AGREEING to defer 50 per cent of their wages for the next three months in order to protect the salaries of non-playing staff at Ibrox will help to bring Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and his squad even closer together as a group.

And the bond that will be forged between Gerrard and his players as a result of their actions during the coronavirus crisis will be evident in their performances on the park when the shutdown is lifted and football restarts later this year.

Those were the predictions of the Glasgow club’s former midfielder Kyle Hutton yesterday as he responded to the news that the likes of Jermain Defoe, Allan McGregor and Alfredo Morelos had accepted reduced pay until July.

Rangers announced on Monday evening that their manager, coaching staff and first team players as well as their executive directors had moved to ensure that no employee “suffered financial hardship” as a result of the pandemic.

Hutton, now playing for part-time Ladbrokes League One outfit Dumbarton, fully expected the gesture as he and his old team mates did exactly the same thing in an attempt to safeguard their colleagues’ positions back in the dark days of 2012.

“I wasn’t at all surprised when I heard what they had done,” he said. “I thought it might have happened. I am sure what they have done will go a long way towards saving jobs and making sure that everybody gets their full pay. It’s great to see.

“People might look at Rangers and think there are big egos in the dressing room and whatever. But it is no different to any other club. Sure, there are high-profile players there and there probably are a few big egos in the dressing room. But they are still human.

“I am sure everybody who works at Rangers will have appreciated Steven Gerrard and his players coming out and agreeing to take wage deferrals.”

Hutton added: “Everybody has always been a tight-knit group at Rangers. From the dinner ladies, to the chefs, to the office staff, everybody has a close bond. It is like a big family. When I was there I probably spent more time at the training ground than I did at home.

“I was out on loan at Dunfermline when we were put into administration, but I was still in contact with the club. Everybody who was out on loan was called back in to the training ground whenever there was a meeting so we could find out what was going to happen and what they were trying to do to save the club.

“Obviously, it was a tough time for everybody. But we were more than happy to do what we had to do as players. When something like that happens it does bring everybody together. It shows everybody is pulling in the same direction when those who are in a more privileged position if you like are willing to make sacrifices for others.”

Ultimately, the pay cuts that Hutton and his Rangers team mates took eight years ago didn’t spare the Ibrox club from its inevitable fate that summer and from dropping down into the bottom tier of Scottish football thereafter – but they did ensure that nobody lost their job.

And the former Scotland Under-21 internationalist, who became a regular in Ally McCoist’s side the following season, believes the ordeal they went through created a connection that proved invaluable as they rose up the leagues.

“It was a bit of a surreal experience playing in the Third Division,” he said. “Day after day new things were coming out. You were hearing all kinds of stories. It was a worrying time for a lot of people at the club. But everybody managed to pull together and got through it. We went down the divisions and then worked our way back up to the top flight where we should be.

“Big Lee McCulloch was the captain and he was great, for me especially. But all of the young boys who were there at the time looked up to him. He kept us all upbeat along with the gaffer.

“I think what we had been through did bring us closer together. There was a lot of noise outside the club about money issues. But the senior players just made sure that we remained focused on the job in hand. At the end of the day, we got back up to the top flight in four seasons.

“I think Rangers will come out the other side of this even closer as a unit. The same will probably be true of other teams in Scotland as well. But I do think it will benefit them in a good way when football finally does resume.”

Rangers, who are 13 points behind leaders Celtic in the Ladbrokes Premiership with a game in hand and nine matches remaining, are keen to see the 2019/20 campaign played to a finish on the park as they can potentially still pip their city rivals to the title.

Hutton, who has agreed to defer his pay at Dumbarton during the shutdown, would like to see James Tavernier and his team mates given the chance to launch a late charge for the trophy, but he admits he can’t see it happening given the seriousness of the current situation.

“Finishing the season would be the best option for everybody,” he said. “We just need to wait and see what happens. But the way it is going just now I don’t think this season will get played to a finish. The health of everybody is the priority.

“Everybody involved in football is keeping themselves fit, but it doesn’t make up for training day in day out and playing matches at the weekend. Players will need time to get their fitness up when training gets the go-ahead.

“I think when football starts back up it will be the start of the new season. I can’t see how else they can work it. I can’t see any plausible scenario where they can keep everybody safe and finish the current season.”