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Rangers desperate for Hearts boost
Published : 02 Mar 2012 01:46:54
Rangers assistant manager Kenny McDowall wants a repeat performance of last week's thrashing of Inverness when Hearts come calling at Ibrox on Saturday.
It has been another turbulent week at the Scottish champions with administrators Duff and Phelps expected to announce a number of cost-cutting measures which could lead to redundancies both on and off the field.
While a number of first team players could be heading for an Ibrox exit, McDowall says those who remain must focus on putting on a good performance for the fans, after a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Kilmarnock the last time they were at Ibrox.
"The players were really disappointed for letting the supporters down against Killie. Things that had gone on during the week had really taken their toll," the assistant manager said.
"We never really got going about our business in the first half but with 10 men in the second, we played very well.
"After losing the goal, it was too big a climb for us to overturn the scoreline and that was hard to take.
"Hopefully this weekend, with something close to a full house again, we can give the fans a performance like the one we had on Sunday there instead."
Hearts have had financial worries of their own this season with late payment of players' wages on several occasions.
But manager Paulo Sergio doesn't believe Rangers' off-field problems will have much impact on their performance on the pitch.
"I believe they're going to be hungry and with lots of energy for the game," the Portuguese manager said.
"They are professionals and professional people, honest people, even when we're not happy with a situation, we go on the pitch and fight for our lives.
"Our players should be ready to face a team with a great desire. I know it's going to be hard but I believe we're going to be ready for the challenge.
"In this moment it's hard to study Rangers, because in the last game they had lots of changes, but it's Rangers - lots of players with quality.
"The talent is there, the quality is there. It doesn't matter what the starting eleven is, we should know it's going to be strong and it's going to be hard for us to beat Rangers at Ibrox. But we believe we can do it, so we're going to work for that."
Rivals Celtic could be 23 points clear of Rangers by the time they take to the pitch if the Hoops can defeat Aberdeen in the early kick-off match.
Celtic are on an incredible winning run and victory over the Dons at Pittodrie would be their 18th consecutive victory in the SPL.
Neil Lennon will be without central defender Daniel Majstorovic, whose season has come to an end after he suffered knee ligament damage in a training injury before Sweden's game with Croatia earlier this week.
Dunfermline, who are still looking for their first home win of the season, welcome third-placed Motherwell to East End Park.
Kilmarnock will hope to bounce back from last weekend's thrashing to Hibernian as they host St Johnstone at Rugby Park.
Hibs will try to climb further away from the relegation zone when they take on St Mirren at Easter Road.
Fixtures (1500GMT unless otherwise stated)
Aberdeen v Celtic (1200), Dunfermline v Motherwell, Hibernian v St Mirren, Kilmarnock v St Johnstone, Rangers v Hearts
Dundee United v Inverness CT