IT is hard not to like Nicolas Raskin as a player or a person. Indeed, the Rangers support have quickly grown fond of him and he has settled into the Ibrox squad with impressive ease.

The feelings from elsewhere are not always mutual, though. Raskin may only have been in Scottish football for a couple of months, but he has quickly learned the lie of the land here.

The Belgian already has two Old Firm experiences, both of them negative ones, to draw on as he prepares for his next derby a week on Sunday. It must be third time lucky for Raskin.

Before that Hampden showdown, where a Scottish Cup final berth will be on the line, Raskin will get another taste of what life at Rangers is like when Michael Beale's side head to Pittodrie.

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Outside of the Old Firm fixtures, the trips to Aberdeen are arguably the most significant dates on the calendar for Rangers. The league title may be gone, but that doesn't mean that Sunday can be dismissed as Beale's side attempt to build on their win over St Mirren and maintain some momentum before derby day.

Beale was just a couple of weeks into his reign as manager the last time Rangers travelled to the north east. They returned with three points at the end of a remarkable evening as Scott Arfield scored twice in injury time to snatch a victory from Jim Goodwin's side.

It has been all change for the Reds since then. The appointment of Barry Robson has reinvigorated their campaign and Aberdeen are now on course to finish third in the Premiership.

But there are some aspects of this meeting that will never alter no matter the personnel or the circumstances. Raskin is new to the fixture but he knows what to expect at Pittodrie.

"Yes, I heard that they don’t like us," Raskin said when asked about the rivalry with Aberdeen. "But all the teams that play Rangers try to give their best and they try to beat us.

"I have the feeling there is not so many teams that love us. But we are a team that likes to play against adversity like we did last week also."

That situation is not a new one for Raskin. In that sense, his time spent at Standard Liege has helped prepare him for the trials and tribulations at Ibrox.

The 22-year-old has cut an impressive figure during his first months at Rangers. An accomplished, encouraging performer on the park, he is amiable and interesting off it and he has been a welcome addition to the squad in both regards.

Raskin is a central pillar that Beale will mould his midfield and his team around. He is combative but classy and is proving that he has the mental strength to match his technical ability.

"Yes, it was the same," Raskin said of his experiences with Standard compared to Rangers. "In Belgium, the team liked to play against adversity.

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"For me personally it’s always good to play away where the fans don’t like you because you show that you are better and that gives them a bad feeling.

"For me, I like that. It motivates me a lot. We are not worried about that!"

Silencing the Pittodrie crowd and overcoming Robson's side would be another marker for Rangers this term. It will mean little with regards to the title race, but every step in the right direction must be built on as Beale seeks to lay the foundations for the future.

The wins away to Hearts, Livingston and Hibernian were positives at the time. It is Celtic that are the standard-bearers, though, and the defeat at Parkhead was a reminder of where Rangers are and how far they have to go under Beale's guidance.

"No one likes to lose like we did last week," Raskin said. "I felt we were good in the game. We scored two goals and we could have scored more.

The Herald: Liel Abada of Celtic and Nicolas Raskin of Rangers during the Viaplay League Cup Final

"But, yes, it’s always painful to lose. Now we are looking forward and taking it game by game. We know we still have things to do this season."

The first box was ticked on Saturday as St Mirren were overcome. Beating Aberdeen would be another job done and the five post-split fixtures each carry their own resonance for Rangers.

The Scottish Cup stands out, though, and the significance of the semi-final cannot be understated for Beale's side as the Englishman attempts to salvage something from the season and ensure Celtic are not celebrating another Treble heading into the summer.

Raskin will be key to those ambitions. His form and fitness are still being established following his January arrival and Beale spoke on Saturday about how he 'blows up' at times because of the amount of effort he puts into every outing.

"I got injured and I had to stop," Raskin said as he looks to continue moving through the gears heading into the home stretch of the season. "And I’m the kind of player who needs games in my legs to be fully me.

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"I think I can improve this with time and training. But I am feeling good and feeling better and better.

"I think I can get there [this season]. There is nothing else. It’s just about me and training and games. As the time goes on I will be okay.

"I am getting more comfortable. The little break I had because of injury stopped me a bit in terms of building my fitness.

"But I am working on it. I am just trying to enjoy every game and trying to play as good as I can with the other boys and create good connections. I think you can see we are happy to play together. I’m enjoying it a lot."

It was Beale's other January acquisition, Todd Cantwell, that was the standout performer on Saturday as the Man of the Match award followed the opening goal and two assists.

What looked like being a relatively straightforward afternoon for Rangers didn't exactly go to plan. A penalty miss from James Tavernier and two Mark O'Hara efforts ensured this was no run of the mill end of season outing before Alfredo Morelos netted twice in quick succession and Arfield rounded off the scoring.

Beale was naturally pleased with the victory but the manner of the two goals that were conceded clearly irked the Englishman. He described Rangers as 'passive' and 'wasteful' and hinted at a dressing room dressing down at the interval.

St Mirren played their part in an entertaining affair. Rangers will face a far stiffer challenge next weekend, though, and significant improvement must be found before an Old Firm fixture that will define the campaign.

"I’m happy with my performance and as a team we played good football," Raskin said. "We need to be more killer in the final third to kill the game. We also need to avoid conceding goals because they came a bit from nowhere.

"But I think we are getting better. We are trying to create good connections on the ball but we need to be more aggressive without the ball."