After a fairytale start, Graham Dorrans has seen his first season as a Rangers player turn into something of a horror story.
The midfielder scored twice when he made his debut for his boyhood club in a 2-1 win at Motherwell back in August but has had precious little to savour since.
Dorrans spent five months of the campaign sidelined by an ankle injury and since his return to action has been part of the 4-0 and 5-0 drubbings by Celtic in recent weeks which ended Graeme Murty’s managerial tenure.
Like everyone else connected with the Ibrox club, Dorrans has taken a lift from the appointment of Steven Gerrard as the new boss. Before the former Liverpool and England captain takes charge next month, the squad he inherits are attempting to finish this season on a relatively positive note as they pursue runners-up spot in the Premiership and a Europa League place.
Saturday’s 1-0 win over Kilmarnock at Ibrox boosted those ambitions as they go into their last two fixtures this week, against Aberdeen at Pittodrie tonight and Hibs at Easter Road on Sunday.
“Aberdeen and Hibs drawing 0-0 on Saturday was probably the best result for us,” said Dorrans.
“It was important we concentrated on winning the game on Saturday. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t pretty, but it was important we got the win regardless of what happened at Pittodrie. We move on to the next one now, it is another big game.
“Last week was probably one of the worst weeks I have ever had to deal with as a footballer. Listen, at Celtic Park we weren’t good enough. We know that. There is no hiding place. But we stood up on Saturday in difficult conditions, battled through it and managed to get a goal at the end.
“That was all that mattered. We knew coming into the game that we had three massive games left. This was the first one that we had to deal with and go and win.
“It has been a difficult season for myself, obviously. Getting the injury and missing a large part of the season has been pretty disappointing for me. I didn’t have a proper pre-season either. In that sense, it was difficult. Hopefully we can win these next two games and finish on a high.
“Getting a Europa League place is massive for this club. We obviously know this season hasn’t been great. It’s important we go and try and finish second. Hopefully we can do that and get into Europe for the fans.”
Dorrans, who played against Gerrard several times during his time in the English Premier League with West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City, is eagerly anticipating the impact the new manager will make at Rangers.
“A name like that coming in is massive for the club,” he added. “There’s a bit of excitement around the club now. In the last couple of weeks it has been all doom and gloom. The news on Friday that he has got the job really lifted the place.
“It is never nice to see managers losing their jobs. But when a new manager comes in it is a fresh start for everyone. It is no different from what has happened here. He will come in and he will have his own ideas and his own players he wants to bring in. Everyone is starting afresh.
“I am excited about having the chance to be able to learn from somebody like that who has played at the highest level.
“He is one of the best players of his generation. He is one of the best players I have ever come up against.”