GORDON Greer believes on-form Kilmarnock should set their sights higher than Ladbrokes Premiership survival this season – and can step up their bid for a top six spot with victory over Rangers this weekend.

Kilmarnock have enjoyed a dramatic upturn in fortunes since Steve Clarke, the former Chelsea and Liverpool assistant and West Brom and Reading manager, replaced Lee McCulloch as manager back in October.

The Rugby Park club have won four, drawn four and lost just two of their games since the 54-year-old Scot took over and have moved from bottom spot in the league table to eighth in the space of less than two months.

Greer, the 11-times capped Scotland internationalist who returned to the Ayrshire club for a second spell in the summer, stressed his side will go into their home game with Rangers on Saturday looking to win as a result of their new-found confidence.

“We have got an opportunity at home against Rangers,” he said. “When we went to Ibrox last time (Kilmarnock drew 1-1 in Govan in Clarke’s first game in charge) I said there weren’t many occasions when we have played against Rangers there when we have had a chance to win. That is just being honest.

“Now, you look at the team and you think ‘we have got a chance to win’. It is totally different. This is an opportunity for us to beat Rangers.

"We’re not happy just to stay in the league. We want to push on, we want to be ambitious, we want to win a lot of games, we want to be up near the top of the league.

“We were in a predicament down near the bottom of the league and now we are in a better position, but we are still striving to be even better, get away from the relegation zone and get in touch with the teams above us.”

Greer added: “I was here a few years ago and success for us was to finish in the top six. That was success for us. We knew we were never going to win the league. At the time, Celtic and Rangers were really strong and you had a strong Hearts team as well. Then Hibs, Aberdeen and ourselves were all pushing to get into that top six.

“Now you have got a really strong Celtic team and everybody else is fighting it out to finish second and below. Success recently for Kilmarnock has been to stay in the league, but that isn’t really success. We want to change that.

“Success for us this season would be to finish in the top six. That is not success for every team in the league. If Rangers don’t finish second it’s a failure. But for us this season a successful season would be to finish in the top six.

“We just want to put a run together. There is so little between the teams. If you put a run together and another team has a little dip then before you know it you are within touching distance of them. It wasn’t long ago that Motherwell we were a bit away from us. Now we are within a point of them. It just shows you the turnaround we have had.

“It is up to us to be consistent. We will just look at ourselves. It is not about us looking at Rangers, Motherwell, Aberdeen or whoever. You just see how you get on and move forward. January is a big time for the club. We can strengthen. Hopefully we can get a few additions in to help out and kick on up that league.”

The game against Kilmarnock this weekend is an important one for Rangers as they were beaten 3-1 at Ibrox by St. Johnstone last Saturday and failed to reclaim second spot from Aberdeen, who had thrashed Hibernian 4-1 at home earlier, in the Premiership table.

But Greer and his fellow defenders Scott Boyd, Kirk Broadfoot, Stephen O’Donnell and Greg Taylor, who came in for heavy criticism from their supporters for their displays at the start of the season, will be confident of nullifying the threat posed by Alfredo Morelos and Josh Windass due to the changes Clarke has made at the back.

“He has made it easier for me,” he said. “We are a lot more solid. Before we were a bit more open and a bit more expansive and it was more difficult to keep clean sheets. People weren’t in the positions they should have been. Now it has been simplified and we are in better positions to defend. In that respect, it is easier for me because I have people around about me.

“The fans weren’t happy before, but that comes down to winning games on the pitch. If you are putting in performances and winning games then the supporters appreciate you are trying. We were trying before, we were trying desperately, and it just didn’t quite happen. They were getting disgruntled and moaning and what not.

“But you can understand that. They pay their money and come to watch a good game of football and if you are not getting that you feel as if you are being short-changed a little bit. Hopefully, we can kick on, win as many games as possible and push up the league.”