MARK Hateley has tipped Rangers strike duo Nicky Clark and Jon Daly to plunder more goals in the SPFL Championship - despite Hibs dropping down to the second tier.

Legendary Gers hitman Hateley was encouraged by the partnership that Clark and Daly struck up in League One last season.

The pair netted over 30 times between them as Ally McCoist's side completed the second stage of their journey back to the top without losing a single game.

The Ibrox club will find it difficult to repeat that achievement in the 2014/15 campaign given the quality of the opposition they will face.

Hibs, who lost the Premiership play-off on penalties at Easter Road on Sunday, will join clubs including Falkirk, Hearts, Livingston and Raith Rovers in the division.

But ex-England international Hateley reckons coming up against full-time teams may suit the frontmen more.

He said: "It has been difficult for Jon Daly to play at the level that he has been this season because there has been so little space.

"When teams set up to defend, as many teams in League One did last season, it can be very difficult for a striker to play against.

"I think both Jon and Nicky will be looking forward to playing in the Championship as there will be more space for them to work with."

Hateley also feels the players who arrived at Ibrox last summer will be better equipped to deal with the demands of being a Rangers player next season.

Despite having played for AC Milan in Italy and AS Monaco in France, it took time for the forward to find his feet in Glasgow after signing in 1990.

He cemented his place in the hearts of the Light Blues support though when he scored two goals in a final-day title decider against Aberdeen at Ibrox.

Hateley knows it can take time to get to grips with being a player for the Glasgow giants - and is confident the likes of Clark, Daly and Nicky Law will be better next term.

He said: "My problem when I joined was that I hadn't kicked a ball for two years.

"I had been living in the gym and had to get match fit. That was the difficulty for me.

"That season was my worst return at Rangers. I only scored 19 goals. But I scored twice in the last league game against Aberdeen. That took me to a whole new level.

"That helped to get the fans on my side and that makes your life a lot, lot easier.

"But it can take time to settle at Rangers. I am sure the players who came in last summer will be better prepared to deal with things next season."