RABBI Matondo suspected that Steven Davis was management material long before the Rangers midfielder was asked to take charge of the Ibrox first team on a temporary basis last year following the sacking of Michael Beale.

The winger, who is hoping to build on his bright display against Hibernian at Easter Road in midweek in the cinch Premiership match against St Mirren in Paisley this afternoon, saw how the 140-times capped Northern Ireland internationalist commanded the complete respect of everyone around him.

He also benefitted from the words of advice and encouragement which Davis, who this week announced he was retiring from football at the age of 35, regularly gave him even when he was sidelined through injury.

Matondo is certain that his old team mate, who is going to spend time with his family and ponder his next move, has a long and successful future ahead of him as a coach and a manager and would like to see him return to Auchenhowie in a different capacity.

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“It’s been a disappointing end to his career in terms of his injury,” he said. “It’s been hard for him in that respect. But you can never tell really when he is walking around. He is giving out information and trying to help everyone around him.

“Steven Davis is always going to be positive in everything he does. There have even been times where he has sent me a little message and pushed me to keep on going.

“When I have scored a goal he has said, ‘I know that’s what you’re about’. Stuff like that, nice touches. He is a class act. He was a great footballer, but he’s a good person as well.

The Herald: “You can just look at him and get inspired. His presence is enough. He doesn’t need to say too much. He will obviously chat to you, but he isn’t a big, big talker. I would say that his presence speaks volumes.

“Sometimes his personality is enough to have an influence on you. He won’t speak too much, but when he does he immediately has the attention of the whole room. Sometimes you have just got to have it I guess. It comes from good performances, the way he has put in his performances. And being a good person.”

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Matondo added: “I don’t know what he will do next. That’s down to him what he decides to do with his career and the next part of his life. I would like to see that for him, but ultimately it is down to him.

“But could he be a manager? I think he could. I think he proved he could do that from even his spell as interim. I’m sure in the near future he can prove what he is about.

“It is important that Rangers keep guys who know what the club is about. It is easier when you have been around the club and you know the club. It helps, like when the manager came in. It helps a lot.”

Matondo, who is set to enjoy an extended run in the Rangers first team due to the injury which Brighton loanee Abdallah Sima suffered on African Cup of Nations duty with Senegal,  is certain he can go from strength to strength under current Ibrox manager now he has put his injury issues behind him.

“Whether Abdallah is injured or not, I want to work hard and get myself into the team,” he said. “It is unfortunate Abdallah has got injured as he is a big asset and very important for us. It is sad to see him injured.

“The manager has always said to me from the get-go he knows what I am about. He has obviously seen me play in Belgium. He has just told me to play with freedom, not think too much, and go about it the way I can.”