JIM Jefferies offered two glowing personal recommendations to Ally McCoist as the pair played golf together in Portugal in the summer of 2011. At least one of them paid off handsomely.

While the former Hearts manager, injuries aside, is as mystified as anyone by the failure of David Templeton to make too much of a mark in the four seasons since his move from Tynecastle in August 2012, he is not surprised in the least by the contribution of Ibrox skipper Lee Wallace over the same period. If playing a captain's part involves sacrificing yourself for the good of the team, then Wallace fits the job description perfectly.

Wallace, you will recall, signed for Rangers for £1.5m in the summer of 2011. But that was only part of the story. The Ibrox side's collapse into administration on Valentine's Day 2012 - Hearts would later settle for £1.4m of the transfer fee as 'newco' Rangers settled the football debt of the 'oldco' - started a chain of events which would leave Wallace in the throes of a dilemma.

When Charles Green stumped up £5.5m for the club's assets in the summer of 2012, players were faced with the bald choice of transferring their contracts under TUPE regulations to the new company or refusing and attempting to move elsewhere. Steven Davis, Allan McGregor, Steven Naismith, Steven Whittaker, Jamie Ness, Sone Aluko, Rhys McCabe and Kyle Lafferty all started down the latter route. Wallace and Lee McCulloch formed a select band of senior professionals who decided to go along for the journey.

Four years later, it has been quite a ride. Appointed captain after the departure of McCulloch, Wallace has been as consistent as any Rangers performer over the last four years, while this last season has seen him hit new heights under Mark Warburton's attacking blueprint.

On the down side, his days in the lower reaches of the league haven't exactly been great for his international prospects. When Gordon Strachan named two squads for the friendlies against the Czech Republic and Denmark and his name wasn't in either, it seemed the national team were moving on to the likes of Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney for their left back spot. The days of one-club men are long gone, but Wallace's approach to such setbacks appears to be only to throw himself more whole-heartedly into his domestic football.

"I think he would have had an opportunity to move down south at the time when he was freedom of contract," said Jefferies. "I'm not sure if he was at Wolves or Ipswich at the time but Mick McCarthy liked him, he phoned me up to inquire about him. But it wasn't just him, some other clubs were asking to see if he was available.

"You aren't tested the same way in the Championship as you are in the Premiership so that is why Gordon has said he knows all about Lee and wants to try the likes of Kieran Tierney and Andy Robertson," he added. "There is big competition for that left back spot now.

"Deep down like anybody he will want to play for his country. But he is not the type to say he should be in, he just gets out there, does his job and acts very professionally. He doesn't seem to have any unease about it."

The player is such a model professional these days that it is easy to forget that this was the same man who was fined for possessing an airgun back in 2006 and landed in further hot water some three years later for an altercation outside a nightclub.

"I remember being with Ally McCoist in Portugal and he was asking me a lot about him at that time," said Jefferies. "I think he had been a little bit wayward just prior to me arriving at Hearts. But also just prior to me going there he had started to realise what an opportunity he had. One of his great mates [Craig McEwan, the middleweight from Wester Hailes] is a boxer and he got himself really fit working out in the gym.

"I obviously recognised before I went there that he was a good player but as soon as I got there I saw just how good he was to work with," he added. "He never caused a minute's bother and always worked extremely hard in training. In fact, there were times when we were a bit short with injury when I would play him in the middle of a back four or the left side of a three. Right now you would never take him out of the left back position. But I think he shows great composure when he plays at the back. Later on in his career if he feels he doesn't quite have the legs he could definitely slot in there.

"I'm not surprised how well he has done this year and I am a bit like anyone else when it comes to the Scotland thing. Since going to Rangers he has been their most consistent performer, there is no doubt about that. But all that is up to the Scotland manager. He's got the job, he picks the players. But Lee must be a hard player to leave out."