JAK ALNWICK found himself in the right place at the wrong time. That misfortune now fuels his desire.

A move to Rangers was the opportunity that Alnwick had been searching for in January 2017. It proved to be a false dawn, but he has no regrets from a spell that was short, if not too sweet.

Signed by Mark Warburton, it was Graeme Murty and Pedro Caixinha he had to impress during a time when Rangers flattered to deceive and supporters had few reasons to be cheerful.

The arrival of Steven Gerrard was transformational at Ibrox, but Alnwick had no part to play in the revolution. After loan spells at Scunthorpe and Blackpool, he had to cut ties with Rangers and move along the M8 to St Mirren last summer.

His time with Rangers was a case of what might have been. But, as the 28-year-old prepares to face his former club this afternoon, he appreciates the part it played in shaping his career and leading him to a place of contentment in Paisley.

"There are people that dream of pulling on a Rangers shirt and the fact that I can say I have done that means a lot," Alnwick told Herald and Times Sport.

"Yes, it didn’t work out exactly how I wanted it. I came in under Warburton, who left a couple of weeks later. These things happen in football.

"I did think I was going to be there a lot longer and play more games, but that is football. You dust yourself down and you never know, one day I could end up back there, I could end up anywhere in the world.

"It is how football is, I don’t have any regrets about going there, I don’t have any hard feelings about not playing as much.

"Football is about being in the moment and, at the moment, we are doing well and I am doing my job. As long as that continues, I will enjoy the moment and see where it takes me and us as a team."

The low points - from the League Cup semi-final defeat to Motherwell to an Old Firm hammering at Parkhead - are easy to pinpoint from Alnwick's time with Rangers.

He had dealt with the setback of leaving boyhood heroes Newcastle United earlier in his career and knew the time was right for him to move on as Gerrard set about overhauling Rangers on and off the park.

"It was really difficult for me because it was such a big club and I enjoyed everything about it," Alnwick said. "But we weren’t winning games and I wasn’t really playing and I am not one who is happy just to sit there and think ‘I will see what happens’.

"I wanted to show what I could do. You can show that in training, but I have trained with some players who are the best I have seen in training and then on a Saturday they don’t live up to that.

"It was a tough period. We wanted to win the league and win cups and it just didn’t quick click. The club was going through a transition, the squad and the manager changed.

"It was one of those situations that I can look back at and learn from and take positives and negatives from it. That is how I look at it.

"I only have good things to say about the club, the people that worked there and the fans. Everything about the place is amazing."

Those times at Ibrox can be put down as character building for Alnwick. They also act as inspiration now that he is approaching the prime years of his career.

His aim in the here and now is to repay the faith that Jim Goodwin has shown in him. He has ambitions to achieve with the Buddies, and individual aspirations still to strive for.

"I think that has got to be the goal, to reach as high a level as possible," Alnwick said. "The gaffer at St Mirren doesn’t hide from the fact that lads, whilst they all want to do their best for St Mirren, he wants us to go on and play for the biggest clubs and at the highest level.

"I had a taste of it with Newcastle and Rangers and I have seen how big it can be. Listen, you want to play as high as possible, you want to win trophies and that has got to be my goal.

"I will keep on putting on the St Mirren shirt week in, week out and giving everything I have got. Hopefully we can have another good season.

"I want to get as high as I can in my career, whether that is a massive team in Scotland like Rangers or whether it is Championship, Premier League, whatever it might be. That has got to be the goal."

The signing of Alnwick looked a shrewd bit of business from Goodwin when the keeper agreed a two-year deal last summer and was tasked with filling the jersey vacated by Václav Hladký. That judgement has proven sound.

In the long run, the Englishman can dare to dream of performing on a grander stage. In the coming months, he is determined to help bring success to St Mirren.

"My experience of being at Rangers, when I first came up I knew it was a big club and a lot about the club," Alnwick said. "But I think everyone says it, you don’t quite get it until you are actually in the city and you are embracing it.

"It is nothing you can explain until you have played for Rangers. Every Rangers player you speak to, you are part of a big family and it was an amazing experience that set me up for the next few years of my career.

"The short term goal is to get St Mirren as high as possible, have good cup runs and then get to the highest level possible.

"There are a lot of lads in our team that, whether they are out of contract at the end of the season or they have a contract, everyone wants to impress for one reason or another. Everyone wants to take St Mirren into that top six this season.

"On a personal level, it is why I play football. I want to play against the big teams and this is a big game against Rangers.

"I am really looking forward to it and I am looking forward to us and them having big supports in the stadium as well. It is going to be a good one."

When the Saints marched on in the League Cup last December and brought an end to Rangers' Treble dreams, there were no Paisley punters in place to watch history being made.

The circumstances this time around are different for both sides, but St Mirren head into the Premiership fixture unbeaten in six and on the back of wins over Aberdeen, Livingston and Ross County.

"The gaffer hasn’t mentioned it but the boys know it in the back of their minds," Alnwick said of the famous victory earned thanks to a Jamie McGrath double and dramatic Conor McCarthy winner. "In the league, Rangers were unbeatable last season.

"But we have it in our minds that we can beat them, and it was the same against Celtic last season.

"You have that belief that you can beat these teams, you know it is not impossible. It is going to be a completely different game but we can look back and we know that we can beat them.

"It gives you confidence going into the game but, unless you do it on the day, none of these little things really matter.

"To go into the game on the back of some good results is always nice. I think there is an excitement about the place and hopefully we can put in a good performance and get something out of the game."