Skipper says Rangers must be up to Pars

LEE McCULLOCH today called on Rangers to bounce back from their first dropped points of the season - by killing off Dunfermline's title challenge.

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Lee McCulloch wants to end Dunfermline's title challenge
Lee McCulloch wants to end Dunfermline's title challenge

McCulloch and his Gers mates were devastated to concede a stoppage-time goal and draw 1-1 with third-placed Stranraer at Ibrox on Boxing Day. The result ended a remarkable record-breaking 20-game winning run for Ally McCoist's side during the 2013/14 campaign.

It also killed off their hopes of recording a perfect season in SPFL League One and winning every one of their matches.

But Gers captain McCulloch reckons his side has the ideal opportunity to make amends for the disappointing result this evening. They can stretch their lead over their nearest challengers to 12 points with a game in hand if they win at East End Park tonight. He said: "When you play at this club you need to bounce back from bad results.

"Luckily, we didn't have long to wait for this game to come around. We have all been looking forward to it. We have the chance to put things right.

"It had been 19 days since our last game and we were a bit rusty against Stranraer. But you can't use that as an excuse. At the end of the day, the boys, myself included, should have done a lot better.

"But I don't think we could have picked a better place to play coming off the back of a bad result. It is potentially our most difficult game of the season.

"If I could have picked one game to have after the Stranraer result it would have been this one. But we have to focus if we are going to put things right.

"We know we weren't good enough against Stranraer. We have let ourselves down and we have let the fans and the management down. But we have a chance to put it right now."

McCulloch was one of three players - Ricky Foster and Andy Little were the other two - who ended up in hospital when Rangers played Dunfermline at Ibrox last month.

The 35-year-old is expecting another bruising encounter with Jim Jefferies' team - but does not think it is fair to label their opponents as a "dirty" side.

He said: "I think it will be another physical game. Their manager has always set up his teams that way, when he was at Hearts and other teams.

"They are physical, but fair. They are a good team with some good players so it is going to be very tough."

Meanwhile, McCulloch has claimed Rangers winning all of their games in League One this season was always going to be impossible.

He said: "I don't think anyone in the dressing room or the management had said that we would go and win every league game. Has a team ever done that? I don't think so.

"So the boys are level-headed about it. We know we weren't good enough. But we're still in a very healthy league position and that is what we set out to do at the start of the season."

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