DAVID WEIR wore the armband, but he didn’t have to lead alone.

The honour of being Rangers captain and the responsibility that comes with it were his. He could share some of the burden with those around him, though.

Whether it was Allan McGregor Barry Ferguson, Steven Davis or Kevin Thomson, Weir was surrounded by players that knew what was expected of them at Ibrox, and how to deliver in Light Blue.

When Steven Gerrard started rebuilding the Gers squad he inherited in the summer, adding character was as important as adding quality.

Even still, that nous, that know-how when it really matters is still lacking in some areas. That experience can only come with time.

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“Obviously Allan McGregor has been there and done it, Steven Davis has come in, Kyle (Lafferty) has been involved,” Weir, who won eight honours during his Ibrox playing career, said. “There are two or three from a previous time but as a group they haven’t really won any trophies.

“That is learning. People always say the first one is the hardest but I think we always found the second one was the hardest. Walter used to always say that repeating a success, doing it again, was always harder, but that first one for Rangers seems as if it’s going to be really difficult for Rangers, not having the knowledge like Celtic undoubtedly do.

“Their squad is full of players who have been course and distance and done it. They’ll take confidence from that. There is then a big incentive for Rangers to change that.

“Allan McGregor definitely is and James Tavernier is learning to be a leader. He’s definitely developing that and being captain of Rangers is not an easy thing and I think he is adjusting to it and becoming that type of player.

“I think Andy Halliday has those characteristics. He understands the club, the history, what is required and I think he’ll pass that on.

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“Ryan Jack and Scott Arfield, guys that have been round the block a bit and have a knowledge of the situation and what is required and have played at a decent level.

“There are players there that can help out by passing on knowledge.”

For those that are new to Rangers, the events of recent months will have been an eye-opening experience.

When results and performances are produced, the praise rightly follows. But the reverse, both in terms of the scrutiny and the criticism, can take some adjusting to.

“I think constantly when you are at the stage it is like Rangers in the title race,” Weir said. “When you have a bad game, or lose a couple, then people say you are out of the title race.

“It is the same as a senior player, when you are 36, 37, 38, 39 or whatever it may be, you know after one or two bad games, people will be writing you off so you know you have to be one it every single game.

“You know you can’t take shortcuts, you can’t skip steps, you have to be the best prepared you can be and fully concentrated on the pitch because you know if you have a bad game or make a mistake it is the end of your career, the end of the world in some people’s eyes.

“When you are 23 that wasn’t the case. It is exactly the same situation; you have to be focussed and do it or realise there is going to be an increased level of criticism and a lot more conclusions from it.”

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When Weir arrived at Ibrox in 2007, he was seen as a stop-gap, a short-term fix to a defensive issue.

His efforts way outstripped the early expectations as Rangers enjoyed huge success. Now, he looks on at a changed landscape in our game.

“As you get older I definitely think you feel the pressure more,” he said.

“Especially in Glasgow with the lads that understand the situation and know what it means with Celtic pushing for 10-in-a-row, eight-in-a-row, or whatever.

“It comes with it, that pressure and especially as you get older you think more about it, or in my experience I thought more about it.

“If you are younger you go and enjoy it and go and play and don’t have the baggage you do have when you are older and have been through bad times and know what it is like not to win a league or have the opposition being successful. These things weigh on your mind and you try to use them as motivation to be successful.”

Those that cannot handle the pressure or deal with the spotlight are ultimately of no use to Rangers.

Weir knows that better than most and the current crop must prove their worth in Light Blue this term.

“I think it is a personal thing; you have to be mentally strong,” he said. “That goes with the territory playing for Rangers or Celtic. No matter how good a player you are, if you can’t deal with that, with the expectations, then it becomes a real struggle and it can weigh you down.

“We’ve all seen loads of players who have come up here and we know are really talented and have done well in other leagues but the actual intensity and scrutiny and pressure you are under, can put some players under. It is something you either adjust to, or get used to. I would never say you actually get to the stage you actually like it, you just see it as the terrain and you survive through it.”