When you’re fighting on a variety of fronts, you need to stand up and be counted.

The Rangers players are girding their loins for a rigorous programme both at home and abroad and, with a schedule that will be busier than a socialite’s diary, Kevin Thomson has issued a ‘no excuses’ rallying cry as the Ibrox men prepare to dive back into battle.

Steven Gerrard’s side return to Ladbrokes Premiership action this weekend with a home encounter against bottom-of-the-table Dundee before getting the group stages of the Europa league underway next Thursday with a trip to Spanish side Villarreal.

It will be pretty much full on from there with domestic duties and European escapades offering little room to draw breath.

Thomson, who is back with his old club as an academy coach, was part of the Rangers team that made it to the 2008 UEFA Cup final under Walter Smith and the 33-year-old has urged the current crop to embrace the various challenges of a hectic stretch of events and savour the cut-and thrust.

“To think that the schedule is going to be difficult, that’s a lame excuse,” said Thomson. “If you want to be at this club, you need to be fighting on all fronts.

“That’s not to say they are going to win them all but being successful brings a busy schedule. If you ask any player if they’d rather have a busy schedule and the chance to be successful in all competitions, I’m sure they’d all want that. I don’t think you’ll ever hear the manager using the excuse of players being tired.”

Reflecting on the physical and mental exertions of his own quest for glory with Rangers a decade ago, Thomson added: “There was no denying that you were tired. At one point I think we played four games in eight days which was disappointing in the face of having to go through that and not having more help from the SFA.

“But I don’t think any players complained about being tired. We didn’t lose the UEFA Cup Final because we were tired. We never lost the league because we were tired.

“We lost them because in the end we fell a wee bit short. Would I go through it all again? It’s the best year of your life. I don’t think any of these players would be disappointed if they got as far as the UEFA Cup Final and come the summer felt a bit tired.”

Rangers suffered their first real setback of the Gerrard regime when they were put to the sword by old foes Celtic in the opening meeting of the two sides earlier this month.

The international break has meant the disappointment of that sobering defeat will probably still be lingering as the Rangers players have had a prolonged period to stew in their own juices.

In this game, a robust response to a reversal is a necessary requirement. From the fairly grisly depths of last season, the bar has been raised under Gerrard’s tenure and Thomson is well aware that the reaction to that Celtic mishap needs to be swift.

“You have to bounce back at this club, that’s fundamental,” added Thomson. “There’s no denying that Celtic are capable of going on a big run so Rangers need to try and hold onto their coattails for as long as possible.

“After a defeat, sometimes it’s difficult when there’s an international break as you want to get straight back on the training pitch and make things right.

“The manager will know that come Christmas time they need to be there or thereabouts if they are going to have an opportunity to be successful this year.”

The successes Rangers enjoyed under Smith provide a formidable benchmark. Gerrard is in the midst of a work in progress but Thomson sees plenty of positives.

“The fact they have a world class icon at the top of the tree, similar to us having Walter, will always bode well,” he said.

“The manager has to make sure it (his attitudes) filter all the way down like a pyramid so that everybody is singing off the same hymn.

“It’s the same as what Walter had with us. If he (Gerrard) can install that then the sky is the limit for the boys.”