DARREN McGregor insists Rangers are a better team than Queen of the South - but knows they now have to prove it.
The Ibrox side must overcome their Dumfries play-off rivals if they are to regain their Premiership place after a three-year exile in the lower leagues.
They have a good balance and they play well down at Palmerston. It’s a very difficult venue to go to and I think in our past two games down there we’ve not really acquitted ourselves the way we would have wanted toDarren McGregor
But so far this term, it is James Fowler’s Doonhamers who have the upper hand after twice beating Gers at Palmerston as well as claiming a draw in their most recent Glasgow visit back in February.
Rangers now return to Palmerston on Saturday for their quarter-final first leg hoping to finally make a result stick on Queen’s plastic pitch, but defender McGregor is confident his side will prevail.
He told the club’s official website: “Queens probably don’t get as much credit as they deserve.
“I think their manager has just won Manager of the Month so he’s done really well. They have a tight-knit group, they’ve got pace up front and they’ve got players who like to defend at the back.
“They have a good balance and they play well down at Palmerston. It’s a very difficult venue to go to and I think in our past two games down there we’ve not really acquitted ourselves the way we would have wanted to.
“We are well aware of that so, for me, we’re a better team than them and that’s just my perspective.
“We’ve maybe not proved that so it’s a bit rich for me to sit here and say that, but I do genuinely think going down there if we take bits from the Hearts game and maybe other games that we’ve hit top gear in and take it into that game, then we should be fine.”
Rangers lost 2-0 on their first Palmerston trip this season back in December just hours after the news that then boss Ally McCoist was set to quit had been leaked.
But there was another day of drama when Queens repeated the feat last month as they handed new Gers manager Stuart McCall his first defeat with a 3-1 win.
Talk this week has been centred on how Rangers will cope with the astroturf surface but McGregor said: “There’s a lot made of the surface and I’m not going to sit here and say it’s definitely the surface.
“I think anybody that plays football knows that grass and astro are different, that’s not to say they are far superior and that we, going down there, are unable to play on it.
“It’s just one of these things - they’ll have a slight edge but that edge shouldn’t matter in terms of how the game is played.
“They are just really good at home and their fans get behind them and they’ve got good players in good areas. It’s something we are well aware of and we’re well aware in the last two games we’ve not scored and they’ve scored two and three respectively.
“It’s up to us to go down there and, when it matters, put in a performance. For me the next six games are like a mini-league in itself.
“We are going down there with the mindset to win but, as a lot of people know, a draw and then a win at Ibrox would be enough so for us we know what we need to do. It’s just about executing that game plan on Saturday.”