MARK Hateley insists John Brown was right to deliver his stinging rebuke to Rangers’ under-performing players.
Former Ibrox striker Hateley played in the same team as Brown which went on to claim nine successive titles.
But those heady days of Paul Gascoigne and Brian Laudrup seem a long time ago as the Light Blues struggle to fight their way back to the top of Scottish football.
The 2-0 Tynecastle defeat to Hearts last week leaves Ally McCoist’s side nine points adrift of the Jambos in the Championship title race.
McCoist bore the brunt of the fans’ frustrations during that Gorgie loss, but Brown said last week that it was the likes of skipper Lee McCulloch and strikers Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller who should be hanging their heads as he blasted their “disgraceful” and “shocking” displays.
And Hateley - an Ibrox ambassador - believes his former team-mate was right to speak out if he felt it might inspire the current crop of Gers to up their game.
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The ex-England international said: “Expectations at the Old Firm are high. Whatever competition you are playing in, you need to win. Anything less is not acceptable.
“Players who come in to this environment need to appreciate what those expectations are.
“John has voiced his opinion last week, but he played in a side which had 11 guys all with the same mentality - win at all cost.
“Sometimes it is good to listen to successful senior players at the club. Ally can use it as part of his team-talk, which a lot of managers do.
“There will always be criticism of certain players but it is how they react to that. Good players normally have a good reaction, and that’s what you want.
“I played in a great game against Leeds United after getting loads of criticism from the English press. They said we had no chance of beating them.
“But our team-talk for that game was not a team-talk - it was just all those press cuttings which were put on the wall. We got the reaction that day that you would want to get.
“As a manager you look to every avenue that you can to motivate your team. John’s came out with his opinion but if you look at Sunday’s result, then maybe it got the reaction Ally was looking for.”
During his days as Walter Smith’s battering-ram centre-forward, Hateley formed a lethal partnership with McCoist.
But the current Ibrox strike force of Miller and Boyd has struggled to reignite the spark which the duo shared during their previous spell with the club.
Since returning to Ibrox in the summer, Boyd has struck nine times but just two of those goals have come in league duty.
The former Scotland frontman was benched for that Hearts defeat as well as Sunday’s William Hill Scottish Cup win over Kilmarnock - but climbed off the bench to net in the Light Blues’ 3-0 Ibrox win.
Hateley, though, does not believe McCoist should be in a hurry to reinstate Boyd to his starting line-up.
“It was a nice moment for Kris,” he said. “He’s now got 15 goals in 16 games against Kilmarnock but I think he is now realising it’s not all about goals.
“He’s not a young boy any more. He’s 31 and knows that it is performances that keep you in the side.
“He knows what he has to do. He has to work hard and from that, goals will come. We know he can score goals but it is the other side of the game he needs to work hard on.
“Maybe a little bit of time out of the side will do him good. He can sit back and have a look at what’s going on.”
Raith Rovers tie ‘good for everybody’
Rangers’ reward for beating Killie is a home tie against fellow Championship side Raith Rovers in the last 16 on either February 7 or 8.
But having also beaten Premiership sides Inverness and St Johnstone this term, Hateley admits Gers may have preferred another crack at top-flight opposition.
“The guys probably would have wanted a Premiership side after their performances this year,” said the 53-year-old.
“The games we have played against teams from the top-flight this season have probably been our best display this season.
“But on the flip side, Raith Rovers away was another highlight, so all in all a home draw against a side in our league is good for everybody.”
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