Many clubs would have “got rid” of Rangers rulebreaker Nathan Patterson and he is very lucky to still be at the club, according to Noel Whelan.

The former striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the Europa League hero needs to deliver “world-class effort” to repay the league leaders.

Speaking after Thursday’s win, Steven Gerrard insisted the club were “trying to draw a line under” the incident which saw Patterson, Bongani Zungu, Calvin Bassey, Dapo Mebude and Brian Kinnear caught at a party in Glasgow.

However, Patterson, Zungu and Bassey all surprisingly returned to the squad against Royal Antwerp on Thursday.

The promising right-back went on to score only 17 seconds after coming off the bench in the 5-2 win.

Whelan suggested a lack of squad depth means Gerrard had little choice but to welcome the rulebreakers back.

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Asked if the trio were lucky, Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor: “I think you look on two sides.

“You look at it as a manager saying: ‘Right guys, here’s your second chance.’ Many clubs would get rid of these sort of players.

“Steven’s trying to keep the harmony at the football club. Not to ruffle too many feathers and give them a second chance in redeeming themselves.

It’s a difficult one because when you don’t have a squad that’s sometimes big enough, you’ve got to delve into these sort of players, unfortunately.

“They’ve got a lot of time, they’ve got a lot more making up to do. They’re going to have to be repaying Steven Gerrard and that football club for a length of time.

“Whenever they are chosen they better put in a world-class effort to start paying back the faith they’ve shown in them.

“They’re very lucky to be given this opportunity again by such a big club.”

In other news, Rangers have hit the jackpot with £8million windfall.