Gary McAllister has shrugged off Tommy Wright’s claims that Rangers need to beat Celtic before they can be considered title contenders - insisting there is no “paranoia” at Ibrox over their miserable derby record.
Gers face Wright’s St Johnstone on Sunday but the Light Blues faithful are already turning their eye to next weekend’s Old Firm battle with Brendan Rodgers’ champions.
Celtic have racked up 12 games without defeat against their city neighbours since Rodgers took charge two-and-a-half years ago, with the huge aggregate scoreline of 31-6 underling the sheer scale of their derby dominance.
Wright believes Gers must “get over that hurdle” before they can reclaim their status as a “real force” in Scottish football.
But Steven Gerrard’s number two McAllister insists the new Ibrox manager - who suffered a 1-0 defeat at Parkhead back in September in his only taste of Old Firm action so far - remains relaxed about the state of play between Glasgow’s big two.
McAllister said: “Next Saturday’s match is obviously a big game. It was made at the start of the season and we know why everybody looks to it.
“But we’re not in a state of paranoia looking to the Celtic game.
“We’ve got two games - two big games that are as big as the Celtic game - coming up in St Johnstone and Hibs.
“We’ll turn on to Celtic once we get past them.
“Celtic’s not our concern. Our concern is about us. The fact is that we’re in a position in the league where it’s very competitive, it’s not just only the Old Firm, there’s a couple of other sides there that are pushing as well.
“Where we are at, if we get to the end of the month and we are in a similar position, we’ll be delighted.”
Gers let the Ladbrokes Premiership lead slip through their grasp for a second time in a fortnight as their struggles in front of goal continued during Wednesday’s 0-0 draw at Easter Road.
That stalemate means Gerrard’s side have now found the net from open play just once in the last seven games and McAllister confessed the Ibrox attack need to loosen up.
“It might be a modicum of being a bit more calm in front of the goal and maybe we could be accused of snatching at a couple of chances,” said the former Scotland skipper.
“But the thing is we’ve got to trust what we are doing, I’ve got a feeling that the goals will come and we should be getting rewarded for the amount of pressure we’re putting on the opponents.
“Not only from set-pieces and corners but in general play as well. I’d have to touch on the game the other night. From where I was sitting watching it I thought it was as good a performance as we’ve given domestically.”