JORDAN Rossiter admits he still has work to do if he is to convince Pedro Caixinha that he is capable of holding down a starting spot in this Rangers team.

With a nagging catalogue of back, hamstring and calf injuries having limiting the 20-year-old Scouser to just four starts last season, summer arrivals Graham Dorrans and Ryan Jack currently appear nailed on for the club’s two central midfield roles, but Rossiter put in an industrious display in relief of Jack during their 6-0 Betfred Cup rout of Dunfermline Athletic and says he feels mentally stronger after the frustrations of eight months on the sidelines.

“Listen, I had an absolute nightmare of a season last season – it was really frustrating for me,” said Rossiter. “But I have come through it and the physios and sports science lads have been brilliant with me. 

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Read more: Steven Thompson: Red-hot Hibs won't fear facing Rangers at Ibrox tomorrow

“The gaffer [Caixinha] was superb,” Rossiter added. 

“He came in towards the latter stage of my injury so he saw a bit of what I was going through. He has been first class. To get the opportunity to play back in front of the fans was really pleasing and I thank him for it. Hopefully now I can kick on and stay fit.

“At the moment, I am just happy to be involved with the lads and training every day. But in the long term, it is up to me to stay fit and keep on putting pressure on the lads. I am not going to throw my arms up and say I need to be in the team. I just need to keep my head down and work hard. But it has definitely made me mentally stronger. I wouldn’t say I have forgotten about last season because you always have to remember – I never want to be in that situation again.”

Having spent a season cooling his heels, Rossiter knows all about the difficulties of hitting the ground running as a new signing. So he was delighted to see Alfredo Morelos score his first two goals for the club against the Fifers, a factor which sees him steal a march on Mexican frontman Eduardo Herrera in the bid for the starting slot alongside Kenny Miller. Herrera has a dead leg but is expected to be available for the match against Hibs. 

“All the new lads have been absolutely first class,” said Rossiter.

“Coming into a different country, playing in a different league, it might take a bit of time. Everybody needs a bit of time to adapt and we are all human. But the lads are doing brilliantly and I am delighted for Alfredo because he is a good lad and he works hard in training. I think all strikers need goals. That is their job and they want to score. What he does in training, you saw it in the game, so hopefully he keeps on doing it.”

Read more: Steven Thompson: Red-hot Hibs won't fear facing Rangers at Ibrox tomorrow

Throw in memories of the last meeting between the teams, the 2016 Scottish Cup final, the return of Neil Lennon as Hibs manager, and the Ibrox side’s meeting with the Edinburgh side tomorrow is an occasion to whet the appetite. Both sides are building early season momentum and it will be instructive to see who still has on Saturday.

Rossiter, part of the continental calamity against Progres Niederkorn, is delighted to see things trending in the right direction. “All the lads know there were a few disappointing results in pre-season as well as the European game,” he said.

“The gaffer spoke a lot about momentum and building it, and since the Marseille game we have been superb in training, on the field and off the field. It is only going to be good going into Saturday and future games. 

“All teams want a fast start and it obviously helps when you score three or four goals in the first half an hour,” he said. “But the really positive thing was that we didn’t hold up and kept going for the 90 minutes. But we have got a long way to go and we know that.” 

Listen to the Herald Sport podcast: We discuss Kieran Tierney's Celtic future, Rangers battering Dunfermline and ponder a Motherwell cup victory.

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