KYLE Lafferty is hoping that his first league goal for Rangers since September can spur him on to finish the season in style.

The Northern Irishman climbed off the bench for the last half hour of Rangers’ romp over Hamilton yesterday, and after passing up three good opportunities, he finally found the net in the closing stages as he calmly slotted home from a Daniel Candeias cross.

It was the first time that Lafferty has scored in the Premiership since the 5-1 win over St Johnstone at Ibrox last autumn, with the only time he found the net during that time being his goal in the Scottish Cup win over Cowdenbeath.

And the forward admitted after the game it was a relief to finally be back on the scoresheet.

“I think everyone could see in the lead up to the goal I was desperate to get one,” Lafferty said.

“I’ve had a fair few blocked or cleared off the line in the past few months to be fair.

“I was delighted at the end. It’s been a frustrating few months to be honest but hopefully I can build on the goal. Hopefully this will get me going again.

“The manager has been good. It’s always difficult when the striker is maybe not scoring goals, but he kept giving me chances.

“He gave me another chance today and I got the goal so hopefully I can reward him.”

Lafferty concedes that he fell foul of the curse of all strikers who go through a lean spell, in that the harder he tried to work his way through his funk, the less it seemed as though he would finally find his form again.

And he accepts that the criticism he received from his manager during that spell was justified.

“It’s the same with everyone,” he said. “When things are not going your way you try harder, but the harder you try, the worse you become.

“The manager and Michael Beale have spoken to me a few times and tried to get me back to playing my own game.

“[The manager] just wants me to be the player he brought in, the player who was scoring goals for Hearts, taking chances and working hard for the team.

“I would probably have liked bit more game time but that’s up to the manager. I’ll just keep working hard in training and if he calls upon me, I want to get the goals and repay him.

“[The criticism] spurred me on. When you have a manager like the gaffer who has played at the highest level, you want to make sure you go out and impress him in every single game.

“Sometimes, the harder you try the worse you become. I have probably been trying too hard at times and not playing my own game.

“I could understand why I wasn’t in the team at time. I didn’t really do myself justice when I came on times with my decision making.

“But I am still working hard in training and trying to break into the team. But it’s difficult when you have a striker playing probably the best football of his career at the minute.”

With his goal at Hamilton finally taking the monkey from his back, Lafferty is hoping that he can now enjoy what seems to be his traditional strong end to the season.

The striker has tended to perform better during the crunch climax to campaigns in the past, netting crucial goals in three title successes for Rangers in the past, and he is hoping for more of the same this time around.

“It does seem like I come alive in the last two months of the season,” he said.

“I honestly don’t know why, but you win trophies at the back end of the campaign and that’s when goals matter.

“I just want to keep working hard and getting goals from now until the end of the season.

“I’ve played and scored in big games.

“I’m low in confidence, obviously going through a difficult spell, but I’m still working hard in training and the only way to repay the manager is to score goals.”