Rangers get warning for title run-in

Thomson says champions must beware of complacency after dropping points at Ibrox

Kevin Thomson insists Rangers did not need a reminder that the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title race is far from over after dropping points to Hearts at the weekend.

The Scottish champions were forced to battle for a draw against 10-man Jambos, with youngster Andrew Little coming off the bench to rescue a last-gasp share of the points.

A win would have allowed Rangers to move 12 points clear at the summit ahead of Celtic's game 24 hours later but Thomson claims complacency was never an issue.

"We have never said it's over," said the midfielder. "We've got to be confident in our own ability that we can beat whatever team we come up against and people expect us to win every week.

"But full credit to the whole of the SPL, the games are tough. It was a struggle on Saturday, scoring in injury time. We felt as though we dominated the game without creating too many chances. But these are the obstacles that are going to be put in front of us if we want to retain the title. We just need to show a desire and hunger to push ourselves over the winning line."

According to Thomson, the queue for the treatment room at Rangers has had a bigger impact on recent results and performances. He added: "It is tough when key players are out injured and we don't quite have the same squad as we did last year, in numbers anyway, although I think the quality is still there.

"When we lose key players it is difficult to maintain the run and show the kind of attitude to win every week when the team is a bit unsettled. But I think the boys have done that and credit to them, those who have come in have done ever so well.

"It was disappointing to get just a point on Saturday but we are still top of the league and I would rather be in our position than Celtic's."

Celtic's victory over St Johnstone saw them reduce the deficit to seven points.

Hoops' boss Tony Mowbray has also bolstered his squad with the arrival of Ki Sung-Yueng, Jos Hooiveld and Morten Rasmussen this month as they attempt to halt Rangers' bid for a second successive championship.

But, while the financial plight at Ibrox means any new arrivals remain unlikely, Thomson sees no reason to be jealous of their rivals.

He said: "From a players point of view, you don't want to see new players coming in. Everybody wants quality in and it's always nice in the summer when there are a couple of new faces to freshen up the team.

"But we've got a settled squad and we feel as though we've got enough quality to push on and retain the title. We will be doing our best to get as many points as possible to make sure we are crowned champions."

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's tonight's clash at St Mirren, Thomson added: "I'm not surprised by our lead in the SPL. We are all confident in our own ability and that we are good enough to retain the title.

"It's a challenge we need to accept as a team and we've got that character and belief within the squad that we can retain the title. Celtic did it for a few years and we managed to claw it back off them. Now it's up to us to try to retain it."

Walter Smith is hoping the club's injury woes are about to be eased. Smith has seen his squad stretched to the limit by injury and suspension in recent weeks, even failing to fill the bench with a full complement of substitutes against Hamilton recently.

Saturday's clash with Hearts saw Rangers start with two 18-year-olds – John Fleck and Danny Wilson – while naming four youngsters on the bench, including Andrew Little, whose last-gasp strike rescued a point for the Scottish champions.

However, Smith has revealed the squad that will make the short trip to Paisley should have a more familiar look, with the return of Kenny Miller, Steven Naismith and Nacho Novo, as well as Pedro Mendes, who was an unused substitute on Saturday.

"The news is a little bit brighter," said the Rangers boss. "If the injuries had been spread over sections of the team, it would be fine. But the injuries were to almost every one of our front and attacking players and that was a problem. That affected us a bit on Saturday and had done in two or three of the previous games as well.

"The creation of opportunities maybe hasn't been as good as it had been before."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project