DON’T try to tell Mark Hateley how demanding it will be for Rangers to compete in the Europa League, Premiership and Scottish Cup in the remaining weeks of the 2021/22 season.

And certainly don’t suggest that Giovanni van Bronckhorst should consider fielding a weakened side in the Scottish Cup quarter-final against Dundee at Dens Park this afternoon within earshot of the Nine-In-A-Row great.

For Hateley, the Ibrox club must go all out for victory in every competition they are involved in.

The Scottish champions’ progress to the last 16 of the Europa League in their 150th anniversary season has delighted their legions of loyal followers.

But there are concerns the energy-sapping and mentally-draining encounters with Red Star Belgrade – and their matches thereafter should they progress to the quarter-finals in Serbia on Thursday night - could have a negative impact on their bid to win their domestic league.

When the Ibrox club reached the UEFA Cup final in Manchester back in 2008 it proved disastrous on the home front; they had to play their final three Premier League games in the space of six days, lost their slender lead and finished three points behind Celtic.

And their matches against Borussia Dortmund in the knockout round play-off last month were followed by costly draws and dropped points against Dundee United away and Motherwell at home.

The team that lifts the Premiership trophy come May is almost certain to be handed a place in the group stages of the Champions League next season – a prize that will be worth in the region of £40m to a club that posted a loss of £23.5m in the last financial year.

But former Rangers striker Hateley feels, unlike a fair few of his fellow fans, that there is no need for manager Van Bronckhorst to prioritise the Premiership and rest key personnel on Tayside today.

He was a member of a legendary Walter Smith side that went 10 matches undefeated in Europe’s premier club competition and came within 90 minutes of reaching the final in the 1992/93 campaign. Did that run hinder their pursuit of Scottish silverware? No, they completed a treble. 

“Winning the league is massive this season with the Champions League spot and the money that brings on offer,” he said at a Premier Sports promotion earlier this week.

“But as a club you can’t put your eggs in one basket. Rangers have the league, cup and Europa League to win this season. The fans demand you do well in every competition and win the league. That’s the way it has always been and that’s the way it is.

“There are no grey areas, you have to look to win every competition you enter at Rangers. They have to go all out for everything and you always play your strongest team in every game for the rest of the season.

“It doesn’t matter if it is the cup, the league or Europe, they should play their best team and see what happens.”

Hateley added: “In the history of Rangers it’s all about trophies. They have won 55 titles, countless cups, a European trophy, that’s what the club is built on and the fans expect. The supporters want the club to win cups and that’s what they should be doing.

“In the last 10 years they have made one League Cup final and Scottish Cup final.  The club and fans expect to be in finals every year. In my time if we didn’t have two trophies at the end of the season your job was in jeopardy, it was that simple. We had to put trophies in the cabinet, that was our job.”

Hateley counted Andy Goram, Richard Gough, Trevor Steven, Pieter Huistra, Stuart McCall, Alexei Mikhailichenko, Ian Durrant, John Brown and Ally McCoist among his team mates in the 1992/93 season.

None of them were found wanting in any department when important games against the likes of Aberdeen, Celtic, Marseille, CSKA Moscow and Club Brugge were coming thick and fast.

But he has sensed exactly the same togetherness and desire among James Tavernier and his team mates in the games against tournament favourites Borussia Dortmund in the knockout round play-off and is hopeful the current side can match their achievements.

“It was down to the characters we had in the team back then,” he said. “There were strong characters in all departments and when you have that you have a chance of success. But you need everyone to come to the party.

“Rangers had that in the Dortmund games and the Red Star game; Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo, Calvin Bassey, Allan McGregor, Alfredo Morelos. All the key components played well.

“If all your best players play well you have a chance, if two or three don’t at that level or this time of the season, it is difficult. You end up huffing and puffing. You have to be brave and take everything that’s thrown at you. We had players who could handle all that.

“For me, it was more games the better. When I played for Rangers I think the average number of games was something like 60 games a season. Back then we had a squad of 16 or 17 senior players who were achieving that. It’s different now though.”

Hateley feels, despite the costly mistakes that Allan McGregor has made in the league this term and the calls for Jon McLaughlin to be given a chance to show what he is capable of, Van Bronckhorst will have no need to replace his 40-year-old goalkeeper in the coming weeks.

“Every great team has a great keeper,” he said. “Allan’s name is now mentioned in the same sentence as Andy Goram and that speaks volumes for him. He makes incredible saves in big games and he has shown that in the European games this season.

“Last year was unique and it was a purple patch, they kept so many clean sheets and everything went right for them. That won’t ever happen again (Rangers went undefeated in all 38 of their Premiership games) but at big clubs you are always measured by the previous season.

“Strong players, and Allan is one of them with a strong mind as goalies normally are, will always represent the club with the best of his ability. He is still doing it this season. Do people look at him being 40 and look too much at his age? I think so.

“You have the sports scientists now and if he wasn’t in top form they would know about it. He’s obviously physically in good shape to play the number of games he has. Otherwise he wouldn’t be the club’s No1. He’s fit, strong, and he is still good for the team and he’s someone who is always striving for more.”