Jer­main Defoe (left) and Steven Davis will find Cow­den­beath rather dif­fer­ent from Pre­mier League grounds

The Herald on Sunday - - FOOTBALL -

sat­is­fied with where Rangers are, es­pe­cially when you con­sider where they have come from.

“You might have thought it would have been good to carry on and keep the mo­men­tum go­ing af­ter the win over Celtic but we’ve played al­most 40 games,” he said. “I felt we were right on the edge and that was an ul­ti­mate push against Celtic. Those play­ers def­i­nitely needed the break.

“If you ask most of the coach­ing staff, the almighty run of games we had, right from July 12, was a mas­sive sched­ule and that was one fi­nal push and the play­ers needed that week off. “It’s the first time I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced a win­ter break in all my years in foot­ball and I’ve got to say it’s been wel­come. You can see the play­ers – a lot of play­ers who played a lot of min­utes, nearly ev­ery game – needed it. I know we chopped and changed be­cause of sus­pen­sions and in­juries to key play­ers but three or four were right at the max. “We can be happy with where we are but be­ing how com­pet­i­tive the coach­ing staff are we’re look­ing at it and think­ing it was a cou­ple of re­sults away from be­ing fan­tas­tic. But all in all, if you’d said we’d qual­ify for the Eu­ropa League group stage and be joint top of the ta­ble, we’d have taken it.

“But it’s im­por­tant to push on. We don’t have the Thurs­day- Sun­day sce­nario now. It’s been the first time since pre-sea­son we’ve had a nice week of ac­tu­ally touch­ing on phys­i­cal train­ing and tac­ti­cal shape.”

It was in the Span­ish sun­shine where the Ger­rard era be­gan for Rangers as he put his play­ers through their paces dur­ing a pre-sea­son trip to Malaga. Their sur­round­ings in Tener­ife were just as tran­quil off the park, but the train­ing on it was equally as in­tense.

McAl­lis­ter said: “From July we’ve just played games and re­cov­ered, played games and re­cov­ered. We think we can im­prove so hope­fully the best is still to come. There were lit­tle blips along the way that we can hope­fully negate. We need to set an­other level and in­crease the de­mands.

“We can look at a great ex­am­ple of a per­for­mance and re­sult against the cham­pi­ons and go ‘Boom, that’s what we need’. That is the level. We can’t com­pro­mise. We need to keep try­ing to nudge it for­ward all the time. You can’t rest on your lau­rels be­cause it’s only three points. We go to Kil­marnock in our next league game and it’s the same thing at the end of it.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.