THERE are parallels between the fortunes of Jon Flanagan and Rangers this season. He is confident next term will be more successful for himself and Steven Gerrard’s side.

The opening weeks and months of the campaign were encouraging for Flanagan as he played his part in Rangers’ European run and helped the Light Blues made a steady start to their Premiership campaign.

Recent times have been more difficult, however. As Rangers have seen their silverware ambitions steadily drop off, Flanagan has had to watch on from the bench or the stand.

He has never lost faith in himself or the team, though, and returned to the side against Hearts on Wednesday night and produced an accomplished showing in a routine 3-0 victory.

“I’m 100 per cent behind the manager,” Flanagan said after Rangers took another step towards securing second spot in the standings. “I want to be here, I want to be a part of it, I want to get a new contract and be here for many years.

“I’m 100 per cent wanting this. It’s been tough being out of it, everyone wants to play every game.

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“But it’s not going to be possible. We’ve got a big squad with everyone fighting for places. But when called upon you’ve just got to perform well and try and stay in the team.

“I’ve spoken to the manager many times and he’s just said keep going, keep working hard and wait for your opportunity.

“He’s always spoken to me and I’ve asked him when I’ve needed to know things. I can have that relationship with him. I worked with him as a player and I know what he’s about, he knows what I’m about. We’ve definitely got that relationship.

“I’m a positive person, I’m mentally strong, I’ve never thought it wasn’t going to work for me here.

“You’re not always going to have good games and I’m the first to know when I don’t play well. But I’m always positive, always train hard. I’m always trying to be ready for when the opportunity comes.”

First half goals from Jermain Defoe and Connor Goldson broke Hearts’ resistance at Ibrox before Scott Arfield made sure of an important victory just after the break.

At the other end of the park, Flanagan was steady at left-back as Rangers ended a run of five games without a clean sheet and a win.

After losing at Parkhead on Sunday, it was a perfect response.

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Flanagan said: “Everyone’s been a bit down on the dumps since the Celtic defeat, everyone’s been a bit hurt by it. But, the only way to put things right was to beat Hearts and get the three points.

“The manager drilled that into us and the lads performed. It was about pride against Hearts and giving something back to the fans. We had to put things right and get the win.

“We’ve been working hard on the training pitch every day, the manager’s always telling us what to do and where we can improve. I think it showed tonight.

“I think we’ve said before that we’ve shot ourselves in the foot consistently throughout the season.

“Consistency’s been the big one.

“But we’re all still together, we’re still positive and we just need to keep going until the end of the season.

“The season could’ve been a lot better. But there are six games to go and we can’t change anything now. We’ve just got to finish the season as strongly as possible and keep going.”