Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has declared himself happy with the opening set of league fixtures that he will face as manager at Ibrox.
In the matches that were announced on the SPFL website, the Gers face a tough trip to Aberdeen on the first weekend of the season, with an away tie to bitter rivals Celtic three games later.
Sandwiched in-between are a home match against St Mirren and a trip to Motherwell.
Despite what looks on paper to be a hazardous start to the season, Gerrard has called on his players to answer the challenge and lay down a marker for the rest of the season.
“I’m excited. I love big games” he said, as quoted by the Herald.
“If you want to play for Rangers then looking at those first four fixtures should excite you.
“They should make the shoulders go back. If I was still a player then I would love those first four games.
“Let’s get ready for it. We are going to have to face them all throughout the season anyway. It doesn’t matter what order they come in.”
Gerrard and his players are set to jet out to Spain on Sunday as their pre-season training begins in earnest ahead of the start of the league season.
Football Insider verdict
Rangers fans will be delighted with Steven Gerrard’s comments that he looks at the opening fixtures of the season as an opportunity to send a message for the rest of the season. To be honest though, he was never going to say anything different, as he will be well aware that despite what looks on paper a tough start to the season, Gers fans will expect the Ibrox side to come out of the first four fixtures with a reasonable amount of points. Perhaps it is also a good thing for Gerrard to get those tough fixtures out of the way early, so he can then concentrate on an easier run of game for his Gers side. At least Gers seems up for the fight, and going by his comments he will have his team ready and raring to go for the opening day of the season at Pittodrie. Should the players be galvanised by his comments, his time in charge at Ibrox could well get off to a winning start.
In other Rangers news, the Gers have been linked with a relegated striker