In the 1992/93 season, the Light Blues approached the Champions League final painfully.
And club ambassador Hateley admits the heartbreaks in the semi-finals are still a source of regret.
Kicked out in the first half of the 2-1 win against Club Brugge at Ibrox, the left-hander missed a key part of the club’s European campaign.
But the red card and the events before the match left a sour taste – a feeling Hateley still has even now.
In one of the club’s most memorable seasons – winning a treble – Rangers became one of the Champions League’s standout teams and after beating Leeds United in the ‘Battle for Britain’ they found themselves dreaming of going all the way for the first time. The group stages of the reconstructed European Cup.
However, his posting against Brugge against Ibrox meant Hateley was missing for a vital away trip to face the Rangers eventual group winners and cup winners Marseille.
Now, the former Ibrox hitman has uncovered an unknown French agent who encouraged him to hijack the game – something that’s still playing on his mind.
talk to BETDAQ“As soon as the draw was made, I got a call from a French manager asking me not to play against Marseille and I thought it was a result.
“I would have put the French agent’s call in the back of my mind but when I was dismissed for nothing after 20 minutes at Ibrox against Brugge, that’s when the coin fell.
“I immediately thought there was something wrong with the referee in the match… You don’t get kicked out in front of a partisan crowd at Ibrox.
“It was really disappointing and the ugly side of the beautiful game. football.
“As soon as the red card came out, I said to manager Walter Smith at halftime, ‘The referee is done here and time will show proof of that,’ and that’s what happened.
“One of the highlights of the campaign is seeing Marseille beat CSKA like this (6-0).
“CSKA was one of our group favourites, so it was a ridiculous score to see Marseille win 6-0. We couldn’t understand such a result.
“When we saw the group, we believed we could win and make it to the final, we were a good team. All else being equal, we could and should have reached the final that year.
“We were playing well, we trebled that season, we scored a lot of goals. But the disappointment was that we were tricked by Marseille at that end point.
“So it’s a bittersweet memory, and it’s going to be in the throat for a long, long time.”
He further expressed his regrets about the situation, saying, “We could have won in Marseille which would have taken us to the final. Me and Ally McCoist were scoring for fun.
“Me and Ally could have won by playing but I was banned four games from a red card which was ridiculous. That’s how big the influence the referee had against Brugge that day.
“We went to the semi-finals of the Champions League in the opening year, so of course there was some pride.
“But we had to be in the final, we were good enough to be in the final, and we were probably good enough to beat AC Milan in the final. Bittersweet. Lots of good memories and bad memories.