Rangers captain Lee Wallace is well aware that some Hibernian supporters have noted with relish the way that their season has appeared to peter out.
With the Scottish Cup final still 16 days away, Mark Warburton’s side wound up their campaign by failing to win any of their five final matches during regulation time, losing to Hibs and second-bottom Livingston and drawing at home with relegated Alloa Athletic and away to St Mirren.
The accepted wisdom has it that Rangers will be ring rusty by the time they return to action at Hampden but Wallace warns that the break will work to their benefit.
“We are aware of all these stats,” he said. “We have gone a goal behind in the last four games. We are more aware of that than anyone else because we are more critical of ourselves than anyone else is.
“But we are not going to let this period cloud over anything we have achieved as a team this season. It would be too easy to be down in the dumps and negative.
“Yes, the results are hurtful but it’s not been like us. We haven’t hit our levels but we need to learn. We are maybe being questioned on those fronts but it’s a challenge we welcome and one we will meet head on.
“We are going to get a good solid week prior to the final and show everyone what we are about. We have full trust in the manager, who has given us a three-week plan. We are not going to change our approach.
“I’d expect nothing different from him. We had a few days off to recharge our batteries and get ourselves mentally ready. Then we have a tough game down at Spurs. It’s going to be a great experience playing down there against top players.
“The manager has good links with their manager and that will be a good game before the cup final. The week after that is a normal week.
“We were looking forward to the short rest because certain players have played for longer than most. It’s good to get that rest then we will get back to business.
“We look in good shape. It’s a welcome break but a weird one because we’ve got a massively important game on the horizon. But we will use it well.
“You hear that Hibs might generate momentum and form ahead of the final. They have done that over the last few games. But, on the flipside [for them], there could be tiredness or injuries creeping in there.”
Wallace is less concerned about the immediate future of Warburton, whose successful spell with Brentford has been followed by two – and, possibly, three – trophies in his first season at Ibrox.
Earlier this season he was linked with the vacancy at Fulham and, last week, he was listed as a possible successor to Roberto Martinez at Everton.
However, while Wallace has no doubt that Warburton will leave Glasgow to work for a major club, he believes it will be a few years down the line.
Asked whether he could see Warburton succumbing to the lure of the Premier League, he replied: “Yes, I definitely think so but only once he’s had four or five years with us, winning the top flight and being successful at the top level, bringing European football back to Ibrox. He’s destined for the very top.
“He’s a top manager and a top human being. It’s gone well this season and I just hope he stays for the foreseeable future.
“I know he is ambitious. He made his ambitions clear on his first day in the job. We are nearly there with those ambitions but a whole new set will be unleashed next season in the top flight.”