CHARLIE Adam doesn't see why signing old boys like Steven Naismith this summer should be seen as a step backwards for a club like Rangers. Handing veteran Scotland internationals returns to their former clubs could be one of the themes of this close season. Christophe Berra yesterday agreed a deal with his former club Hearts, Aberdeen are thought to be chasing former North East native Shaun Maloney and Hibs are tracking Steven Whittaker, but the Stoke City midfielder reckons Pedro Caixinha would be daft not to consider going down the same route himself. Indeed, while the 31-year-old has a year left on his contract at Stoke and would be keen to extend his stay if offered, even he wouldn't entirely close the door on a return journey to Ibrox at some point.

"Listen, Rangers is a wonderful club and I had a great time there," said Adam, speaking on a visit to Cathkin Braes golf club, as he threw his support to Elite Collaboration's 'Back Onside' project, of which his former Rangers team-mates Barry Ferguson and Bob Malcolm are patrons. "I left because I felt it was right for my career and it has been. But the club still has 50,000 for every home game. The battle now is to try close the gap and you’re going to have to improve on the players they have. So players are going to be linked there.

"Let’s be honest, they need to improve on the players they have got and he [Naismith] would be one who would improve them," Adam added. "But I think they need more than him. It will be interesting to see how many they get in. That comes to down to finance as well

"I have a year left but I’m looking to extend it if I can. Stoke is a great club with great people and I’m comfortable there. This is the second longest I have been at any club after Rangers. If I do get a new deal, it will be the longest. The staff and players make it a great place to be and we are just looking to improve every season.

"I feel appreciated there, but I would say that of every club I have been at. I just try and do the best that I can and I feel that when I get an opportunity I am capable of producing big moments in games or changing a game. I love what I do. It’s fantastic. I want to play in the Premier League for as long as I can. Hopefully until I retire. But it is the club who will decide .

"With Christophe [Berra], I think his little daughter and family are up here. Ipswich is a long way from Edinburgh, so that’s a difficult situation to be in. My son is in Scotland but he is 10 and we’ve been alright with that. I am happy at Stoke but you never know what can happen in football. Scotland is always an option but I am happy where I am."

Adam has been a high profile critic of national team boss Gordon Strachan but he admitted last night that it remains an ambition to return to the national team fold. "I’ll watch Scotland v England - I’m still a supporter even though I’m not playing," he said. "I hope they can qualify. The last game has helped things a little bit but it is still tough. Hopefully, the guys can get another win. I’ve definitely not given up on Scotland. I want to be a part of it and I want to play. I feel I can still contribute and make a difference. But it’s not me who makes that decision. If that call-up up comes again, then great. If it doesn’t then I’ll sit down and reflect on 26 caps and say I had a decent career."

For all the pre-round bonhomie and back-slapping at the 19th hole over bacon rolls yesterday, this could never be merely an old pals' act for Adam. Not only was the event given added currency by the plight of Everton winger Aaron Lennon, who was sanctioned under the mental health act last week after a 20-minute stand-off with police at a busy intersection, it will be five years this December since his father, Charlie Snr, was found hanged at his home in Dundee just eight months after celebrating his 50th birthday.

"Everyone thinks footballers are these hard-as-nails people but it is not always like that," said Adam. "The problem we had before was that people were scared to speak about it and that’s why it was so difficult. Going back to when I lost my dad, I had a situation where I did suffer for a bit. I spoke to SAMH, the charity, [the Scottish Association for Mental Health] and they really helped me get through it. It was a massive release for me when I went to speak to them. So much pressure came off my shoulders from doing that. They helped my family as well.

"Men in general hate speaking about their feelings. But the more people who speak out, the more people can get help, and that’s great. Footballers, or retired players such as Barry and Bob, are big names in Scotland. If they are willing to come forward and support things to get the message out there then people will take notice."