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Steven Davis: It would be a dream come true to finish my career at Rangers 

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Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis would be delighted to finish his playing career at Rangers. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis would be delighted to finish his playing career at Rangers. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis would be delighted to finish his playing career at Rangers. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Northern Ireland legend Steven Davis says it would be a dream scenario if he could finish his career with boyhood club Rangers.

In his second spell at Rangers the 36-year-old has been an inspirational force this season with the Ibrox outfit winning the Scottish Premiership to deny Old Firm rivals Celtic an historic 10 league titles in a row.

Manager Steven Gerrard has waxed lyrical about his midfield maestro all campaign and rewarded the experienced star with a new 12 month deal.

Davis, who became British football's most capped male footballer earlier this year when he made his 126th appearance for Northern Ireland, is not one to look too far ahead but the thought of continuing to play for Rangers until he feels it is time to hang up his boots is an appealing one.

On his future, Davis said: "You have to see how your body feels and mentally as well if you still have that desire. I certainly still have that at this moment in time but it is very difficult to plan ahead.

"It would be a dream if I was able to stay at this level until I finish playing and finish my career at the club on a high. That would be a great scenario for me personally if that was the case.

"I was delighted to sign a new deal. I feel we are really building something at the club under the manager and his staff. We have obviously taken massive strides forward this year and there is still work to be done.

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"I feel we are on the right track and I want to be part of that. For me this season on a personal level I have felt good physically and I think I have learnt from the best in people like (former Northern Ireland team-mates) Gareth McAuley and Aaron Hughes that once you get to this stage of your career you don't look too far ahead.

"That was my approach going into this season, to try and embrace and enjoy it as much as I could because you don't know how long you have left. My body still feels good and I'm delighted to sign another year and we will re-assess things next season.

"To stay at this level you have to be very professional and treat your body right to give you the best possible chance. Aaron and Gareth played late into their 30s and were a great example to me to show what was possible if you put your mind to it."

While knocked out at the quarter-final stages of both domestic competitions this term, Rangers have enjoyed a super run in Europe and most importantly have secured title number 55 making this a successful season for Gerrard and his team.

Unbeaten in the league to date they can become top flight Invincibles if they avoid defeat in their remaining three matches, starting at home to Celtic on Sunday. Earlier this month in an Old Firm clash in the Scottish Cup, Davis scored a stunning overhead kick in a 2-0 victory. It was the third decade the Northern Ireland great has netted in a Glasgow derby.

Speaking ahead of a new Rangers shop opening in Belfast on Saturday, Davis said: "I was delighted to get the goal. It was the icing on the cake for me on the day as I don't get too many these days. To score in any Old Firm game is special. Having done it over three different decades I don't think there are too many players that can say that. Old Firm games are always massive and we know what they mean to the fans. We are looking forward to the remaining league games and want to finish the season as strongly as possible. It's a great game for us this weekend."

The only thing missing in the title glory for Rangers has been fans with spectators not allowed into stadiums due to Covid-19 restrictions. Davis would have loved to have seen Ibrox rocking but insists it's been a campaign when nothing was going to stop Gerrard's team.

"The way we've gone about the season and our league form that we've shown, the fact we are unbeaten to this stage, I don't think there was anything that was going to stop us," said the former Aston Villa and Southampton star.

"Obviously we'd have loved the fans backing us and you can imagine what Ibrox would be like with the fans behind us. Unfortunately some of the lads who joined the club last summer haven't had that experience yet. That's something we are really looking forward to getting them all back next season.

"I can't speak highly enough of the fans. We all know we have had unwavered support behind the scenes and know how much it has meant to them. They have suffered a lot of hurt over the last decade with everything that has gone on and I think they see a team on the pitch now that gives everything and they are proud of us and that's what we try to do, give everything our best.

"We knew the league season was going to be really important to us this year. We have managed to get that done and now we want to finish the season well and it will be a special moment to get our hands back on the trophy.

"A lot of my friends back home would regularly travel over to games. They missed that this season but have been ecstatic that we managed to get the title wrapped up and are looking forward to returning next season."

Meanwhile, Davis says that Northern Ireland's women team qualifying for next year's European Championship finals is inspirational for the country.

The Rangers star was delighted to see Kenny Shiels' squad overcome Ukraine in a play-off earlier this month and believes their success will see more girls play football in his homeland.

Davis feels the historic achievement in the Northern Ireland women qualifying for a major tournament for the first time ever was made all the more impressive by the fact that the Irish League based players weren't allowed to play club games in the run-up to the two legged clash with Ukraine due to Covid-19 restrictions.

"I was absolutely delighted for them. I think it's quite inspiring to be honest," said Davis, who captained Northern Ireland at Euro 2016.

"From where the international team was years ago to everything they had to contend with this year in terms of not training and not playing regular football and then going into major games and dealing with the situation the way they have. It's great to get more girls involved in football and I'm sure they will inspire many more from a younger age to want to play for their country."

Rangers and Castore have announced that The Rangers Store: Belfast will open on Saturday, May 1 from 10am. The new official store is situated in Donegall Place in central Belfast and is the third to be opened in partnership with Castore following Ibrox and Buchanan Galleries. It is the first store outside Scotland with Rangers saying it shows "the club's commitment to our incredibly loyal supporters in Northern Ireland".

Rangers Commercial and Marketing Director, James Bisgrove said: "We are excited about the Donegall Place store that is opening on Saturday. It will become the only official Rangers Store for our support base in Northern Ireland which we know is thriving. We looked at some of the numbers and found there are 160 supporters clubs in Northern Ireland which is the highest density of supporters clubs globally only second to Greater Glasgow.

"We looked at some of the numbers and found there are 160 supporters clubs in Northern Ireland which is the highest density of supporters clubs globally only second to Greater Glasgow."


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