STEVEN GERRARD has warned Rangers not to let Hearts’ lowly league position enter their minds as his side look to maintain pole position in the Premiership title race.

The Gers make the trip to Tynecastle to face a Hearts side under huge pressure after a poor start to the season that sees them sit ninth in the standings.

Rangers are two points clear of Old Firm rivals Celtic ahead of a crucial weekend and boss Gerrard said: “It’s always a tough game. The two times I’ve been before, it’s always a test.

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“The fans are right on top of you, the energy and the atmosphere mean you never feel like you’re out of pressure there. It’s a small, tight pitch and Hearts never go away.

“The two times we’ve been there we’ve played ever so well but they’ve fought right till the end. They don’t let you breathe. So we’re expecting another tough game. They’ve turned their corner in terms of getting a big win against Hibs, which was obviously well-needed from their point of view and which has given them a bit of confidence and a bit of belief.

“I’m sure they’ll try to build on that with a result against us so we have to be ready for the challenge. I don’t think the challenge is how it looks on paper in terms of where the teams are in the league. I think it’ll be a lot tougher than that.

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“I don’t want to play it (going top of the league) down. We’re happy to be there and we need to enjoy being there. But we’re in October, there’s tons of football to play.

“We know the teams below aren’t going to go away, we’re there to be shot at, and there’ll be many more twists and turns. It’s important to be respectful and humble and realise we’re going to have to work even harder to stay there.That’s got to be the challenge for us, to forget everybody else talking about it and focus on the next challenge and that’s going to Tynecastle.”