Since joining Rangers in 2007, Steven Naismith has taken a while to get going in a blue jersey after 2 injury-hit years at Ibrox. Now a regular in the side, Naismith has excelled in his new industrious midfield role which has saw him net 8 goals for the SPL Champions, including the winner against Bursaspor in the Champions League.
Naismith's £2m move to Ibrox from Kilmarnock in August 2007 was confirmed just minutes before the deadline window closed. BBC Sport claim that the paperwork confirming the deal only arrived at SFA offices one minute before the end of the window. But it could have been a so different story for the Ayrshire-born striker who was on the verge of sealing a £2m move to Celtic at the start of August 2007.
That deal fell through, and the lifelong Rangers supporter never looked back as he signed for his boyhood heroes on deadline day. His first goal for the Gers came against Aberdeen in September and he added another 4 goals to his account that season before picking up a nasty knee injury in the Scottish Cup Semi-Final which ruled him out for a year.
Having missed out on the chase for 4 trophies, including a UEFA Cup Final, Naismith was determined to get back into the team and he managed 7 appearances in the second-half of the 2008-2009 season where Rangers won their first league title in four years.
After an impressive pre-season in 2009-2010, Naismith returned to action and scored on the opening day of the season. At Tynecastle the week after, he won the decisive penalty which saw Rangers score in the final minutes there. His most impressive hour came in the League Cup Final against St Mirren where 9 man Rangers scored a late winner to take home the trophy. Naismith played a big part in the goal which won the League Cup, picking the ball up on the counter attack and supplying an inch-perfect cross for Kenny Miller to nod home. With 39 games in all competitions that season, Naismith deservedly walked away that summer with his first SPL winners medal.
This season, Naismith has excelled further and has become one of the most valuable players in the Rangers team. His excellent league performances merited a Scotland call-up and he netted one of the goals against Spain in October. From the right-side of midfield, Naismith's tireless energy has been a key commodity in Rangers achieving 9 straight league victories.
In the Champions League, Naismith has played in every match so far and has already opened his account this season. Naismith and Rangers produced a resilient and dogged performance to leave Old Trafford with a point, then he fired home the winning goal in Rangers' 1-0 win over Bursaspor. Against Valencia, Rangers managed to hold on to a draw despite creating numerous chances and Naismith's pace and energy was a real danger to the La Liga side. In a lacklustre performance at the Mestalla, Naismith managed to produce two fine moments and rattle the post on both occasions.
His great start to the season has seen Naismith score 7 SPL goals this term and pick up the Player of the Month for October.
There's absolutely no doubt the 24-year-old will have a big part to play in Rangers' quest for success on home and European fronts.