WITH Connor Goldson and James Tavernier rested ahead of the Europa League Final, it was only fitting to see Steven Davis walk out at Tynecastle with the captain’s armband.

Davis was the wise head among an array of talented B-team players as a young Rangers side ended the league season with a comfortable win over Hearts. Old enough to be the father of both starters and players from the bench, Davis looked as relaxed as ever in his deep-lying midfielder role.

The Ulsterman is on the countdown to the end of his contract at Ibrox and talk of any potential new deal is very quiet. At 37, it wouldn’t be surprising to see his attention turn to coaching. If he does choose to call it a day, what a career he will be bringing to an end.

Davis spent two chunks of his career in the English Premier League and played 306 times in one of the best leagues in the world. During his first spell at Rangers, he was a smart acquisition who brought a different dimension to the team Walter Smith was building. His contribution to Rangers was stellar and like others, ended prematurely when the club hit disastrous financial problems.

Davis’ class was compounded when he became a regular for Southampton for six seasons, but all roads led back to Ibrox and there was clearly only one place he wanted to finish his career.

When Steven Davis returned for a second spell, it quickly looked doomed to fail. Thrown into a title battle as part of a team ill-equipped for the fight, he looked off the pace. The first few months back in a Rangers top were a struggle and it looked like his return to the club would be short-lived.

Yet when he found his feet, his contribution during his second spell at Rangers has been excellent. Rangers’ metronome in the midfield, the pace of the game is entirely different when Davis is involved. Very few players to have played in this country can set the tempo like he can. The game looks a simpler concept when Davis graces the midfield and he often brings those around him up another level.

Many have been crying out for him to be further involved this season and it is one of the most common criticisms you hear from pundits who know Davis’ qualities first hand. His involvement was non-existent during the earlier stages of van Bronckhorst's tenure, and while injury was a factor, there where whisperings the Dutchman didn’t fancy him.

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The likelihood is Davis no longer quite has the legs to keep the pace in Rangers’ most important and intense games. When the title race was in full swing, van Bronckhorst opted for other options. It is too late to tell, but there are games where Rangers lacked a spark and a sharp Davis may have made the difference.

It would be a blow to see him leave Ibrox this summer. With experienced heads such as McGregor and Goldson likely to leave, Rangers should be wary of the turnover of players in leadership roles. That experience and understanding of playing at the highest level cannot be manufactured or easily bought.

If Davis does move into coaching, I would be delighted to see him starting that journey in Glasgow. The record UK-capped player has an aura that would demand respect from those he works with. Few players can match Davis’ CV as a modern player at the club and Rangers is clearly his spiritual home.

If he feels his legs can cope with another 20 games next season, there may still be a place for him. It couldn’t just be a contract for the sake of it and both Davis and the management team would need to have an honest conversation going into it, but I wouldn’t completely write him off being involved in the club in some capacity next year. Some may suggest a player-coaching role, but Jermain Defoe recently discussed the split-focus that made it a struggle during his last few months at Rangers. It would make sense for Davis to focus on playing or coaching, should he wish to move into the latter.

Regardless of whether he is or isn’t at the club next season, Davis will undoubtedly finish his career as one of the finest midfielders in Scotland of recent generations. He has never been a prolific goalscorer and even assists have been few and far between in recent years. Yet the way in which he can pull the strings and dictate games can be replicated by few players.

A mainstay in Walter’s 3-in-a-row team and instrumental in Gerrard’s undefeated heroes of 55, Davis is a class act of which Rangers likely do not have the funds to replace. Four league winning medals, two League Cup wins, one Scottish Cup, and two Player of the Season awards. Just like Allan McGregor, to do it in two different spells gives their Rangers journey a unique narrative.

That single Scottish Cup victory looks lonely on his record: one last curtain call in at Hampden next Saturday may well be the perfect sendoff to a great career.

And let's not forget, he could still have a major role to play in a second European Final during his time at the club.

He is already a legend, it's now simply a case of establishing the size of his gigantic legacy.