Rangers can still have “success” this season, manager Stuart McCall has claimed, but they must tighten up defensively as they enter the Scottish Premiership play-offs.
Queen of the South will host Rangers in the first leg of the first round of play-offs on Saturday, with the famous Glasgow-based club needing to subsequently overcome both Hibernian and Motherwell in two-legged ties if they are to earn promotion.
Outside the top tier of Scottish football for three years, following their liquidation in 2012, Rangers were reformed in the third division for the 2012-13 season and have worked their way to within six matches of a return to the Premiership.
McCall conceded on Friday that a play-offs campaign had not been expected by most Rangers fans but urged his players to take advantage of the coming weeks.
“It has come down to, hopefully, a six-game season for us. But it’s a chance for the players to grasp it,” said the former Rangers midfielder, who replaced Kenny McDowall as manager in March.
“I’ve told them not to fear failure in these games. Be the best you can be, grasp the opportunity and take it from there.
“This season can still be a success for them … yes, everyone connected with Rangers wanted the team to go up as champions. But no-one will care a jot next season how Rangers got there, as long as we get there.”
Rangers are unbeaten in five games, although their last loss came at Queen of the South – a 3-0 defeat on April 9, while they have a 10-1 win-loss record under McCall.
But the 50-year-old manager has warned his team they cannot afford to continue conceding at a rate of 1.27 goals per game, as they have during his tenure.
“What we have to do is cut out the sloppy individual errors which have cost us a lot of the goals we have conceded. It happened again last week against Hearts when we were 2-0 up away to the champions, then conceded two poor goals in the closing stages,” McCall said.
“We have to make teams work hard to score against us. Going forward, I’m confident we will create chances against any team.”
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