THE louder the rival fans sing, the more determined Andy Halliday is to silence them. Come the end of the season, he knows Rangers simply have to give their own supporters something to cheer and celebrate.

While their Old Firm rivals have toasted Trebles in the last three years, Rangers have had to look on helpless. At times, they were hopeless, too.

Last season may have ended with the same outcome, but there is a belief within Ibrox now that the Light Blues are finally on the right track with Steven Gerrard as boss.

Many reckoned Halliday wouldn’t survive the cull 12 months ago as Gerrard overhauled the squad he inherited, but the 27-year-old remains an important part of the plans.

Whether it is on the park or in the dressing room, Halliday has a role to play. He hopes this time the Gers’ efforts will finally be rewarded.

“I was happy with my performances when I played last season,” Halliday said. “It was important for me that when called upon, I didn’t let anyone down.

“With my situation a year ago, if I gave someone an inch, they’d have taken a mile. So it was vital then when I played I performed to a consistent level. I think I did that but there’s definitely scope for improvement in my game this season.

“I feel fitter than I’ve ever been coming into pre-season which is a good start.

“But when I finish my Rangers career I don’t want to be known for any individual honours. I want to be known for how many medals I won.

“So ultimately, my goal is to help the team and my team-mates.

“It’s a huge season for us because we simply can’t come away from this one with no winner’s medals.”

Events of recent years will have hurt Halliday as much as anyone as Rangers have found themselves trailing behind Celtic and empty-handed at the end of each campaign.

He has taken more than his share of stick from rival supporters and had to endure the mocks and the taunts.

It could easily have broken some players. It has only strengthened Halliday, though.

“The abuse from opposition fans doesn’t affect me,” he said. “It’s part of football. Being the local guy in the team, I’m always going to get that. Every team in the country has a player like that.

“With the type of mentality I’ve got, I actually enjoy it. It gives me that extra 10 per cent so it’s healthy.

“As long as it’s done in the right manner, it should spur you on.

“Of course, you have to be strong to deal with it, when 50,000 opposition fans are shouting your name.

“But I’ve always said that’s where I’ve got a head start on anyone else. I’d take my mentality over any player – that’s something I’d never change.

“And it’s not just me. I look at James Tavernier last season, he had quite a bit to deal with in a short space of time with the Hibs away game, then Motherwell straight after it. He’s the type of character to rise above it as well. When you’re part of a club like Rangers, you just have to cope with it.”

Throughout Rangers’ first two seasons back in the top flight, the bad days certainly outweighed the good.

The humiliating Old Firm defeat at Hampden saw Halliday replaced by Graeme Murty late in the first half.

A week later, Celtic won the title at Parkhead and Murty’s reign was brought to an end.

The two derby wins at Ibrox last season, then, were hugely significant for Rangers and are part of the reason there is a confidence amongst fans heading into the new term.

Questions still have to be answered by Gerrard’s side. Halliday is as determined as ever to prove the doubters wrong and to silence the critics.

He said: “Have I felt I had to prove myself after the game at Hampden when I was taken off?

“Listen, I was trying to prove myself even before I became a full-time footballer.

“I was released from this club when I was 15 years old. Since that day, I’ve felt I had to prove myself.

“And that’s not a bad thing, it spurs me on every day to prove people wrong. That’s my motivation.

“I’ll carry with that for the rest of my career and I’m happy to do that.

“I don’t want to be here on sentiment or because I’m a Rangers fans. I won’t be happy picking up a wage by doing nothing.

“But I’ve had questions over me for the last four years here. We’ve signed near on 40 midfielders since I signed for the club.

“And guess what? I’m still here. I get asked the question ever year but I just have to combat that.

“If I do what I did last season, I’m confident that I’ll be a big part of this football club.”

The emotion was clear to see in the aftermath of both those derby wins last term. They were a long time coming for Halliday and for Rangers.

Neither would have any greater significance, though, as Gerrard’s side fell short in the Premiership and their inconsistency week to week cost them dear in the title race.

Rangers undoubtedly improved and progressed during Gerrard’s first term as boss. But Halliday knows there is still work to be done and steps to be taken in the coming months.

He said: “On the basis of last year, we all felt within the building that we’d made quite a bit of progress. But at the same time we were honest enough to say we didn’t achieve what we set out to do. So ultimately, we failed. It’s as simple as that.

“However, this summer is still the most positive I’ve ever been going into a new season, with the group of players and staff we’ve got.

“We knew we needed a few additions to strengthen the starting 11 and squad. That looks like something the manager has got to grips with pretty quickly because we’ve done a lot of business already.

“That’s ideal for us because it gets the new players used to how we want to play. They also get to come to Portugal and take part in every session. So it’s all positive so far but we know actions speak louder than words. That’s why I’m looking forward to the start of the season.”