KYLE LAFFERTY lived the dream and the nightmare during his first stint at Rangers. Now, he is back in blue with unfinished business and success in his sights.

The striker that scored title winning goals and lifted silverware at Hampden would leave his boyhood heroes under a cloud during the most turbulent period in Rangers’ history.

He can’t rewrite the past but, six years on, he has a chance to forge a brighter future for the Gers as an integral part of Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox masterplan.

The deal that brought Lafferty back to Glasgow from Hearts was a long time in the making but the wait has proven worth it for the Northern Irishman after he put pen-to-paper on a two-year contract.

And former Gers team-mate Andy Little believes Lafferty has returned older, wiser and better as he looks to make the most of a second chance he never thought he would get.

“I am delighted for him personally and I am proud as a Fermanagh boy to have another player from our County playing for Rangers again,” Little told SportTimes.

“We have had myself and the likes of Roy Carroll, and obviously Kyle first time around. It is a proud moment for us to have a player from Fermanagh at the club again and I am delighted for Kyle that he has got another chance to play for his boyhood club.

“The ending of his first stint was a bit sour and not what he wanted but now he has got an unbelievable opportunity to play for the one club he wants to in the prime of his career.

“Everyone that leaves Rangers… it is that kind of club that is really grabs your heartstrings and becomes part of your life.

“Both Old Firm clubs have that affect and there are players from all around the world that have an affinity with Rangers once they have played there. I know that myself.

“Laff was a big fan as a young boy and I am sure that when he left it would really have hurt him. If I had the opportunity to play for them again, and I am sure the vast majority of former players would say the same, I would absolutely do it.

“It was no surprise it happened once it first came about. It would have been difficult for Kyle to focus on the job at Hearts knowing that he had been so close to getting that chance at Rangers again if it hadn’t gone through.”

Lafferty moved to Switzerland to sign for Sion when he left Ibrox in the summer of 2012 and went on to have spells with Sion, Palermo and Norwich, where he had loans at Caykur Rizespor and Birmingham, before joining Hearts last term.

He has been warmly welcomed by the Light Blue legions and has wasted little time in further endearing himself with an impressive start under Gerrard’s guidance.

Little was one of the players that stayed at Rangers six years ago and the forward is pleased to see supporters taking Lafferty to their hearts once again.

“The fans will react positively to any player that gives them 100 per cent and there is no doubt in my mind that Kyle Lafferty will always give you 100 per cent,” he said.

“He did it in his first stint at Rangers, he has always done it for Northern Ireland and he will do it this time around for Rangers. The fans think that players should always play for Rangers and that should be their club for the rest of their lives, and I get that.

“But I don’t blame any of the players that left under the circumstances years ago. They had dreams of playing internationally and, to put in bluntly, to earn as much money as they could in what is a very short career.

“I think it is understandable that players left but if that had not been the situation and Laff had been offered new terms, he would have stayed at the club.

“The fans have taken to him and they can see that he has matured and he is a completely different player and person to what he was when he left.”

The Rangers story has had many twists and turns between Lafferty’s departure and second arrival, but the 30-year-old is mentally and physically prepared to write another chapter at Ibrox.

He was a £3.5million signing when Walter Smith brought him north of the border from Burnley and now Gerrard needs him to roll back the years in the coming months.

“If you sign for Rangers at 20, you put yourself under enough pressure but then you realise how much pressure there is at the club,” Little said.

“It is hard to take when you first sign but he will now understand that pressure a lot more and he knows how to deal with it.

“He had the pressure of taking his country to their first major Championships in decades so he has dealt with that. He had big boots to fill after David Healy but he has managed to do that.

“It will be a challenge at Rangers but he has started brilliantly and had an immediate impact, not just with the goals but with his performances as well. Now the challenge is to consistently do that and become a big player for Rangers again.”

Lafferty won six honours for his boyhood heroes before he headed for the Ibrox exit door and has already set his sights on adding to that tally this term.

It is a challenge Little is confident his compatriot can rise to as he looks to establish himself in Gerrard’s side and lead from the front once again.

Little said: “He knows how to perform in big games and score big goals for a club like Rangers and he has got a lot of confidence now.

“I am sure that when Rangers are struggling or matches are tough, Laff will be the one to step up and put the ball in the back of the net.

“He brings that big game mentality and can make a difference at the crucial moments in matches. He is a different player compared to what he was years ago.

“The whole team in general seem to be giving the manager their absolutely all and that is what the fans want to see. Hopefully they can have success this season.”