Jig won't let champs-elect Rangers flag

LEE McCulloch today warned there would be no flagging from Rangers on their relentless march to the SPFL League One title.

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Bring it on...Lee McCulloch is determined that Rangers will polish off the Diamonds in today's SPFL League One clash
Bring it on...Lee McCulloch is determined that Rangers will polish off the Diamonds in today's SPFL League One clash

The Ibrox skipper insisted Gers will maintain the high standards they set against Dunfermline because every player knows any dip in form will see them axed.

McCulloch and his Gers team-mates thrashed their nearest SPFL League One rivals by an emphatic 4-0 scoreline at East End Park on Monday night.

The victory put Ally McCoist's side, who still have a game in hand on the second-placed team, 14 points clear at the top of the third tier table.

And the Light Blues midfield enforcer is confident they can reproduce the form they showed in Fife in the coming weeks and months of the 2013/14 campaign.

For he believes the return to fitness of Richard Foster, Andy Little and Dean Shiels will keep the players who are currently in the first team on their toes.

Foster, who had a serious ankle injury, played his first game in early two months on the sidelines when he came on as a second-half substitute in the win over Dunfermline.

Little, meanwhile, made his comeback after over six weeks out in the deeply disappointing 1-1 draw with Stranraer at Ibrox on Boxing Day.

And Shiels is also - despite inaccurate stories claiming he has been told he can leave the Glasgow giants - available for selection by his manager once again.

McCulloch said "It was good to see Andy back on the pitch against Stranraer after such a long absence. To be honest, it was the only positive thing about that game for the boys.

"Nicky Clark has been doing really well and took his goal well against Dunfermline. But Andy coming back will put pressure on him to perform every week.

"Andy will have to fight for his place in the team again because Nicky is doing so well. But it is excellent for us to have that sort of dynamic in the squad.

"Seb Faure has been doing really well at right-back since Fossy has picked up his injury.

"But Fossy is a winner and he will be wanting his place in the team back.

"He will have enjoyed coming on against Dunfermline and will be wanting to feature every week now. It is good to have that sort of attitude in the dressing room.

"Fossy is obviously a good footballer technically. But he has a great mentality too. He has been at the club before and knows what is required to play here.

"We also have Dean back available now and all of the boys are delighted for him. It is great to have that competition up front, in defence and in midfield.

"We have got a big squad of players here so we are always going to have a good level of competition for places. But to have these guys back just helps us in that respect.

"We have not got a fully fit squad, but we have got a few key players back for us and that is definitely good to see. It is very healthy for the side and for the club as a whole."

McCulloch added: "We were pleased with the way that we bounced back against Dunfermline after the draw with Stranraer. And it was a decent performance from all of the lads as well. We scored four goals and managed to keep a clean sheet at the back.

"That is the level we should be playing to every time we take to the field now. "

Bouncing back from the draw against Stranraer in the manner that we did in what was a big, big game for us was obviously very pleasing for everyone.

"Hopefully the competition for places that we have and the strength in depth that we have will ensure that our standards do not drop in the games we have coming up in all competitions."

Rangers take on Airdrie at New Broomfield today - the stadium they won 6-0 at when they last visited on league duty back at the beginning of August.

McCulloch does not expect his side to triumph by such a large margin once again today and stressed he will treat Gary Bollan's side with the utmost respect.

But he knows there can be no repeat of the listless display the Light Blues - who had, in their defence, not played a competitive game for 19 days - produced last week.

He said: "We may have lost our chance of going the whole season without dropping a point last week.

"But, to be honest, I don't think any of the boys expected that to happen.

"Our winning run also came to an end, which was disappointing. But that is no reason not to give our all every time that we take to the field from now on.

"We are expected to win every game that we take part in at Rangers no matter what level it is at. So we have to maintain our focus and concentrate in every match that we play.

"We did well the last time that we played Airdrie, but that game is in the past now. They played well against us at Ibrox and will have a point to prove. We must be at our best."

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