Kirk Broadfoot revealed that his time out with a foot injury was the 'toughest time of his life'.
The Rangers defender aggravated the problem in the Co-operative Insurance Cup final last March and has been out ever since.
The 25-year-old returned on Saturday and played the full 90 minutes in the 3-0 win over St Johnstone at Ibrox.
However the former St Mirren man believes, thanks to all the extra sessions he has put in, he is fitter than at any point during his whole career.
"Emotionally, it's probably been the toughest time of my life. It's been a long slog, nine months out when initially I only thought it would be two or three weeks.
"But I feel as if I am a stronger person for it. The foot feels okay and hopefully there is no reaction and I can kick on.
"I have been in when the players have been off, doing extra training with the physio and fitness coach. I am probably the fittest I have been in my career.
"I have done a lot of extra work in the last three or four weeks, I have been in Murray Park until six at night."