Kari Arnason knows a thing or two about the mentality.
Whether individually or in a team, he knows how to defy the vagaries of course thanks to talent, but also to strength of character.
He would not have played a World Cup and European Championships with Iceland if it had not been the case.
At Euro 2016, he scored Cristiano Ronaldo in a draw with eventual winners Portugal and was part of the squad that knocked out England.
But Arnason also liked to upset the basket of apples at club level.
Nothing more than six years ago with Malmö when they faced Celtic in the Champions League play-offs and came out victorious.
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This Hoops team, led by Ronny Deila, included Craig Gordon, Virgil Van Dijk, Dedryck Boyata and Scott Brown.
But the Swedes and Arnason thrived on their underdog to defeat the Parkhead team.
This week, Malmö will try for a repeat against Rangers – this time in the competition’s third qualifying round.
Before Arnason signed for them in 2015, they had already beaten Ibrox club 2-1 in aggregate in August 2012.
And a year later, in the Europa League, the Swedes humiliated Hibs in an overall 9-0 rout that included an astonishing 7-0 victory at Easter Road.
So why are they so dangerous and problematic for our parties to deal with?
Arnason spent two seasons in Scotland at Aberdeen in 2011-12 and 2017-18, so he knows all about our game as well as the Scandinavian scene.
And he emphasizes two things. First of all, the underrated stature of the Swedish champions.
And, more importantly, their steel Scandinavian mentality that so often proves skeptics wrong.
Steven Gerrard’s side are one of the big favorites to win the Champions League qualifier and the 38-year-old understands why.
But he warned Gers fans, who might see the result as inevitable, that the team that raised Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s ranks as a child will not be child’s play.
Now back in his homeland with Vikingur, Arnason said MailSport : “Malmö still has a strong team – and they are still competing.
“It should be a good test for the Rangers.
“Obviously Rangers are flying high and I see they recently beat Real Madrid in a friendly.
“Even though it wasn’t Madrid’s strongest team, it’s still an impressive result.
“But Malmö will give them a game, 100%. They are still dangerous.
“Malmö is by far the biggest club in Sweden and maybe even Scandinavia.
“They still have good Danish players and you have seen how good Denmark is at Euro 2020 this summer. Sweden is also still in the major tournaments. There is a lot of tradition in Malmö.
“They had a very good team in the 1970s and 1980s when they were competing for the European trophies (they reached the European Cup final in 1979 but lost to Nottingham Forest).
“So that story is still there. They are a big club and capable of winning big games. It is also a well funded club.
“They have more money than the rest of the clubs in the Swedish league combined, so they will always be strong.
“Malmö likes to be the underdog and can therefore surprise.
“They know that clubs like Rangers and Celtic, where there are so many expectations, will always be favorites against them.
“But that’s the Scandinavian mentality for you. Coming from where I’m from, Iceland, we love it too.
“We have shown it in recent years with the national team. It’s great because it takes all the pressure off you.
“I imagine everyone at Rangers will expect to roll over Malmö.
“But I have a funny feeling that won’t be the case.”
When it comes to a strong mentality, Ibrox captain James Tavernier has silenced many criticisms about it.
After six years without winning a major trophy with Rangers, there were question marks as to whether he was psychologically strong enough to cut him off at Glasgow.
Arnason spent the best part of a season with Tavernier at Rotherham in 2014 as part of the Millers squad that won the play-off final against Leyton Orient at Wembley.
The Icelandic admits Tavernier’s quality has never been questioned, even though defensively he was still raw.
And Arnason is delighted to have proven he has character in abundance by leading the Rangers to the Premiership title last season.
Now he would like to see him go further and reach the Champions League – albeit at Malmö’s expense.
Arnason said: “It was hard to say if Tav would move on to bigger and better things when we were in Rotherham.
“He had loads of talent and was good for the right-back.
“But in the south, in this league, the games were disjointed and sometimes we had to defend our lives. And defensively, I was a little frustrated with him.
“I gave him a hard time when he was young and learning his trade – but he was only a young child.
“He has improved considerably defensively since then and has become a fantastic footballer.
“I would love to see him reach the Champions League group stage because I always want to see my former teammates do well.
“He did a great job with the Rangers and, above all, showed tremendous strength of character.
“I would say that’s his most important characteristic now. He’s always had talent.
“The question was: did he have the mentality? But he showed he had that too. His goals and his assists record for the Rangers are incredible.
“But I still remember how well he was doing.
“He has a wonderful right foot and has always been a threat from corners and set pieces with this delivery.
“He’s been a huge asset for the Rangers. “
Gerrard is looking to lead the club to the Champions League group stage for the first time since 2009.
Arnason was extremely impressed with the work he did at Ibrox – not only to revitalize Rangers, but also to raise the profile of Scottish football in Europe.
He would like to see him stay longer but expects a childhood club
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Arnason said: “Gerrard has done a great job and has been great for Scottish football.
“I’m not sure Aberdeen fans will be happy that I say that!
“But he shone the spotlight on the Scottish league.
“Everyone knows how big the Rangers are, but they’ve been in turmoil for many years. They’ve come a long way under Gerrard.
“The problem for Rangers is I guess he will take Liverpool as soon as he gets the chance.
“That’s probably the sad truth for Rangers fans. For their sake, I hope he stays there as long as possible.