ALEX MCLEISH may or may not be in the running for the manager’s position at Rangers come the end of the season, but he has already pointed the way to success for the Ibrox side in terms of their recruitment.

The former Rangers boss met with club chiefs for an informal discussion about the role prior to interim manager Graeme Murty being handed the reins until the end of the season. While that ultimately didn’t lead to him being offered the position, he is glad that some of the advice he gave to his old club seems to have sunk in, and is being heeded during the January transfer window.

After watching a succession of foreign imports arrive at Ibrox last summer under the instruction of Pedro Caixinha, McLeish was adamant that the club’s recruitment moving forward had to factor in players who knew what the Ibrox club, and Scottish football, were all about. believing that balance to be critical in order to complement talented imports like Alfredo Morelos and Daniel Candeias. His overriding message? Buy British.

Read more: Alex McLeish: Rangers should forget about stopping 10 in a row, and aim for title next season

“When I went in and had an initial chat with Rangers – it wasn’t an interview as such, it was just a wee chat to see what they were thinking – I did explain to them that they had to get players who had that kind of desire and fight, and knew what it was to be a Rangers player,” McLeish said.

“That may sound old-fashioned, but it’s about mentality when you play for Rangers. That’s the key to it, and I think that Graeme has been reasonably shrewd. The biggest key to management and coaching is recruitment.

“When I saw Pedro Caixinha bringing in all the foreign guys and the unknowns, I thought that it was going to end in tears. I was absolutely correct, because I’ve got all that experience.

“I was with Arthur Numan recently at a function, and Arthur was very, very passionate about his introduction to Rangers. Guys in the dressing room like Ian Ferguson saying; ‘you foreign guys don’t know what it’s all about here’, and he gave Arthur and the other guys a real rollicking. Arthur said that really registered with them.

“So, if you can get the foreign guys coming with a British attitude, then you have got a fantastic, potent player in that dressing room. At the same time, if you bring in quality homegrown guys, then equally, I think that makes sense.

“I think Graeme Murty has done some good business in terms of his transfer dealings, particularly in getting guys from the British game as opposed to unknown foreigners. That is pretty key for Rangers.

“I really do think that he is geared up really well. He has used a lot of common sense in terms of his acquisitions.”

McLeish feels that the signing of Scotland internationalist Russell Martin in the heart of defence will be a particularly key addition to the Rangers squad.

“It’s about mentality, it’s about leadership,” he said. “Russell Martin is a superb individual and a brilliant professional, and he will bring a huge amount to that dressing room.

Read more: Rangers in second bid for Hamilton Accies midfielder Greg Docherty

“When I was toiling a wee bit at Motherwell and we were losing goals, I brought in a really experienced defender from England in Rob Newman. He was at the end of his career, and was kind of top heavy with skinny legs, but what a reader of the game he was, and what a difference he made.

“For me, Russell Martin will be an absolutely excellent addition to the Rangers squad, without a doubt.”

As Martin checked in a loan deal from Norwich City though, McLeish was sad to see one of his Carrow Road teammates wind up in Edinburgh at Hearts, rather than making a sensational return to Rangers.

“I was disappointed that they didn’t get Steven Naismith,” he said. “I believe they should have pulled out the stops to get wee Naisy, I think he’s a great player.

“Ok, he’s coming to the end of his career, but in Scotland, I think he could excel.”

Murty’s side will be in action for the first time since the winter break as they host Aberdeen at Ibrox tomorrow night, after their Scottish Cup fourth round tie at Fraserburgh was called off at the weekend.

It will be the first chance for the Rangers support to see some of their new signings in action, but McLeish thinks that there won’t be too many changes made as new faces are bled into the team slowly. With so much at stake in the race for second place, and also for Murty’s own long-term prospects as manager, he thinks that Rangers will go for the tried and trusted.

“Matches like these are so important for Graeme,” he said. “I’ve worked with him before, we had him in a few Scotland squads, and he is a good lad.

“He will probably go with what he’s gone with, and then feed in one or two that have come into the club in the window.

“If Graeme gets good results in games like these, then there’s no reason on earth why Rangers should look beyond the Graeme Murty factor.”