Alex Rae knows a thing or two about being an uncompromising component of a team with a steely spine, with his tough-tackling and all-action style of play a major factor in the success of Alex McLeish’s Rangers side of the early noughties.

Behind him in defence he had Jean-Alain Boumsong, and up front, there was Dado Prso, ensuring strength right through the centre of the team.

In recent years, he feels that Rangers have been lacking that steeliness throughout their core, and he told Pedro Caixinha himself that it was imperative he addressed Rangers’ soft centre.

Read more: Alex Rae: Rangers winning mentality has been diluted, they should never settle for second behind CelticGlasgow Times: Bruno Alves

Rae is heartened then by the early summer transfer window business conducted by the Portuguese, with Bruno Alves and Ryan Jack already in place, and Carlos Pena, Fabio Cardoso, Dalcio and Eduardo Herrera soon to follow.

He believes that the attributes of these players will help to toughen Rangers up throughout the centre of the park, and he is delighted that Caixinha is heeding his advice.

“When I went in for the number three job, Pedro asked me my take on things,” said Rae. “I felt that right through the spine of the team they needed a wee bit of steel.

“They have brought Bruno Alves in, they look as if they will bring in Cardoso too, and it looks like Carlos Pena will come in to compliment Ryan Jack in midfield.

“It looks as though Pedro has picked up on what a lot of people have been saying.

“Rangers had a nice passing ethos, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but the amount of times they went on the road last year and dropped points wasn’t acceptable.

“With the greatest of respect to the other teams, when you go away from home with Rangers you can actually still play your attacking brand of football.

“But when you go to Tynecastle, Pittodrie, Celtic Park and Easter Road next season too, you have really got to roll your sleeves up and you’ve got to have the personnel that can do that.

Read more: Alex Rae: Rangers winning mentality has been diluted, they should never settle for second behind Celtic

“He’s had a couple of months to get used to his surroundings, and he has took on board a lot of information, and he’s identified these issues.

“It looks as though the board are starting to find some money to support his tenure at the club, and help him to achieve the aim of strengthening the spine of the team.”

Rae is pleased that Rangers look to be conducting their transfer business as early as possible, with the Europa League qualifying rounds looming already.

Rangers returned to training yesterday in preparation for that challenge, and he hopes that the new recruits have enough time to wrap their heads around the demands of playing for Rangers and what that means.

If he has any reservations, it is that with a high percentage of Caixinha’s new signings likely to be foreign, they may be in for a culture shock when they arrive at Ibrox.

“They have to hit the ground running, and it looks as though they are trying to do their business very early to give them the best chance,” he said.

“With foreign players though it is always a gamble to see how they will adapt to the Scottish game.

“Even for provincial players here, you have seen over the years some really good players just unable to hack it when they make the step up to a club like Rangers.

“The magnitude of playing for that jersey, the media scrutiny and the pressure is something else.

Read more: Alex Rae: Rangers winning mentality has been diluted, they should never settle for second behind Celtic

“It takes a certain type to handle that. I had a similar experience myself when I came back from playing with Wolves in the English Premiership as it was at the time.

“I was playing primarily as a ball-winner for them, but when you come to Rangers, all of a sudden you have to become an out-and-out midfield maestro. You have to get on the ball and you have to dictate play, so it’s a totally different dynamic altogether.

“Pedro knows these guys and has worked with some of them, but there will always be a question mark over what essentially might be a team of foreigners.

“When Alex McLeish signed me in 2004, he said to me that they hadn’t beaten Celtic, so he needed people in the changing room that know what Rangers are about. That was his words, that he needed some guys who knew what all this meant to people.

“What was interesting though was that the likes of Boumsong and big Dado came in at the same time, and they really bought into what the club was about and the ethos of it.

“It might sound simple, but they learnt a couple of the classic Rangers songs very early on, and if you can get a local guy into these boys early on and they get what the club is all about, it really helps.

“When I arrived at Rangers they gave us a leather binder with the history of the club and a DVD to go with it, and it really gave you a sense of what the club was all about and the traditions of the club.

“It was absolutely brilliant and I hope they still do that. It really got you fired up.”