Rangers icon insists Giovanni van Bronckhorst has lost faith in his squad with unsettled starting line-up

Mark Hateley reckons the international break has come at a good time for the Ibrox side.

Mark Hateley reckons Giovanni van Bronckhorst has lost all confidence in his Rangers squad and fears an unsettled starting line-up will continue to hamper their title bid.

The Ibrox side ended a three-match losing streak with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Dundee United on Saturday, 24 hours before Celtic suffered their first Premiership defeat in 364 days against St Mirren.

It means the Light Blues trail their city rivals by two points heading into the international break.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst, manager of Rangers applauds his team from the sideline during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Dundee United

All seven of Van Bronckhorst’s summer signings were absent from his starting XI to face Napoli in the Champions League last week, with only striker Antonio Colak returning to the side on Saturday.

The Dutchman has told his new recruits they must prove they are worthy of a starting jersey, admitting “I always pick the team that I think will win the game.

“I’m not going to pick 11 players and say, ‘OK, I’ll put three new signings in and four who have been here for ten years’. It deson’t work like that.

“I have my two eyes and I can see how their performances are, I can see how they train.

“I don’t look at new signings or players who have been here for a longer number of years. I just pick the best 11 for the game. I put players in who I think will be ready to play.”

However, Hateley believes Van Bronckhorst’s constant rotation of his starting line-up proves he can’t rely on his players.

Speaking to Online Betting Guide OLGB last week he said: “Rangers obviously need to keep clean sheets. I think they have had a problem since Filip Helander has been injured, the sale of Leon Balogun, two international centre-backs.

“And then James Sands, who is a natural midfield player, came into play alongside Connor Goldson. I think that’s probably where the problem lies.

“The team has been chopped and changes this season and there’s been no real settled 11. That tells me that the confidence and reliability of Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s players is under question at the moment.

Antonio Colak celebrates scoring in the first half during the Cinch Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Dundee United

“Celtic have a really strong squad this season. Ange Postecoglou did remarkably well last season. It was an exceptional turnaround of players and performance in his team. I think the international break will come at the right time for Rangers.”

Meanwhile, Rangers assistant manager Roy Makaay has been granted compassionate leave by the club after missing their last three fixtures.

The former Bayern Munich striker has returned to the Netherlands to be with his family, with Dave Vos stepping up to assist Van Bronckhorst.

A club spokesman said: “Roy Makaay is dealing with a family health issue. We are all supporting him and hope to welcome him back soon.”