By Tom Blackburn

Midfielder Andy Halliday says Rangers are aiming to instantly mount a challenge on the Scottish Premiership title.

Ibrox rivals Celtic clinched their fifth successive league title last season but Rangers have showed their intent to try break the trend with a tough pre-season schedule.

In an interview with the Glasgow Evening Times, Halliday says Rangers achievements last year need forgetting about as they go head to head with Celtic.

“I have to admit I probably shouldn’t be judged as a football player on what I did last year,” he said.

“It’s not a league that we, as a group of players, should have been playing. This is what it’s all about, playing for Rangers.

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“The Premiership is where we are going to get judged – and rightly so. There’s great competition for places and we are aiming to challenge for the title.

“Rangers are back where we belong and it’s time to be judged on that. Rangers fans will never settle for second place.

“That’s taking nothing away from the fact that Celtic are the favourites for the title. But that’s just the expectations at this club. We are going to be judged on whether we can win the league.

“It will be hard. Celtic are a strong squad and they are going to strengthen under a very good manager. But we are confident in our ability that we can challenge for the title.”

The Scottish midfielder played a major role in Rangers’ promotion to the Premiership last season after signing in July 2015 on a two-year deal, with an option for a third year.

The midfielder collected two trophies and contributed 10 goals during his first season after signing a two-year deal in July 2015 with the option of an additional year.

With Rangers sealing a return to the top-flight Halliday insists that his side are thoroughly preparing for the physical demands of next season, as they once again compete at the top level of Scottish football.

Manager Mark Warburton has made some notable key signings to aid their efforts next season.

Joey Barton and Niko Kranjcar have both arrived and will compete with Halliday for a spot in midfield, something he accepts is part of playing at the club.

“Competition for places is to be expected. It’s what it’s all about to play for Rangers Football Club,” Halliday told the Glasgow Evening Times.

In other Rangers news, Warburton has given an update on Rangers’ hunt for a 25-goal striker.