Steve Davis: A month when we March-ed to glory
Diary of a Scottish Premier League footballer
Published 03/04/2008 | 08:12
"Getting to know the lads has been easy enough in training but there is nothing like playing games to get confidence in each other."
Having spent just over a month at Rangers I feel part of the Ibrox life now.
Getting to know the lads has been easy enough in training but there is nothing like playing games to get confidence in each other.
Luckily for me, the way things are going at the minute we have lots of games and thankfully I am playing in most of them.
We played Aberdeen today in the SPL and won 3-1. To be honest, it wasn't as comfortable as the scoreline would suggest as we were level at 1-1 but a late goal in the first-half got us going again.
I was lucky enough to get a man of the match award from a sponsor which I really appreciated. But I feel confident at the moment and am really enjoying my football.
The UEFA Cup games have been a great experience so far, much like playing for Northern Ireland.
But tonight was a night that will live with me for the rest of my life.
Everybody knows I was a big Rangers fan as a boy and just playing for them has been a dream come true, but tonight I went one better.
I said in this diary last month that I thought my move to Rangers would help me get back on the goal-scoring trail and I got my first goal in the blue shirt against Werder Bremen.
More importantly, we won this first-leg 2-0 which sets us up well for the return game but I've already had a lot of messages about the goal.
Most of them congratulated me and some others asking if their eyes were deceiving them!
I don't care though. I'm not kidding myself by thinking it was the best goal I will ever score but it was one I needed.
I've also taken a bit of stick for my celebration but I think that was just frustration coming out.
It's been so long since I found the back of the net that I almost forgot how to celebrate.
Hopefully I will get a few more opportunities to work on my celebrations this season though.
I was sorry to hear the news today that my uncle Billy had died. I will miss him, as will the rest of the family and I will be at home for a few days to pay my respects
On the pitch, we've gone from an SPL game, to a European game and now it's the Scottish Cup.
When I first moved to Rangers we played Hibs in the Cup and drew and we've only just got round to the replay now.
I don't think this game will be remembered as a classic but the most important thing is that we won and Chris Burke's winner was certainly worthy to decide any match.
Life is hectic at the moment and I am either travelling or playing games.
We are in Bremen now for tomorrow night's UEFA Cup second-leg. The 2-0 cushion from the first match gives us a bit of breathing space but they will be determined to put on a show for their fans.
I am expecting a difficult game and I'm sure we won't have too many chances but if we do get one, we have to capitalise.
What a night! That was one of the toughest matches I have ever been involved in but we got the result we needed.
Of course we are disappointed to lose the game 1-0 but that was the goal we could afford to concede and thankfully Allan McGregor did the rest.
He was incredible. They pummelled our goal from the first whistle but Allan was a man inspired.
He is one of the players I've really enjoyed playing with since moving to Scotland; I always knew he was a terrific keeper but until you see someone at close quarters, you never fully appreciate just how good they are.
I also had a chance to score again but the less said about that the better. I should have scored but to my relief it didn't matter in the end.
We've barely had time to catch our breath after getting back from Bremen and now we have a final to prepare for.
The CIS Insurance Cup final against Dundee United is my first in a Rangers shirt and my first in professional football.
It's only natural that a few of the lads are feeling tired having played so many games this season and we'll only have a few days to recover from the game in Bremen.
But Walter Smith is very good at keeping things fresh for the lads and he has the great talent of being able to pick the right team for each individual match. I just hope tomorrow can be the start of things to come.
My first winners' medal € but we didn't half make hard work of it.
I'm sure the Dundee United players will be gutted because they were in front twice but Kris Boyd popped up with a couple of goals before we won in the shoot-out.
United's opener was a strange goal. I tried to get back onto the post with Noel Hunt but he got the right side and forced the ball into the net. It all seemed to happen in slow motion to me and it took an age for the ball to go over the line.
Later in the game I set Kris Boyd up for his second goal to take us to penalties. He is a quality finisher and I call see why people compare him to Ally McCoist.
Then to the penalties. For whatever reason I felt really confident I would score. I asked to take one and I knew walking up to the spot that I would find the net. Thankfully the keeper went the wrong way and within a few minutes Kris had scored the winning penalty and it was party time.
Kissing the trophy and celebrating in front of the fans was amazing. We also had a bit of fun in the dressing room too; there was champagne flying and we completely soaked Walter Smith. First his tracksuit so then he got changed into the club suit and he got the same treatment.
After that we went back to Ibrox to show off the trophy then we finished the night off with a party for the players and our families.
We were expected to get past Partick with ease but these games are never like that. They fought for everything and took the lead. Despite the heroics of Johnny Tuffey, the Northern Ireland's under-21 keeper, Kris Boyd grabbed the equaliser for us and we'll do it all again.
The important thing is that we're still in the cup though.
Another game against Hibs! We'll know each other inside out soon. Again, this wasn't a classic but we got the win we needed to keep are record going in the league.
We won 2-1 but Hibs did very well and Dean Shiels scored a good goal for them.
After the last Northern Ireland match I felt I played some of my best football in months.
Leading up to the Georgia match I thought I'd been doing well for Rangers and it was nice to see Nigel Worthington saying good things about me in the build-up to the game.
But I wanted to make sure the 45 minutes against Bulgaria was a springboard and hopefully my performance against Georgia was of the same standard.
All the lads enjoyed it because we won 4-1 but I think it could have been more.
It was important for us to score a few goals and even better that we are not always putting the pressure on David Healy's shoulders.
Big Kyle Lafferty came up with a couple of goals and he wasn't too shy in letting Dave know all about it too especially with Dave also scoring an own-goal.
Friendlies can be a nuisance at this time of year but I think this one worked out very well for us.
Everyone wanted to be involved today against Celtic and I was delighted to get my first taste of Old Firm action.
It was everything I hoped for and more. And the result certainly made the day all the more special. The atmosphere was incredible and I really enjoyed the experience.
After the match I received the Clydesdale Bank man of the match award which is something I'll treasure but it was a great day even without that.
The only bad point was a slight injury I picked up on my leg but I should be fine for the Sporting Lisbon game on Thursday.
We know we have to keep winning to keep the destiny of the SPL in our own hands and the games against Celtic will be huge.
Just because we've beaten Celtic, that doesn't mean we think we've done the hard work.
We go to Parkhead twice and with the fixture backlog we have, there are lots more league games coming thick and fast.
The UEFA Cup is a fantastic distraction but we know we have to keep our heads down and work hard in the league and Scottish Cup to stay on top of our game.