Rangers will need time in top flight, says Dave McPherson

Rangers will be playing in the Premiership next season
Rangers will be playing in the Premiership next season

Former Rangers defender Dave McPherson is backing the Ibrox club to "come back bigger, better and stronger".

However, he does not expect Rangers to be in shape to win the Premiership next season, following their promotion for winning the Championship title.

"The players will be looking forward to challenging Celtic, Aberdeen and Hearts at the top," McPherson told BBC Scotland.

"But I think it will take two or three seasons for them to compete."

Rangers sealed their promotion with Tuesday's 1-0 win over Dumbarton.

More on this story:
Rangers clinch title - read the match report
Rangers must challenge Celtic - Andy Halliday
What next for Rangers after fraught road to top flight?
In pictures: Rangers' journey from the fourth tier to the Premiership
Listen: Rangers fan says 'we're coming for the Premiership title'

Having wrapped up the title with four games to play, midfielder Andrew Halliday immediately urged his team-mates to aim high in the top flight.

"We've got to be challenging for the title it's as simple as that," he said in the aftermath of the celebrations at Ibrox.

Celtic are in pole position to be crowned Scottish champions for the fifth year running and McPherson, who spent nine seasons at Ibrox over two spells, reckons the Premiership leaders will be pleased to see Rangers coming up.

"Every team in Scotland will look forward to Rangers being back in the top tier," he said.

"Good Celtic and good Rangers teams need competition and if they are not playing each other it affects them both.

"From a Celtic perspective, I don't think Rangers' absence has done them any good at all."

'Tough journey'

Kris Boyd is another player to have enjoyed two periods at Rangers and the Kilmarnock striker is pleased to see his old team "back where they belong".

"It's been a tough journey for a lot of Rangers fans," the 32-year-old striker told BBC 5 Live.

"Hopefully they will be challenging on all fronts next year. You just hope they can kick on in the exact same way as Hearts have done and push on even further and challenge Celtic."

Rangers' sealing of promotion completed a four-year voyage from the bottom tier to the Scottish top flight, following financial collapse in 2012.

Having finished third in the second tier last year, Rangers missed out in the play-off final, losing heavily to Motherwell.

'Serious money'

"The journey has taken a season longer than the fans expected," explained Derek Ferguson, who played in the Rangers midfield in the 1980s.

Ferguson has been impressed by manager Mark Warburton's first season at the club and is sure the former Brentford boss will want to strengthen his squad over the summer.

The BBC Scotland pundit said: "Can they challenge Celtic? I think it's now down to the people who back Mark Warburton. He's introduced a style of football that the fans have bought into. He's got a good philosophy on the game.

"I've got a feeling he'll want to challenge Celtic for the title, so whoever is in the background with the pennies has got to provide them.

"The manager has to be backed and he has to be backed with serious money."