His contribution to the 4-0 win over East Fife in the League Cup was marginal during a 10-minute appearance as a substitute, but it was still a significant cameo for the striker.
It was the acknowledgement that the refusal to succumb to doubts about his career had not been wishful thinking. The fact that the realisation came on his debut for Rangers only made it more meaningful. "I'm still in shock," he said.
Kyle had not played for 18 months, and 14 of them had been spent wondering if his career was over. He had suffered a second serious hip injury, and each medical intervention brought only further alarm about his prospects. It wasn't until a surgeon in Coventry undertook an extensive investigation into his hip and identified the problem that Kyle began to believe again that somebody might be able to rescue his career.
"I'm proud of myself for not giving up," the striker said. "I knew I could get back playing, I never doubted that. I just kept getting sent to dummies who were telling me I wouldn't be able to play football again.
"Once you see the right people and work with them, you get back to playing football, and that's what happened. When you're out for 18 months, it's about self-belief. People say that when you retire, you struggle to find things to do, and that's what I felt. I hate going to the shops on a Saturday afternoon with the missus or sitting listening to the scores coming in. I'd think, 'jeez, what am I doing here'."
Kyle underwent a hernia operation, a groin operation, then a hip operation, none of which cured his persistent injury. Then late last year he was seen by a surgeon in Coventry who carried out a 3-D scan and a MRI scan, before identifying the problem as a tear on a graft on Kyle's hip, the legacy of a previous operation.
After surgery, and having left Hearts, Kyle worked every day for four months with Alex McQueen, the Kilmarnock physio. During the summer, he then phoned Jim Jefferies to ask to join Dunfermline's pre-season training programme.
Having previously been told that his career might be over, the striker was initially tentative, but the doubts that he had encountered were soon dismissed.
After playing in several bounce matches, St Johnstone showed an interest in signing Kyle, before Ally McCoist offered him a trial at Murray Park. The intention was to assess his fitness, since Kyle has already proved himself to be a bluntly effective striker in the Scottish Premier League.
"[Doctors had] just said that if you can't get through this rehab then you're going to struggle," Kyle said. "I've got no worries about it now. But to wait 14 months to get to that point is what's frustrating. I got married during the summer and I said to my wife that I was going to push myself to the limit to make sure that I'm able to play football and if I can't do it, then that's it.
"Four weeks ago I walked in to Dunfermline and I was apprehensive, psychologically I was struggling, wondering if my hip was going to hold out. After the first training session, I thought, I feel all right here, then the next one, the next one. Then Jim said, do you want to play a game, so I played 20 minutes, then another 20 minutes and that was the first time I thought, I'll be fine, what am I worrying about.
"[Rangers] did a medical and the boys said that if they didn't know about my history they wouldn't have known I'd had a problem with my hip. Everything moves fine, the functions are all fine. I'm 31, but I feel 21 and it's a great thing to be back playing football. I now train at Murray Park without a care in the world, striking balls, doing whatever they want."
Kyle is still short of match fitness, and will have to compete with Lee McCulloch for the central striker's role, but the sense is of a player presented with an opportunity that he believed was out of reach. The club is in the third division, but still attracted almost 40,000 to the first-round League Cup tie on Tuesday night, and the pressures of performing to the fans' expectations remain. With his brawn and aggression, he will not be intimidated by lower league defenders asserting themselves, and the likelihood is that, if he remains fit, then he will be a worthwhile signing.
"Eighteen months I waited for that," Kyle said after his debut. "It doesn't often happen that you get the chance to play for Rangers and I enjoyed it. There were 40,000 fans out there, all you people in here; it's still the same Rangers. Third division, second division, pub team, whatever, it doesn't matter. It's an opportunity to play for one of the biggest teams in Scotland and that's the only way to look at it."
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