Steven Naismith claims Craig Whyte and the Rangers higher-ups tried to bully players into signing new deals following their slump into administration in 2012.

The former Gers star has opened up on the tumultuous time at Ibrox when players began to consider their future at the club amid their financial turmoil and eventual drop into the Third Division. Naismith claims chiefs attempted to force their hands during discussions, an issue that irked the Scotland cap.

He also revealed that a number of high-profile Light Blues stars stood up for the players at that time. "It was surreal, at the start," Naismith told The Lockdown Tactics podcast. "I had just had a bad knee injury in October time and everything started to unravel in the January. 

"It was surreal that this club had been so successful, yes players had come and gone, but you never really expected it to be the way it was. Then it got to the point where it was as if they knew what was happening, but they'd come in one morning and be like, 'We need an answer right now, what's happening?'

"So I personally didn't like the position they were putting us in, in terms of trying to push you and bully you into giving an answer that you didn't really want. There was a group of us, Greegsy [Allan McGregor], myself, Davo [Steven Davis], Jig [Lee McCulloch] that kind of would stand up and say that's not good enough. 

"You're a footballer trying to play the game but for 80 percent of the week we were talking to administrators and the board or whoever was employed by the club to talk about everything but football. It was a terrible time."

Naismith also explained how players would only work twice a week on the training pitch amid the off-field issues, which ultimately cost them the Scottish Premiership title to Celtic - who overcame a massive points difference to win the league.

He added: "In January when it all kicked off it was all, 'We're going to do X, Y and Z to get the club on a good footing. Nothing will change, we'll move forward and everything will be plain sailing come the summer'. We were 15 points clear at the top of the league at the time and after the admin, as soon as that happened, the boys would train twice a week. 

"Then you'd go to a Saturday game and the results nose-dived. It got worse and worse, honestly."