They say you should never go back, particularly to a place that you didn’t exactly leave on the best of terms. But former Rangers attacker Steven Naismith doesn’t subscribe to that particular theory, and the chances of him making a sensational return to Ibrox may not now seem as far-fetched as they once did.

And how they could use a player of his quality and experience. He is far too modest to say it, but you can sense when he is speaking about his old stomping ground that Naismith himself believes he could make a huge difference for a Rangers team that he feels are lacking in the on-field leadership of the type he encountered as a player there.

The loss to St Johnstone on Saturday was their fourth home defeat of the campaign, and Naismith reckons that Rangers need players who have the mentality to stand up to the demands of a packed, expectant Ibrox, and be counted.

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“In some parts you watch them, and you think that they have been really good,” said Naismith, who still keeps a close eye on happenings at Ibrox as a supporter.

“The Hearts game, the two Aberdeen games, those are tough, tough games and they came through them and showed a resilience.

“But I remember when I was there, guys like Barry Ferguson, Davie Weir, even Durranty [Ian Durrant] and John Brown would be telling us that those aren’t the games that win you titles.

“It’s the home games where everyone expects you to batter teams and win that are the toughest, and dealing with the crowd when things aren’t going well.

“That’s what they are really lacking at the moment, having that knowledge of how to see out a game at home.

“At any team that is challenging, a demanding crowd is the norm. When I was at Everton and we played against teams you were expected to beat, if it was half-time and you hadn’t really created a chance, then the fans weren’t happy.

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“That’s football, but you need to understand what the game-plan is, and you need to understand that sustaining attacks is the one thing that is crucial when any team is on top.

“Sometimes that’s what wins you games, that sustained attack, because you know somebody will eventually switch off.

“That’s what you need to do. In the team that I was in at Rangers, Steven Davis was brilliant at it, knowing when to pick the right pass, when to force a pass or just keep the opponent in their own half.

“Barry Ferguson when I first went there, the amount of games that he dragged us through was unbelievable. It’s having that, not just having great feet or unbelievable delivery or anything like that.

“You’re there for a reason, you’ve got good ability, it’s the other side of it. Seeing out games when you’ve got a lead, and if you need to get a goal, it’s being patient enough to know that your chance will come.”

Naismith does have a link to the current, albeit temporary, management team at Rangers. Graeme Murty was a coach at Norwich before he made the move north, and Naismith has been impressed by the way his former colleague has risen to such a challenge in trying circumstances.

He believes though that the Rangers board are right to take their time over putting a permanent manager in place, with the next appointment critical to the future direction of the club.

Read more: Rangers return call would be hard to ignore for Steven Naismith

“It’s hard for Murts,” he said. “He was at Norwich before, so I’ve had some dealings with Murts, and he is a great coach. It’s a very difficult situation for him.

“He’s done great in terms of dealing with it all, and it’s hard for everyone involved.

“I think they need to make the right appointment, and when that time is right, they will make it. That’s all they can do, it’s not for me to say he should get it until the end of the season.

“The club just needs to move forward, and whatever way forward that is, whether it’s with him in charge or if they find a suitable candidate to take over.”

Whether Naismith is to rejoin Rangers with his next move or go elsewhere, he is keen to stress that at the age of 31, he has no intentions of simply letting his career wind down, despite harbouring ambitions of management once he hangs up his boots.

But in this transitional period of his career – he is currently taking his coaching badges – he explained that he will be looking to bring more than just his playing ability to his next club.

“Every day, I can guarantee you that I’ll be talking to one of the younger players and telling them to do this or think about this, because I understand,” he said.

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“My biggest fault when I was younger was that I was too keen to work hard and run about everywhere, when a lot of players don’t need to. You just need to be in the right place and make the most of your opportunity.

“With my knowledge, I am passionate about passing that on, because I was grateful when I was younger when guys would give me the time of day.

“I remember Garry Hay actually said one day that the best thing about me was that I asked questions, and I did.

“I didn’t care if it was stupid or not, I just asked it, ‘why are we doing this?’ It helped me so much.

“Nowadays, kids don’t want to ask, because they feel a bit embarrassed to do it. In a way, I can understand how they feel, but I’ll be forthcoming and telling them whether they want it or not!

“If they take it on board then they take it on board, and if not, then it’s up to them.”

*Steven was speaking as he backed Loaves & Fishes, a charity working in Glasgow, North and South Lanarkshire to provide meals, food parcels, clothes and toiletries for those in need.

For more information, to make a donation or to volunteer with Loaves & Fishes please visit