Gary McAllister has dismissed claims the Premier Sports Cup ranks low in Rangers’ list of priorities ahead of their quarter-final tie against Livingston.
The Gers take on last season’s beaten finalists at Ibrox tonight with the added incentive of sealing a return to Hampden Park after missing out on two separate occasions last season.
Rangers are yet to win a domestic knockout competition under manager Steven Gerrard and assistant McAllister recognises the importance of tomorrow night’s encounter.
Addressing the media in his pre-match press conference, he said: “This is a really big game for us, with the incentive of getting to Hampden.
“It is an early cup competition in terms of a December final, and we have been very diligent in our preparation for this match.
“Over the years people have built up this observation that the League Cup might be the least of your priorities but that’s not the case for us. We want to continue to win trophies at this club.
“First and foremost we have to concentrate on this tie against Livingston. If you’d said at the start of the season we would be sitting in this current position, we’d probably have taken it.
“However, us being who we are and the standards we set, we feel as though we should have a few more points.
“It can’t be that bad. We’re sat top of the league and with the chance to get to a semi-final, so there is loads to play for and I want to emphasise again how important this game is.”
Despite holding a slender one-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership table, McAllister feels there is still significant room for improvement.
He has challenged the Gers attacking players to show more “devilment” in front of goal after boss Steven Gerrard urged his frontmen to “stand up” in their pursuit of more goals after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Motherwell.
McAllister added: “I think you would agree we bossed most of the game on Sunday and had more possession. Trying to pick some positives, I thought first half we played some really exciting football that was good on the eye, but I'd mirror some of the words from the manager after the game.
“We need to have a wee bit more devilment in our finishing, a wee bit more oomph and belief. We’re playing some decent football, but there just needs to be that bit more hunger and desire to score.
“All over the pitch we stress the fine details, we defend all over starting from the front. We have to fully concentrate for the 90 minutes and take care of the fine details. We’re getting caught by sucker punches down to little lapses of concentration.
“When teams come to Ibrox, they tend to defend in a very low block and in numbers, so we have got to find ways to break that down.
“We can get the ball wide to players with terrific deliveries, but we can’t just be a one-trick pony. We’ve got to be able to play through the middle and occasionally go over as well.”