KENNY McDOWALL hopes it will be a case of deja blue for Rangers in the Highlands.

The Ibrox side have travelled to Sutherland for the first part of a two-legged pre-season schedule that will see them jet out to America and Canada later this month.

After enjoying a productive few days - and matches against Buckie Thistle and Brora - 12 months ago, the Gers are looking to replicate their preparations this year.

And assistant boss McDowall is confident the summer schedule will have the champions in prime shape ahead of the Championship kick-off.

He said: "We're hoping things go exactly the same way again.

"As well as being an enjoyable time up there, we got a lot of hard work done. That was the main reason we were there and it was pleasing we were able to make the progress we did there last year.

"When we were looking at the early part of this pre-season, we were keen to keep a bit of continuity.

"If we get somewhere we like, we try to keep things the same and that is why we're going back up to Brora for five days to play a couple of games. There will be hard work getting done along the way as well and then we'll go to the States and Canada which will be good for us too."

Meanwhile, Rangers have been linked with another swoop for Marius Zaliukas. Boss Ally McCoist missed out on the former Hearts defender last season when he signed for Leeds.