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Rangers should stand tall and relish Dons challenge, insists McLeish

By Andy Newport

Former Rangers boss Alex McLeish insists the Ibrox outfit should not be worried by the threat facing them from Aberdeen.

Gers kicked off the campaign hoping to push Celtic close for the Ladbrokes Premiership title.

But Brendan Rodgers' rampant Hoops have marched off into the distance after opening up a 19-point lead over their old rivals.

Now Mark Warburton's Light Blues find themselves being chased down by the Dons, with Derek McInnes' side just two points behind with a game in hand.

But ex-Gers manager McLeish - who made his name as a classy centre-back while playing for Sir Alex Ferguson's all-conquering Pittodrie side of the 1980s - reckons Warburton's side should relish the fight.

He said: "That's the challenge for Rangers. They have to cope with the fact that Aberdeen want to take second place from them.

"It's been Derek's side who have been in second place for the last couple of years and they will want to stay there. It's up to Rangers to prove they are good enough to meet that challenge.

"But Rangers shouldn't be worrying about it. They should be all-out confident about proving they are the second best side in the country.

"Mark is trying to bolster his side with a couple of signings and that should give them an extra bit of quality and extra legs. Now he's done that he will feel a little more certain that they are better equipped to fend off the threat of Aberdeen."

Gers have opened their January business with the loan captures of Bournemouth midfielder Emerson Hyndman and Arsenal playmaker Jon Toral.

But those short-term additions will not ease the concerns of supporters casting a fearful eye at Parkhead, where Rodgers has already started his planning for next season by signing £2.8m anchorman Kouassi Eboue.

Walter Smith this week suggested chairman Dave King needed to risk putting the club further into debt to breach the Old Firm spending gap. But McLeish says they are right to be cautious with their finances.

"I don't think Rangers can go big in the transfer market," he said. "They are being very cautious and trying to bring in the right players for this moment. The resources aren't there and they have to live by their means."

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