In a season that will be excluded from any future lists of achievement at Rangers, Brahim Hemdani has quietly emerged as an unlikely success story.

After a depressing first year in Scotland blighted by injury and difficulty in adapting to his new environment, the French-Algerian midfielder has found a level of consistency beyond most of his colleagues during an often turbulent campaign. Winning the Ibrox club's player of the year award on Monday night confirmed his new status within the eyes of a support left frustrated by another season without any silverware.

Hemdani had expressed fears that he would not figure in Walter Smith's plans after the former Scotland manager stepped in to replace Paul Le Guen in January. He has, though, remained a fixture in Smith's selections, despite the £2m signing of Kevin Thomson - another who specialises in holding midfield - from Hibernian during January.

"Brahim is a quiet lad and goes about his business quietly as well," said Smith. "But he has played exceptionally well for the team and I think it's an award that he thoroughly deserves.

"He has had a terrific level of consistency since we came in. Prior to that he was playing at centre-half. That's not his natural position, but he stuck to the task and I think that was appreciated by the supporters."

Hemdani's rise to recognition must also be a gratifying feeling for Alex McLeish, whose judgement was questioned by some last season after he signed the 29-year-old for Rangers on a Bosman transfer from Marseille. The Scotland manager admitted it was a frustration that fitness problems initially prevented him from seeing the best of Hemdani, but he was always confident the player would emerge as a sound acquisition.

"I had seen him play for Marseille against Newcastle in the UEFA Cup and I watched him again in the final against Valencia," revealed McLeish, reflecting on how Hemdani came to his attention.

"He played as a sweeper in a back three in those matches and you could see that he was very good at that side of the game. He had the anticipation to cut out passes. When he became available I never envisaged him playing for Rangers at centre-back. Paul Le Guen gave him a few games there, but we always saw him as a sitting midfielder who could release Barry Ferguson.

"Of course, we got off to the worst possible start when he was injured for the first three or four months. That wasn't ideal, but he's fought back hard and become a regular for Rangers. He's a quiet guy, but he's effective."

Charlie Adam was named Rangers' young player of the year after scoring 11 goals from midfield during his debut season as a first-team player at Ibrox. There was also a special commendation for Dado Prso's three years in Glasgow, as he collected the John Greig Award for services to the club.

Prso announced last month that he will be forced to end his Rangers career at the end of the season due to persistent knee problems. The 32-year-old Croat was another McLeish signing when he arrived on a Bosman transfer from Monaco in the summer of 2004. His former manager praised Prso's overall contribution, both as a striker and an influence on his team-mates.

"In terms of my signings, Dado is one of the best ever," said McLeish. "He is just a superb human being and it helps that he can also play football. He's been a real firm favourite with the Rangers fans ever since he scored an overhead kick at Craven Cottage in a pre-season match in 2004.

"He is a highly motivated guy who brings a lot to the dressing room. A manager doesn't encounter too many problems with someone like Dado Prso. He's a proud and honourable man.

"It's a shame he was unlucky with injuries earlier in his career and that is now affecting him. But he'll be remembered by the Rangers fans."

Smith has already started the search for a new striker, and AZ Alkmaar yesterday revealed he was in Holland on Sunday to look at Danny Koevermans, who is thought to be his preferred option.

However, the Dutch side insist that the 28-year-old, who has scored 24 goals in only 32 starting appearances this season and who earned his first international cap last month, is not for sale.

Koevermans is contracted at the DSB Stadion until 2009, but AZ are ready to offer him a new deal to keep him out of the clutches of Europe's top clubs.

Club spokesman Erik van Leeuwen said: "Smith was watching the game between AZ and Vitesse, but Danny still has a contract at AZ. Rangers have not been in touch with us and we are not planning to let him go."