There’s nothing that kills the excitement of many club football fans like the two following words: international break.

Off the back of a good result? It’s a potential momentum killer. Off the back of a bad result? Two weeks to stew over it. Off the back of an indifferent result? Just a sigh as alternative weekend plans are sought.

There’s no getting away from it: international football will never be for everyone. Many that commit thousands of pounds and emotional energy into following their club will always just see international football as a distraction.

Over the past ten years, the Rangers support has had a fractured relationship with the Scottish national team. Myriad reasons came together to create a perfect storm that led many to disillusionment.

The raw anger of 2012 created a polarisation in Scottish football that will likely take decades to fix. When Rangers suffered, it was what some other fans had been waiting for their whole lives. A giant brought to its knees and others were only happy to revel. International football is supposed to be the time of the year where you put your club allegiance to one side and get behind a common cause - that remains a challenging concept between Rangers and the rest of Scottish football when bad blood still exists.

The financial implosion led to a natural disconnect from the Scotland team on the park. No players on the pitch to relate to, a monthly debate on whether Lee Wallace should be in the team, and watching a Scotland team dominated by Celtic players led to many switching off. Rangers fans have grown up through the decades watching Scotland teams with a distinct Light Blue identity throughout the squad. To watch that disappear evidently hurts and changes that relationship.

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That’s all before you add the independence referendum of 2014 into the mix. A majority of Rangers fans support the union and the referendum resulted in a hardening of identity politics for many on both sides with the national team sometimes stuck in the middle. The concept of how national pride is displayed remains a topic for debate as the constitutional question rages on. Some will feel - correctly or incorrectly - disillusioned with this and while it doesn’t define the relationship between Rangers fans and Scotland, it has taken its toll and some remain entrenched in such views.

The “us and them” mentality of Scottish football will likely always be a hindrance to the relationship between Rangers fans and Scotland. The intensity of rivalries between Rangers and teams across the country is what makes the league unique and immensely likeable. That leads to rigid viewpoints and a reluctance to put disdain aside to enjoy a common cause. Bitterness still exists from Ian Black being booed by his own fans as he took to the pitch for Scotland. Memories are long and differences are unlikely to be forgotten.

Those divides can often stand in the way of legitimate debate when it comes to the national team. A discussion about Patterson or O’Donnell for the right-back position has more of an edge to it than a debate such as McTominay or Hendry at centre back. Fans struggle to fight through their biases and so many make arguments based on Rangers and non-Rangers perspectives. It often lacks any form of subtlety - Patterson being in the Scotland team is good for Rangers therefore some won’t want Patterson in the team.

Despite all this, as some brighter days for the national team appear on the horizon, it feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel for the relationship between Scotland and Rangers fans. The national team is becoming more relatable as Ryan Jack and now Nathan Patterson play pivotal roles in the side. It may be fickle but excitement levels rise when you see your young right-back is in the starting lineup. As Rangers continue to assert their place at the top of Scottish football, it seems inevitable more players will have involvement in the Scottish team and with that will come an increase in fans whose attentions are perked.

The relationship between Rangers fans and Scotland will always have its limitations, but it feels like we are returning to a point where the two can coexist. No one has a monopoly over what it means to support your country, and Rangers fans can help define what being a Scotland fan is in future. A healthy contribution of talent from the youth academy can only be a good thing for the national team and with that will come further support.

A study once claimed Rangers fans are the most prevalent members of the Tartan Army. This raised a lot of eyebrows because of the noticeable strains discussed here, but there is clearly a quiet, yet relatively sizeable, national team following within the support.

The more Nathan Pattersons we produce, the more that will continue to grow.