DAVID Healy hopes his time at Rangers extends beyond the end of the season after fulfilling his boyhood dream.
The Northern Ireland international has signed a six-month contract at Ibrox after leaving Sunderland on a free transfer.
Healy failed to start a single Premier League game during his two-and-a-half years at the Stadium of Light and was sent out on loan to Championship Doncaster earlier in the season.
But Rangers boss Walter Smith moved over the weekend to end Healy’s miserable time at Sunderland, with the 31-year-old replacing departed top scorer Kenny Miller.
Boyhood Rangers fan Healy was at Hampden Park yesterday to see Rangers make it through to the final of the Co-operative Insurance Cup final with a 2-1 victory over Motherwell.
“I had a trial with Rangers when I was 14 but I couldn’t sign back then as I was a little bit too young,” he said.
“But it’s been well documented that I am a Rangers fan as are all my family.
“My dad comes on the boat to watch a lot of the games with his friends, so it’s a boyhood dream for me.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be here.
“Hopefully, I can come in and do the job the manager and his backroom staff wants me to do.
“I want to impress them, the supporters and the board and hopefully I can stay a bit longer.
“I hope my debut will come at Ibrox. I’ve been to the stadium on many occasions as a fan but never played on it.
“To get on the hallowed turf would be very special for me.”
Former boss Roy Keane brought Healy to Sunderland for an undisclosed fee from Fulham in the summer of 2008.
His goalscoring record at international level remains staggering with 35 goals in 84 appearances to become his country’s all-time leading scorer.
But Healy managed just three goals in 21 appearances for the Black Cats and was sent out on loan Ipswich last season and Doncaster this year with his contract due to expire this summer.
Smith is confident Healy will prove to be more of a success at Rangers though.
“He’s a goalscorer, he’s someone who is an out-and-out goalscorer,” said Smith.
“He is someone who was keen to come to us and we are delighted to have him. We need that kind of thing in and around the box at the moment.”