LEE McCulloch believes the prospect of Rangers winning every single Scottish League 1 game this season was always unrealistic after dropping their first points on Boxing Day.
Rangers had been aiming for a 21st win in a row when they hosted Stranraer at Ibrox last Thursday.
But Ally McCoist’s men were caught out when Jamie Longworth’s injury-time leveller cancelled out McCulloch’s first-half penalty to claim a share of the spoils. The result spoiled Rangers’ 100 per cent league record but McCulloch insists the focus is on making amends at Dunfermline tonight rather than dwelling on what was always an unlikely achievement.
The skipper said: “I don’t think anyone in the dressing room or the management have said we would win every league game.
“Has a team ever done that? I don’t think so. The boys are all level-headed in there.
“We all know we weren’t good enough in the last game. We’ve let the fans and management down and each individual has a chance to put it right on Monday. We’re still in a very healthy league position like we set out to be at the start of the season.
“I thought in the second half we let ourselves down. We weren’t at our best in the first half, but we got our goal.
“When you play at this club you need to bounce back. Maybe mentality-wise we were a wee bit lazy. With the Christmas period, you look for every excuse under the sun, but the boys on the pitch should be doing a lot better, myself included.”
The last meeting against Dunfermline proved to be a bruising experience for Rangers, with several players needing hospital treatment and McCulloch himself requiring stitches in a head wound.
But he believes the clash with their closest league rivals is the ideal game following the set-back against Stranraer.
McCulloch said: “That’s the way their manager has always set his teams up – physical, but fair. They’re a good team and have got some good players so it is going to be tough.”
Dunfermline are determined to have a go against Rangers as the worst that can happen is that they stay in second place.
Manager Jim Jefferies said: “The way results have worked out recently means that whatever happens against Rangers we will stay above Stranraer and Ayr in the race for a play-off place. That gives us a bit more freedom to enjoy the game and more of an appetite to attack them.
“The one thing we do need to take the field with is the belief that we can get a result. If we go out with that belief and an attacking intent well we may just be the first side to defeat Rangers this season.”
Dunfermline will give Calum Morris and Andy Geggan until close to kick off time to prove their fitness after recent knocks.
Ross Millen is out with a heel problem, Robert Thomson is not ready to return after a groin injury, with Ryan Thomson also absent after suffering with a virus.