WALTER SMITH always used to say that the most important games are the ones before an Old Firm and after an Old Firm. The fixtures against Celtic take care of themselves.

So the win over Dundee on Saturday was so crucial for Graeme Murty and Rangers because they couldn’t afford to go to Hampden on the back of four without a win in the Premiership.

Walter, Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall were very relaxed going into the Old Firm week. I think they were probably more animated the week either side of it to be honest.

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Going into a Celtic game, they had trust in the dressing room. We knew what it was about, we knew what we had to do because we had leaders in there.

With Graeme obviously being less experienced than Walter, he might not be able to handle it the same way. But, it is not as if it is his first game this weekend.

He has had a couple before so I would think he would try to be as calm and relaxed as possible, or certainly portray that to the players. Whether he actually is or not inside, only he will know.

If the manager has doubts about himself or the players or if he comes across as nervous then that can feed into the squad. That is the same at any club.

You can’t afford to have that spreading through the team and we were fortunate to have Walter because he was always a cool head and it looked like nothing would faze him. He had a poker face and win, lose or draw he had this vibe about him.

It was incredible to see sometimes but it was the best thing that he done and that is so important for any manager, and especially at Rangers.

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Graeme has said before that he has spoken to Walter a couple of times and, if it was me in his position, I would certainly be phoning him this week. Put a call in and get a bit of advice.

Graeme is obviously his own man and if he chooses to do that, great. If he gets advice from anyone else or speaks to anyone else, then that is up to him.

But, if it was me, I would be asking Walter about a few things and getting a feel for how he used to prepare for Old Firm fixtures and how he tackled games like this.

You can’t buy the experience that he has got.

I think Graeme has made a difference since he has come in. If you remember back to when the previous manager was there, it really was doom and gloom.

But Graeme steadied things, got a few results, brought in some good players and Rangers are back up to second in the league.

Going into the last Old Firm game at Ibrox, it was amazing to see the turnaround in expectation in the crowd. For the first time in a long time, the Rangers fans were going into that game expecting to win it.

For the first 20, 25 minutes, they were by far the better team. They got in Celtic’s faces and didn’t let them get it down and play.

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For whatever reason, they couldn’t maintain that and Celtic then dominated. That can’t happen this weekend.

Graeme said last week he believed that defeat had taken quite a lot out of the players and that goes back to the importance of the games before and after a derby.

The best way to get a defeat out of your system is to go and put it right with a win but unfortunately Rangers couldn’t do that as they lost to Kilmarnock and then drew with Motherwell.

League campaigns are all about momentum, both in terms of building it and maintaining it. You take confidence as individuals and a squad from every win but Rangers haven’t really had that prolonged run.

In the Old Firms, it is 12 games since Rangers have beaten Celtic over 90 minutes. I played in the 3-2 win when we stopped Celtic winning the league.

That is a long time to go without beating your main rivals and Rangers know what is at stake this weekend. If they don’t win, Celtic are 90 minutes away from back-to-back Trebles.

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If you are a Rangers manager, coach or player, you have to stop that.

You have to put everything into this game because it is massive for the squad, the fans and the club. There is obviously so much at stake for the manager as well but his focus must be on the team and the club.

Rangers still have a chance of winning a cup and finishing second. It certainly isn’t ideal, but, considering where Rangers are right now, that isn’t bad.

When you are at Rangers, it is all about winning, of course it is. If I am in that dressing room, I am determined to lift the Scottish Cup for myself, for my team-mates, for the club and the supporters.

But you also know that it would stop back-to-back Trebles. For many reasons, this is huge for Rangers.