go by Hearts, but these things happen in football. Players come and go all the time.
“I’d gone down south on loan last season at Sheffield United to get games, which I got and I really enjoyed it there. But that didn’t work out longer term so I started looking at other avenues.
“The chance to come to Rangers was one I couldn’t turn down. The fact that the gaffer and Davie Weir had just come in to the club, I felt they were at the start of something exciting here. Speak to all of the players who came in last summer and they’ll tell you the same. They all wanted to be part of it and I’m no different.
“On a personal level, this is probably as well as I’ve played in my career so far. I’ve really enjoyed my football this season. I’ve had a good run in the side and if you’re playing every week your confidence grows.
“So this season probably sits at the top so far for me. I played in one major final with Hearts three seasons ago, but here we’re through to one final, we have a Scottish Cup semi-final to look forward to and we’re fighting for the title.
“The team has done so well this season and you come into training every day looking forward to your work.”
Holt has been integral to Rangers’ current 15-match unbeaten run which has lifted them 14 points clear of Falkirk at the top of the Championship table. It’s a sequence and lead they hope to extend with victory tonight at the Falkirk Stadium which was the scene of their last defeat three months ago.
“That was difficult for us,” Holt admitted. “We didn’t play as well as we could and although we created enough chances to win the game, they didn’t go for us.
“Everyone has been looking at ourselves and Hibs in the league this season but here we are in March and Falkirk are sitting in second place.
“They’ve done extremely well all season and in the games we’ve played against them they’ve proved difficult opponents every time.”