McLeish urges Rangers to tidy up at the back

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The Independent Football

Alex McLeish, the Rangers manager, has told his players they must cut out costly errors if they are to be champions.

His side's challenge to Celtic for the Premier League title was dented last week when they conceded a last-minute equaliser at home to Inverness. That allowed Celtic to move within four points of their rivals with two games in hand. One of those games is today's visit of Dunfermline so McLeish was aware how costly it was that his players failed to deal with a routine ball into the box against Caley.

"In the grand scheme of things we're certainly not happy to drop a couple of points, especially at Ibrox," he said. "We should have won it and we know at the very worst we conceded an horrendous goal - and from here on in that kind of mistake is out of the question if we want to win this championship."

Rangers take on Dundee at Dens Park tomorrow having registered a hard-fought victory there this season. Jim Duffy's players are fighting at the foot of the table and will be desperate to add to the two-point advantage they hold over Dundee United and Livingston.

McLeish said: "That is what makes the games that are coming up all the more interesting. There are teams battling for survival, teams battling to get into Europe and there are two teams fighting for the championship. It might not be the prettiest in the world, the Scottish League, but it will certainly be exciting."

Striker Dado Prso is back from suspension to reclaim his place as Nacho Novo's strike partner from Steven Thompson, who had been disappointing against Caley. Shota Arveladze and Peter Lovenkrands remain on the sidelines however.

Martin O'Neill, the Celtic manager, has played down speculation linking him with the Manchester City job in order to keep his own players in pole position in the title race.

"Why are you asking this question at this stage of the season when you know we have some important games coming up?" he asked. "For five years now I have been asked the same question about jobs, whether it be in England or Timbuktu."

It is a huge week for Celtic with games against Dunfermline, Inverness in midweek and Dundee United next week while Rangers just have the one SPL game at Dundee. Celtic will be confident of beating Dunfermline especially with the on-loan Newcastle United striker Craig Bellamy in top form with two goals in four matches.

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