"Dundee United were the team that put the best unbeaten run together last season and this is a very important match for us," the Rangers manager said.
"Of the teams outside of the Old Firm I see United as the ones who can mount a title challenge. They may be a wee bit disappointed by starting their league programme with two draws but they are always dangerous opponents."
Paul Gascoigne returns for Rangers, his first domestic game after a three- match ban. Smith added: "We have started to show our all-round match fitness. We need games to get everybody up and playing.
"Gazza is needing a game more than anyone as his season has been disrupted because of suspension but he has been training well enough."
Tommy Bowman, the Dundee United defender, said: "The expectations are higher after we finished third last season and it is up to us to build on that. I don't think we have hit top gear yet; we have only really played in fits and starts. It's good that we're playing Rangers ahead of the Uefa Cup return against Trabzonspor as it will concentrate our minds."Reuse content