The mood was optimistic, but wariness is never far from reach for the club's fans. The consortium led by Charles Green has offered some hope that a resolution will be found to what has been an enduring crisis at Ibrox, but there is little willingness to make any assumptions about what the future holds.
Green's rhetoric has been persuasive, but then Craig Whyte made all the right statements 12 months ago. Supporters will only judge any new owner on their actions, even if there is a craving among them for signs that the worst of the trauma might have passed. There seemed an air of innocence to a sponsored walk around the stadium in the sunshine of a late spring afternoon, even if an edginess remains among the fans.
Green, however he might present himself as already effectively being in charge of the club, remains an unknown presence. He claimed to have 20 investors in his consortium, yet later admitted only five or six have put money in to fund the £8.5m purchase price. He also claims to have £20m in funds ready to be invested, and talks of a share issue that will spread ownership of the club. It seems a short-term plan, although he has talked of a long-term project. Glibly referring to broadcast markets in the Far East is also misleading when Manchester United are the leading football club in the region and do not make comparatively significant amounts from that presence.
Whyte left financial wreckage behind, but also an instinct to be mistrustful that has become entrenched. Green, in truth, can only be assessed in time. "You can't judge him from what he says, only what he does," says Hateley. "He has only named a couple of investors and as long as it continues like that, there is always going to be a major doubt among the fans. The big part of any bid should be winning over the confidence of the fans very quickly. I would suggest that, at the moment, it's just like the early days of the Craig Whyte era. Fans are 50-50 on this. Until there is transparency and a clear plan of action, that will be the way. [They] are looking for clarity."
There is an understanding that if Green was to walk away from his bid, the club would be even closer to liquidation, since the players' contracts revert back to their original terms on June 1 and there is not enough income to cover the increased running costs. While still pursuing a Company Voluntary Arrangement with the creditors, Green's consortium has pledged to fund the business in the meantime. The CVA proposal was due to be sent to creditors yesterday, but has now been delayed until Friday or the beginning of next week and, once published, a creditors' meeting will be held 14 days later to vote on the proposal.
Hateley believes the Rangers fans have become resilient after what has been a distressing time. That durability will not be surplus once the ownership is resolved, since the team itself will still be diminished. The Scottish Football Association's registration embargo, combined with the need to cut costs and so sell players, means that Ally McCoist will be working with a reduced squad next season, in quality and numbers.
"Where will Alistair be if nothing positive comes out of this?" Hateley asks. "Scotland needs a competitive Rangers, but it's becoming increasingly harder to make that happen. Alistair is an intelligent man and he doesn't give up, that's why he had a successful playing career. [He] has coped pretty well. But he needs Rangers to be competitive and to have a chance of winning something.
"This is the problem, you see. You have a club that's in crisis and a governing body trying to get its house in order. To get your house in order, you have to get the wage bill down. To get the wage bill down, you have to sell your best players. If they go and you can't bring any other players in, the club is going to be finished, basically. The top players might leave and contracts could be ripped up should the club come back as a newco. You could end up with 20 players leaving and not being able to sign anyone. You become completely irrelevant in the game if that happens."
Hateley believes the club's major assets – Allan McGregor, Steven Davis, Steven Naismith, Steven Whittaker, Maurice Edu, Dorin Goian and Carlos Bocanegra – will consider their future against this backdrop of the team being unable to play in Europe or be strengthened. Pragmatism about their career prospects might be the significant factor.
For McCoist, too, there is the prospect of another season spent managing decline. When asked if McCoist's future might hinge on keeping the senior players, Hateley says, "yes, yes", but then he also doesn't think the manager would leave the club that he has such a strong emotional attachment to. Rangers may have to field a team of young players next season and Hateley believes, in that case, they would be better served being out of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
"You might as well just go to the third division in those circumstances, because that would let you rebuild over a period of time," he says. "Staying in the top league and watching young kids battered every week is no good for anyone. You will completely lose young players forever if that happens."