THE dip in form was temporary, but the touch of class is permanent.

Questions were asked of Steven Davis in his first weeks back at Ibrox, but Kevin Thomson always knew he would answer them in style.

Come the end of the season, the midfielder had won over his critics and silenced his doubters.

Steven Gerrard needed Davis to hit the ground running when he returned north of the border from Southampton in January.

But it would take the Northern Irishman several weeks to rediscover the sharpness and fitness required.

After seeing Davis do just that as a string of impressive performances were produced, Thomson is confident there is even more to come from his former Ibrox team-mate.

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“I said it from day one, when you have got class you have got class, that is just the way it is,” Thomson said.

“When you get older, you lose part of your engine, part of your sharpness, but you don’t lose the quality in your eye or your brain.

“Davo, I have said it before, was one of the best players I ever played with. He is a very unassuming character, really quiet and keeps himself to himself. But what a player.

“He is a top trainer, a terrific professional and a really top midfielder.

“I am delighted that the club have given him another year and I think he could be a massive asset for the team next year. He will be delighted to be back and determined to bring success back to this club once again.”

After finding his feet and fitness, Davis would finish the campaign turning in the kind of showings supporters always hoped he would be capable of second time around.

The run of six consecutive wins, which culminated in the Old Firm victory at Ibrox, was Rangers’ most promising of the season.

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Davis was at the heart of the Light Blues midfield during those encouraging weeks and Thomson knows how influential the Northern Irishman can be in the middle of the park.

He said: “I am not saying the manager is going to build the team around him, but I definitely think what he saw in the last few weeks of the season would have excited him.

“Davo is the cog in there, he keeps things ticking over, he looks after the ball and he manages the game.

“If he needs to, he can make that pass and go and force it and dictate the tempo of a game.

“That is a hard thing to do, especially at a club like Rangers. People think that here the tempo always has to be 100 mph, but at times the sting needs to be taken out of the game and you need that bit of composure.

“If you go away from home, it might be a bit blood and thunder and you need someone to put their foot on the ball and Davo can do that as well as anyone. He can do it all.”

Davis is well-versed in life at Ibrox and has the know-how of what it takes to lift silverware with Rangers.

He has returned to the club older and wiser after a successful seven-year spell with Southampton.

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Once again, he could play a significant role on and off the park as Gerrard looks to lead the Light Blues to Premiership glory next term.

Thomson said: “He is probably not the stereotypical captain. But I always said when I was captain at Hibs and when I was up at Dundee, when I was a wee bit older, it is about how you lead, on and off the park.

“Hibs was a big one for me because I was only 20, 21 when I was named captain under Tony. He said to me ‘you are not loud, but when you speak, people listen’.

“He wanted me to lead by example on the pitch, and that is Davo. He leads by example because he is a brilliant trainer every day and then on a matchday you see his performances and his class. He does the right things off the pitch and he is a brilliant player when he steps on it.

“Sometimes words can be a wee bit cheap and it is actions that speak louder as a leader.

“I think Davo does that really well and when you think of the class of this club, Davo comes into that bracket of player and person you want around you here.”

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Davis will remain at Ibrox for another 12 months after he, as expected, put pen-to-paper on a deal following the expiry of his contract at St Mary’s this summer.

He won eight major honours under the guidance of Walter Smith before moving to the Premier League. And the 34-year-old will add a much-needed nous to the Ibrox squad.

Thomson said: “I think that is really important and I have said before that having the likes of Allan McGregor and Davo is so crucial to a team that is looking to be successful.

“The one thing that Celtic have had the edge on is having players that have been over the course and distance and done it regularly.

“People can say they underperformed last season, but they still did enough to win the title and it is important for the manager here to know that there are boys in the squad that know how to get over the line, what it takes at the business end of the season when you just have to win.

“You need that consistency and you need the right guys in the right positions guiding a new squad over the line to get a taste of what it is like to be successful at this club.”

*Rangers Academy coach Kevin Thomson is pictured promoting the Rangers Youth Development Company.

Since 2002, RYDC profits have been directed to Rangers Football Club’s youth programme - with almost £8 million provided so far.

And in January, Academy Head Craig Mulholland and youth graduate Glenn Middleton accepted an RYDC donation of £400,000.

For full details on RYDC’s growing portfolio of products – the re-launched Rangers Pools, Rangers Lotto, Rising Stars, Scratchcards, Stadium Bricks and the Youth Members Club - visit or call 0141 427 4914.