Barry Ferguson feels Jermain Defoe’s sudden absence from Rangers squads this season just wasn’t quite right. 

While the former captain gets the veteran striker is getting on a bit at 39, he’s certain the fox in the box could have contributed more under Steven Gerrard. 

Defoe departed Ibrox after three excellent years yesterday despite signing a player/coach deal in the summer. 

That was reverted back to just a player contract after the departure of Gerrard to Aston Villa and the arrival of Giovanni van Bronckhorst who brought in his own coaching staff. 

And Ferguson feels the scenario where Defoe appeared to fall down the pecking order prior to the Dutchman's arrival was “strange” and the full story might be yet to be revealed. 

He told the Daily Record: “There is something a bit strange about the way it all ended for Defoe. For whatever reason, he seemed to fall out of the picture almost overnight under the previous manager. 

“One minute he was signing a new contract, appointed onto the coaching staff and taking a seat on the bench with the rest of Gerrard’s backroom team, the next he was sitting in a Sky TV studio at Old Trafford when Rangers were in action up the road. 

"I’m sure I wasn’t the only one baffled by this but it just didn’t seem to sit right. 

“I don’t know if there was a fall-out of some sort behind the scenes but it did feel as if Rangers weren’t getting enough out of him. Even at his age he was still capable of contributing more than he did. 

“He might not be the same player he was ten years ago. He may have lost a yard of pace over the years. But it was still a real thrill to have a striker of his standing playing in Scottish football over the last three years. 

“And even if he wasn’t at his peak the guy’s statistics were ridiculously impressive. Over his time at the club he scored 32 times in 74 appearances - averaging a goal every 100 minutes - which just goes to show his qualities as a finisher. So, yes, it is a bit strange that he wasn’t involved more this season and maybe, in time, he’ll have his say on why that was. 

“But, now that a new manager is in charge and Rangers are moving in a different direction it does make sense for a parting of the ways. One thing is sure, Defoe will always be welcomed back by the fans who appreciate everything he did for the club - on the park and off it. He leaves with everyone’s best wishes.”