IT is one thing playing against Rangers. It is quite another to play for Rangers.

Life in Light Blue is a unique experience and the tightrope walk between success and failure is one that many can’t handle.

Physical strengths and tactical nous only get you so far at Ibrox. Without natural ability and a mental resolve, the dream can quickly become a nightmare.

The challenge is one that many haven’t risen to in recent years as a host of players have arrived but failed to live up to the demands of an expectant fan base.

Read more: Derek Johnstone: Aberdeen defeat summed up the season for Rangers but it will soon be time to look forward at IbroxEvening Times: Rangers legend Mark Hateley joins pupils from Ibrox and Craigton Primary School at a Show Racism the Red Card workshop

In the coming weeks, the next crop of Gers hopefuls will set out on the road to glory or take their first steps down a path to failure as boss Pedro Caixinha overhauls his squad for his first full campaign in charge.

And Light Blue legend Mark Hateley knows the character of every recruit will be put to the test once they sign on the dotted line at Ibrox.

He said: "I've seen some world class players come to Rangers and crash and burn. It's all about being able to handle games. Every game is a big game here.

“Every game is a Cup Final and it's dealing with that. Physically, it’s not a problem, it is the mental side of it.

“I think European players deal with that side of it better than home grown players. I don't know why that is. But having played in Europe for six years myself, no games seemed to fluster the European player. If that what it takes to get Rangers challenging for a title, not challenging for second, then that's what we need.

“All the better players get stick and you use that as fuel.

“The more I used to get booed, the better I used to play, the harder I used to try, the further the sleeves used to get rolled up, the harder the tackles used to come. That mentality is what I am talking about - you have to have that.”

Rangers will round off a miserable campaign at St Johnstone on Sunday before Caixinha can fully turn his attentions to a crucial summer and the Gers’ return to the Europa League.

The Light Blues were never in the Premiership flag race this term and the battle to be best of the rest has also been lost as Aberdeen have clinched second spot.

The Dons have continually built on solid foundations as they have become Celtic’s main contenders in the top flight over the last three seasons.

And Hateley hopes a similar period of stability at Ibrox will allow Caixinha to lay the foundations for a title challenge once again.

He said: "It will be tough for Derek to keep that group of players together in the summer because a lot of players will have been identified by so-called bigger clubs down in England. That comes with success.

"Aberdeen have a settled squad and that has helped with continuity.

“Derek's team have got stronger than it was last year. They have a nice understanding between the players.

“At Rangers, there has been a lot of chop and change, which hasn't been ideal and I think there will be changes again during the summer.

“Aberdeen are reaping the benefits of being together. There's a lot to be said about trying to keep a team together. Hopefully, Rangers will follow that and bring a period of stability now with the manager.”

The task ahead for Caixinha is a considerable one as he looks to revamp a squad that has underachieved and underperformed this term and turn them from third-rate into Premiership challengers.

There is an understanding amongst the Ibrox crowd about where Rangers are at present as they continue on the road to recovery.

But Hateley knows the thirst for success will remain unquenched if Caixinha doesn’t recruit wisely during a crucial close season on and off the park.

He said: "It's always about doing the best you can. When I came here I was always told to win every game and it should be no different now. It's what you need to do when you are at the big clubs.

“You have to bring characters in who can deal with that pressure and that's what Pedro would have seen by now after the assessment of his players.

“He will have learned a lot from the Old Firm game. The mentality and the aftermath of that game.

“He has seen now what you need to see. He came here knowing it was a big club, but the demands on the players here are second to none. And that's what he will be hopefully bring to the club in the summer."