Rangers captain Barry Ferguson has insisted he will come back “stronger and better than before” following ankle surgery.
The 30-year-old Scotland midfielder will be out of action for up to three months of the forthcoming season after an operation.
Ferguson revealed on Saturday he had been playing while injured for the final few months of last season after damaging his left ankle during the Scottish League Cup semi-final against Hearts in January.
And he added he should not have played at all after going over on the ankle again away to St Mirren in May.
Ferguson, who two years ago had surgery on damaged ligaments in his right ankle, is now set to began his rehabilitation on September 1 when doctors remove the plaster cast.
“I was upset and down about what happened, but I will be back stronger and better than before,” Ferguson told the Scottish Sun.
“I came through worse when I shattered my kneecap at Blackburn and was scared I might never play again. This injury is not at that level.”
He added: “We all hoped that rest would cure it, but then in pre-season training I was in pain again. I just couldn't turn and I knew it was time to bow out.
“I had felt rotten in pre-season. Then we found that one of the ligaments had split and the other was hanging off the bone.
“Now I know that it is fixed, that I can come back pain-free.”
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