MARK Hateley reckons Aberdeen stars like Ryan Jack and Kenny McLean are ideal targets for a summer rebuild at Rangers - because signing them would weaken one of the club's major challengers and the simmering rivalry between the two clubs won't prevent good players like them being accepted within the Ibrox fold.

Jack - who is out of contract this summer - was explicitly mentioned by Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha in the lead-up to Wednesday night's match, which the Dons won 2-1 to consolidate second place in the Ladbrokes Premiership, with McLean - who has a year left on his deal - also a reported target. One of the tenets of Rangers' nine-in-a-row dominance was snapping up the best Scottish players available - such as Duncan Ferguson from Dundee United, David Robertson from Aberdeen and Ian Ferguson from St Mirren - and Hateley feels the same principles apply equally now.

"If you are a good player and you can make that step, then the supporters appreciate good players and that's the end of it," said the former Rangers striker, speaking at a Show Racism the Red Card event in Glasgow this week. "If you can come here and play well then it doesn't matter who you played with. Kenny Miller gets all the admiration he deserves so that stuff is all by the by, whether it is Aberdee, Celtic or anyone really.

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"If you are a good player and you can come and play in this environment week on week then the fans will take to you, " added Hateley. "But if you are looking historically, big teams don't always sell to the other ones who are trying to attain the same sort of success. Whether it is Manchester United selling to Arsenal or Tottenham selling to Arsenal, it is usually unheard of but at the end of the day money talks. If you can do it, you do it."

The Englishman was part of the Ibrox squad for their last defeat to Aberdeen at Ibrox 26 years ago and it is to the credit of Derek McInnes' side that they repeated the feat on Wednesday without Jack, their club captain, who is also thought to be on the radar of Barnsley and MLS side Columbus Crew. "Ryan had a big injury a couple of years back and was out for a while, but I have seen him three or four times with Aberdeen at different stadiums and they have always performed," said Hateley. "He definitely stands out. He creates too and that's why Aberdeen are where they are."

Whether they get the Jack deal over the line or not, how exactly Caixinha chooses to refurbish Rangers' much-criticised squad will be one of the stories of the summer, with the Portuguese so far being linked with exotic former players from his former clubs in Portugal or Qatar and belt-and-braces additions from the Scottish game like Motherwell's Ben Heneghan. As well as continental players have performed at Ibrox in recent times, Hateley feels that retaining a local core of players will always be equally essential to the club's success.

"I think local Scottish players are where Rangers should be looking at," said Hateley. "If you look back through time, Rangers have always been identified with local homegrown players - even within the foreign influx that came during that period. But I would imagine with the contacts Pedro has, there will be a lot of European influences coming to this club within the summer, hopefully of a good standard, with a good mental strength. If that what it takes to get Rangers challenging for a title, not challenging for second, then that's what we need."

Rangers, of course, came second in that second place challenge, but Hateley reckons Rangers shouldn't feel embarrassed by their finish considering the enviable continuity which his former team-mate Derek McInnes has fostered at Pittodrie. While another summer of upheaval awaits at Ibrox, Hateley hope that soon there will be more stability around the club.

"Aberdeen have a settled squad and that has helped," said Hateley. "They have a nice understanding between the players. At Rangers, there has been a lot of chop and change, which hasn't been ideal and I think there will be changes again during the summer. Aberdeen are reaping the benefits of being together but hopefully, Rangers will follow that and bring a period of stability now with the manager."

That equation, of course, depends on Caixinha delivering an acceptable run of early season results. "When I came here I was always told to win every game and it should be no different now," said Hateley. "You have to bring characters in who can deal with that pressure and that's what Pedro would have seen by now. He will have learned a lot from the Old Firm game. He came here knowing it was a big club, but the demands on the players here are second to none. That's what he will be hopefully bring to the club in the summer."