Alan Hutton has heralded “absolutely brilliant” Nathan Patterson’s defensive work since breaking through at Rangers.

The former Ibrox star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, made the huge claim the 19-year-old may already even be a better defender than he was in a Light Blues shirt.

Steven Gerrard has given Patterson a run in the Gers’ starting XI recently after James Tavernier was ruled out through injury.

The youngster has started Rangers’ last two Premiership games and three Europa League matches.

He played 78 minutes in the Gers’ 2-0 defeat to Slavia Prague.

Hutton, who was at Ibrox for Thursday’s game, admitted he had been hugely impressed by Patterson and suggested his defensive awareness set him apart from other young full-backs.

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Hutton told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “He’s been absolutely brilliant. We’re talking about a guy who’s 19. He plays with no fear, he just loves the game, you can tell.

“We know with Tavernier, that’s massive boots to fill. We understand what he gives Rangers going forward and the attributes that he has. Nathan Patterson will be learning off him, learning off Steven Gerrard and the backroom staff.

“He looks so confident. He’s very aware of the space round about him defensively, which I’m really impressed by. He gets forward when he needs to and that attacking threat, that we know he does have, playing in the youth teams, will come as he grows into that position. 

“The biggest thing for me is the defensive side of it. That’s the hardest side to master and he seems to be in the right place at the right time. That’s only a good thing for one so young, because he’s only going to get better.

“I’ve spoken about him quite a lot recently, and that’s maybe where he differs from me. I was that young guy who was just desperate to get forward. You learn by your mistakes and I did make mistakes where I was leaving holes behind me.

“It wasn’t really until I went down south, to arguably one of the best leagues, that I found out I had to be better defensively. For him to really be learning that side of the game so young is only going to help him improve as a player.”

In other news, Alex McLeish has backed plans involving Rangers and Celtic amid BBC update.