ANDY Little today vowed Rangers won't be out-muscled by Stirling Albion's bully-boy tactics again at Forthbank tonight.
The Ibrox club crashed to a humiliating 1-0 defeat to the part-timers the last time they played them away from home in October.
And the uncompromising approach of the home team that day provoked a furious response from battered and bruised Light Blues players.
Neil Alexander, who was the victim of a two-footed lunge by Steven Weir, called for referees to take action before a Gers player got seriously hurt. However, Little believes Ally McCoist's young team has matured greatly since that hugely embarrassing loss to their bottom-placed rivals. Indeed, they have won their nine games on the road in the Irn-Bru Third Division and are 22 points clear at the top of the league table.
And the hitman, who bagged his 21st goal of the season in the 3-1 win over Berwick Rangers at Shielfield Park at the weekend, is confident they can match the brute force of their opponents.
He said: "We have shown we are standing up to teams now. You have to win your battles.
"We are going to get games where there is not a lot of football played and we need to be tough and physical."
The rough treatment meted out to Rangers in the bottom tier during the 2012/13 campaign has caused controversy.
But Little is optimistic tonight's referee, Stephen Finnie, will clamp down on any over-the-top challenges on Gers stars.
He added: "It is good when referees have good games. But at the end of the day it is all about ourselves.
"It hurts whenever we draw or lose a game in this division. We still remember losing the Stirling Albion game in October. Hopefully, we can get a more positive result on this occasion. I am sure we can."
Centre-half Ross Perry is out after coming off in the second half against Berwick with a broken nose.
However, striker Francisco Sandaza, who has not played since the Scottish Cup defeat to Dundee United at Tannadice back on February 2, is available.
Elsewhere, McCoist is also hopeful long-term absentees Kevin Kyle and Lee McCulloch will be able to return to action soon.