RANGERS and Hearts are the teams everybody in Scottish football is expecting to finish first and second in the SPFL Championship this season.

So for the two of them to be drawn together in the opening game of the 2014/15 season at Ibrox on August 9 is just fantastic.

I have no doubt the meeting between the Glasgow and Edinburgh clubs will be in the top six attendances in Britain.

I know that Rangers have only sold 17,000 season tickets for the new campaign. But I am sure this game will be a sell-out.

Hearts will be well up for it too and I'm pretty sure they will take up their full ticket allocation.

It should be a cracking match with a great atmosphere. It will be a taste of what is to come for the League One champions in the second tier.

Most of the teams which come to Ibrox in the new season, from Falkirk to Queen of the South, will bring large contingents of fans.

Getting Hearts in the first match of the season will not give Rangers any time to ease into things after the summer.

Ally McCoist's side will have to hit the ground running, perform well and get a victory.

I think it will give everyone an indication of how the season is going to go.

Rangers have to complete what has been dubbed "The Journey" in a oner. So successfully negotiating the Championship is a must.

It will be more competitive, a lot tighter than it was in the Third Division two seasons ago or in League One last season.

But Ally has brought in better players in anticipation of a far harder challenge than his side has faced already.

No disrespect to the players who have left, but Kenny Miller and Darren McGregor are far more experienced.

And I am sure there will be more new faces arriving and more departures before the first competitive match of the season is played.

I can understand why the team's form dipped at times last season. They were so far ahead in the league that it was no surprise that they failed to perform at times.

But that will not be the case in the new term. Plus, there will be far greater competition for places and that should ensure a high level of performance.

Players could have a poor game safe in the knowledge that they would still be in the starting line-up the next time the team took to the field.

That won't be the case in the new term. The players are going to have to be right up for it or they will pay the price.

If Kris Boyd is now more likely to join Aberdeen or Dundee United it suggests that he was looking for more money than Rangers were prepared to pay.

The striker is, of course, perfectly entitled to hold out for as much money as he thinks he can get. Good luck to him.

But the fact what Boyd was looking for was too much for Rangers underlines that a new era of financial prudence is now in place at Ibrox.

Certainly Kenny and Darren were both brought in on far more sensible wages than what some of those players Rangers have signed in the last few years will have been brought in on.

Rangers are showing that if they are going to bring anybody new in then it will be on their own terms.

There have been players signed on pay that was way over the top and the club could not afford to honour the contracts.

That is the way that it never should have been. But only now that Graham Wallace is at the helm as chief executive is a more stringent business plan finally being observed.

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