Winning is the only option. Steven Naismith, quiet and almost unassuming, is a footballer driven by powerful forces. The Rangers player has a dread of defeat.
This spectre lived within him on the streets of Stewarton in Ayrshire as a boy. This fear was given an edge when he arrived at Rangers in 2007 in a £2million move from Kilmarnock.
The blond forward had been a star at Rugby Park. He was introduced to a new reality at Ibrox.
''The harsh fact was that people expected more from me,'' admitted Naismith, who admitted his career at the club he supported as a boy had a stuttering start.
''The process for me was to adapt to what people rightly demanded of me. It was tough, but it was necessary.''
Naismith vividly remembers one early encounter with Walter Smith, who signed the forward who would go on to play for his country.
''He said something to me that was bang on the money. He told me that when I was at Kilmarnock that I would play every game, but at Rangers there were no guarantees.
''He took me off in a game at Inverness at half-time. He told me that I was not playing badly so I asked him why I had been substituted. He was blunt and told me that having a decent game was not enough at Rangers.
''We need to win here, he said, and you need to play at the top of your game in every game. The manager said I had not been doing that on that afternoon so I had to come off. He told me he just had to change the team. A draw was not enough and losing was not an option.''
This experience has lived on with Naismith. ''I knew then that I had to adjust. I had to step up if I wanted to play for Rangers. It maybe took me longer than I thought it would.''
Naismith, now 25, has established himself as a top player at Rangers. His skills are coveted by clubs in England and the continent, but the boy who played in the streets of Ayrshire harbours no burning desire to move from a club he loves.
''I grew up a Rangers fan. The gaffer is a legend, too, Durranty is a legend,'' he said of the management duo at Rangers. But it was not just McCoist and Ian Durrant that Naismith admired.
''The Laudrups, the Gascoignes, I loved them. Those guys were amazing. My favourite player was Ronald De Boer.''
Naismith, unassuming and modest, admitted quietly that he wants the chance to play his way into the club's history.
He already has three league titles, a Scottish Cup winner's medal and two league cup victories on his CV.
''I know I have a long way to go. I need to progress, I know that. But I have the chance to do everything at Rangers.''
There is no complacency in this. Naismith knows to his cost that a footballer's career can be hampered by injury, hobbled by a loss of form.
He has suffered two major cruciate ligament injuries. The first in 2008, the second in October in a match against Aberdeen. His rehab is going well and he has spent time and money sponsoring the Loaves and Fishes dinner for the homeless in Glasgow last week.
If his knee will not be ready for the rigours of top-level football until next season, his mind and will remain resolute.
He is determined to come back stronger and regain the form that made him a starter for Scotland and an influential player for his club. ''I have shown in the last two years I can hack it at this level,'' said Naismith, who is aware that there were doubters about his progress after his move from Kilmarnock.
He declared: ''The last two years of my career have been the best. I have been very involved at Rangers and have won trophies.
"I have scored goals, played international football. I would not say I have a burning desire to do anything further.''
The last sentiment is a nod to those who insist he will move from Rangers. Naismith is more than content at the club and says his happiness will be the determining factor when he considers a career choice. He has a long-term girlfriend, and says: ''I keep my family close.'' His dad is a social worker and his mum works in a supermarket.
It all seems to add up to a relaxed lifestyle. But the beast of fear lurks when Naismith steps on to a pitch.
He admitted his injury in the Scottish Cup semi-final final against St Johnstone in 2008 made him anxious: "It was the hardest time. I kept asking myself: 'Am I good enough. Am I good enough to ride this four or five-year contract and then will I end up playing for a Championship team?'
"I even thought that I could fail there and come back to Scotland and wither away. That was all going through my mind.''
That fear has been banished. ''I now believe I am good enough. I have shown I am good enough.''
But another fear remains. ''I never want to fail. I am really determined. That drives me through the times when there are doubts,'' he said.
Fear is the key - but Naismith is ready to open the door to glory.