THE Championship fixture between Rangers and Hibernian may still be a fortnight away, but the build-up has already begun ahead of what will be huge game in the title race.

Alan Stubbs picked up his manager of the month award earlier this week and said himself that it was all “brewing and simmering”. He reckoned that Hibs would be in Rangers’ minds.

It was an attempt at mind games and a bid to get to Mark Warburton and his side. Whether it does or not is down to the Rangers players.

I don’t know the squad individually but I do know how mentally strong they are. They have got off to a great start and they appear to be a good group.

I would think the manager, Davie Weir, Jim Stewart and Ian Durrant will be telling them to forget whatever Hibs say. If Rangers win all their games, they are champions.

If Alan Stubbs has something to say, the manager can deal with it. Mark doesn’t get involved in wars of words, he is very respectful.

I don’t think it will get to the players. They have to focus on themselves, focus on the job in hand.

There is nothing Rangers can do about Hibs, all they can do is win their own games. If they do that, they will always be clear at the top of the table.

A lot of managers play mind games. Sir Alex Ferguson was the best at it and you only have to look at the Kevin Keegan incident to see how it can affect a rival boss.

Alan may well be trying to apply a bit of pressure. They are in good form and on a high and they are looking to make it count.

I think there are enough experienced pros at Ibrox to say ‘we have heard all this before, we will just go out and do our job’.

Hibs are the ones doing the talking just now. Rangers will do theirs on the park. Come December 28, we will see who comes out on top.

When I was at Rangers, the mind games were never really an issue. Jock Wallace, at 6ft 3ins and 17-and-a-half stone, didn’t need to bother with mind games.

This was a man who was in charge of marines in the war. Managers didn’t have a chance of getting into his head and he wouldn’t do it to anyone else.

His one focus and drive was Rangers winning games, winning cups and winning championships. That was his motivation, and I think it is Mark Warburton’s as well.

There are some managers that go for it but they can talk until they are blue in the face, it is about what the team do when they cross that white line that matters. When they do that, the mind games are finished.

You have got to back up your words with performances and results on the park.

Could Alan fall into the trap of becoming a boss that wins the award and then drops points in the next game? It’s happened before.

Hibs have done well, they are on a good run and it looks like it could be a really tight end to the season. He is trying something different to try and give his side the edge, but Rangers just have to ignore it and keep doing what they are doing.

If they do that, there should be no worries whatsoever and it is down to the players and how they handle the title spotlight.

I watched Manchester United the other night and you look at the team that Louis van Gaal has spent over £250million on and see what he actually has at his disposal.

Roy Keane summed it up perfectly, and this goes for all the big clubs.

You can have the greatest players in the world playing for you, but if they have not got that ambition, determination and fire in their belly then you are going to go nowhere.

You need to look at the mindset of a player when you sign him. People think ‘playing for Rangers must be great’ but once you get inside the club you can’t believe everything that goes on, on and off the park.

You have to be able to handle that. How many good players have come to Rangers and not been able to cope? A manager might fancy a player but he needs to build up an understanding of his mentality and you need to ask a lot of questions before you make a move.

It is easy to see what he is like technically. But, can he handle having the fans on his back? Can he handle the media?

There is so much to consider before you buy a player, and that is certainly true at Rangers.

Rangers are three points clear and have a far superior goal difference so it is up to them to keep it going. Hibs need to do that as well.

It is fine saying that they might get into the heads of the Rangers players and we might drop points, but they can drop points as well.

On Saturday, they are facing a good Falkirk side and it is not an easy game for them. They will still be miffed about the penalty that won Hibs the game a few weeks ago. It was very soft.

Falkirk are a good footballing side so they will need to concentrate on themselves, not worry about Rangers, this weekend.

Late call-off at Raith was an insult to Rangers travelling support

Glasgow Times:

RANGERS supporters come from all over Scotland, from England and from Ireland to see their team week in, week out. I thought they were treated really poorly last weekend when the Raith game was called off at 11.30am.

If there was any doubt at 9.30am when the first inspection took place at Stark's Park, the game should have been called off. It is a scandal to wait another couple of hours and have fans setting off and then having to turn back.

There were several games called off first thing on Saturday morning when it became evident that pitches weren’t playable or it wasn’t safe for people to make their way to the match.

When the weather is like that, common sense has to be used. Postpone the game, get it re-arranged and then move on.

We have got to start thinking about supporters in Scottish football. They are leaving the game in their droves just now and situations like that don’t help at all.

If there was any doubt, an early decision should have been made.

Police were telling people not to travel if they didn’t have to because of the severe weather conditions all over the country and fans would have had to have left early on Saturday because of the problems with the Forth Road Bridge.

I felt sorry for the Rangers supporters from down south or the north of Scotland who would have set off for Kirkcaldy and then had to turn back and head home a couple of hours later. It was a nonsense situation.

The SPFL have got to start thinking about fans. We need people to turn out and watch games and incidents like that don’t encourage punters back to Scottish football.

For too long, people in the game have taken fans for granted. We need to start taking them into consideration and stop treating them so poorly.

All Scottish clubs deserve a say in key SPFL decisions

I found the comments from Hearts’ Ann Budge and Les Hutchison of Motherwell very interesting this week. Just hours after the SPFL had announced their revamp of the League Cup, we had a war of words surrounding it.

Both Ann and Les only found out for definite about the changes the day it came out in the Press. It looks as though there are a chosen few that are making the decisions for everybody.

We are all in this together, it can’t just be half-a-dozen people that are deciding the future for Scottish football. We have to have everyone talking to each other and everyone has to have a say and be on board before anything definitive is put in place. There will undoubtedly be more fall-out to this.

I can understand why the changes have been made, though. It will be good for players because it is competitive games rather than pre-season friendlies and clubs will hope to benefit by having more fans turn out to see the ties. In the decent weather, people are more likely to go and see their team.

There could be a few derbies early in the season and hopefully the fans will buy into it because it is something different. We will see how it goes.

Something had to change so credit to the SPFL for coming up with ideas and looking at ways to try and improve our game. But, all the clubs have to be up to speed and fully involved.