Thomson prepared to work for Rangers starting spot

Ibrox midfielder ready to battle for place as captain Ferguson returns to fitness
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Kevin Thomson admits no midfielder's place is safe at Rangers now that captain Barry Ferguson is back in action. Ferguson has made two substitute appearances since recovering from ankle surgery in the summer and ending a five-month spell on the sidelines.

The midfield has been transformed in his absence, with summer signings Steven Davis and Pedro Mendes linking well and Thomson also contributing in the middle of the park. Ferguson's efforts last season mean the captain has already been assured of a place in manager Walter Smith's plans once fully match-fit again.

Thomson – who bagged a last-gasp leveller in the 3-3 draw against Dundee United last night – is well aware that everyone else must remain on top of their game to give the Rangers manager a major selection headache. "It's a big club and there is always competition for places," he said. "It's been well-documented that the skipper is back now and he is pushing for a game. It's not just myself, it's up to every player to stay on their toes and to work hard and stay in the team."

United looked set to return to Tannadice with maximum points thanks to a Scott Robertson strike after goals from Davis and Sasa Papac and a double from Francisco Sandaza resulted in the teams being level at half-time.

However, Thomson had the final say with a dramatic equaliser with just seconds remaining after United goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska had pulled off a string of saves to give the visitors hope of a win.

A draw was not good enough to move level with Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premier League and Thomson admitted that dropping points at Ibrox is simply not good enough if Rangers are to wrest the championship from their Old Firm rivals' grasp this season.

"We have a great record here and we would like to keep that going," he said. "If we are going to win the title, we have to win our home games so it certainly feels like two points dropped. It was the same when I was at Hibs, every team who comes up against the Old Firm wants to do their best.

"It's always a cup final, especially at Ibrox in front of 50,000. If you don't want to come here and perform, then you shouldn't be playing football. They came and had a go and it's up to us to up our game and make sure that we beat these teams."

A point was enough for United to move into third place in the table but manager Craig Levein insists they have a long way to go yet before they can be considered the "best of the rest".

"I think we've got a bit to go before we're there," he said. "People will look at this game and will make assumptions from watching one match. They'll say that we played really well away at Ibrox and, if we can do that, we can play really well every week.

"But this was a good game for us because it was open and we got to counter-attack. A lot of games we've played in recently, we've had to try to break teams down. It's something we're getting better at but we're not quite at the same level as a team like Rangers. We're improving. Third place? I don't know. I would be happy with top six and if we keep getting better, who knows?"