By Alex Stevens

Robbie Nielson expects Rangers to increase their transfer and player budget by £16million this summer.

The Hearts manager is convinced that the Glasgow giants will massively boost their spend on players when they return to the Scottish Premiership and reignite the Old Firm rivalry.

Rangers are on the verge of securing the Scottish Championship title and promotion to the top flight four years after being demoted to the fourth tier of Scottish football.

Manager Mark Warburton hinted at his club’s summer plans on Monday when he revealed he was in the market for a new central midfielder, remarking that a brilliant player in that position would cost “£50,000-a-week”.

Nielson expects Rangers’ return to trigger a massive spending spree in the Premiership, with the club tipped to increase their budget by 200 per cent.

“Rangers’ budget at the moment will about about £7 million or £8 million,” said Nielson on Monday, as quoted by the Glasgow Evening Times. “Celtic’s will be £24 million, maybe.

“It’s a huge divide. So are Rangers going to come in and hit that right away to try to get level with them? If they do, it’s going to be hard for the rest of us to compete.

“Mark Warburton is coming up from the Championship and there is a huge gulf between the Championship and playing in the top flight. They’ll need to invest heavily – and I think they will.”

A stoppage-time Raith Rovers equaliser held Warburton’s side to a 3-3 draw on Saturday but Rangers will have another opportunity to secure the title when they welcome Dumbarton to Ibrox on Tuesday night.

In other Rangers news, Warburton is confident of beating a number of Premier League big hitters to the signing of teen sensation Matthew Knox.