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