What a difference a couple of weeks can make. Prior to the festive period, Martyn Waghorn was a peripheral figure in the Ibrox first-team squad, leading to rumours he was on his way out of the club in the January transfer window. Now the striker is back in the team, looking like his old self, and open to the idea of committing his future to Rangers.
Speculation around the 26-year-old has been ongoing since the summer, when club and player failed to agree to terms on a new contract.
It initially seemed like Rangers had dodged a bullet, as Waghorn failed to find the back of the net in ten consecutive league games following his opening day strike against Hamilton.
However, in the last two games Waghorn has looked closer to his old self; the player who finished last season as Rangers’ top scorer and was such an integral part of the club’s success in the league and Scottish Cup. He netted twice amid a man-of-the-match performance against Hamilton and made the only goal of the game in last Saturday’s 1-0 win over Inverness CT.
For the meantime, he’s looking at nothing more than keeping his place for tonight’s trip to St Johnstone and doing enough to earn a start against Celtic this Saturday. Although, if Rangers wanted to restart negotiations over a new deal in the near future, Waghorn would be more than happy to try and get something done.
“It’s up the club to push it forward but I’d be more than happy to do that. We’ll see what happens,” said the striker. “That [contract talks] was an issue at the start of the season. We both decided to leave it.
“I was a bit slow coming back from injury and producing the form that I need. I wasn’t playing in the team, that was the gaffer’s call. In recent weeks I think I have worked hard in training and when I have come on I have made an impact in the game. I am more than happy to take criticism when it’s there, but I think I have fully deserved my shirt.
“I was a bit disappointed not to be playing. Obviously, as a striker you want to be playing, scoring goals and I wasn’t up to the standard I needed to be at. It has taken me a while to get going, but I feel I am really getting into a good place and hitting some nice form.”
It was reported during his absence from the starting XI that a reason for Waghorn’s poor form was a falling out with Mark Warburton, pictured. It’s a story the Rangers boss dismissed at the time and Waghorn was more than happy to back up his manager’s words, saying there has never been a problem between the pair.
“Since I have come in the gaffer has been brilliant. He has always talked to us, he is always explaining things to us. He is one of these managers you can really speak to. He gives you a lot of confidence,” said Waghorn.
“Trust me, there have never been any words or anything like any of the stories which have come out. He is a great guy and I have a lot to thank him for. He has given me a lot of confidence going back in to express myself and play my game. Hopefully I am repaying him now.”