St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin aims to further showcase the increased competitiveness in Scotland’s top flight by taking points off Rangers on Sunday.
Only seven points separate cinch Premiership leaders Rangers and seventh-placed St Mirren after nine games and Goodwin has been encouraged by watching others run the champions close.
Dundee United ended the Gers’ 40-match unbeaten league run on August 7 and both Motherwell and Hearts have taken points off Steven Gerrard’s side.
Celtic have lost three games but are only four points adrift of their city rivals and Goodwin feels that is because all teams have raised their game, including his own who are unbeaten in six matches and have won three on the trot.
Goodwin said: “We have got to take a bit of inspiration from what teams have already done thus far this season.
“It’s always the case when Celtic and Rangers drop points, it’s always documented how poor both of those teams were. I don’t think sometimes enough recognition is given to the hard work of the opposition.
“People are talking about Rangers and Celtic not hitting the targets, and Rangers in particular not reaching the targets they were last year. I actually think they are doing very, very well, it’s just that the opposition have raised their game.
“It’s no surprise to me to see Hearts having the kind of season they are having because of the squad Robbie (Neilson) put together last season. Hibs have learned from a great season last year, we have improved, Dundee have come up from the Championship with some very good players.
“I don’t think either Celtic or Rangers will look at any team as an easy game or a guaranteed three points, especially away from home.
“We have got to try and make Sunday’s game as difficult an afternoon as possible for Rangers. We can’t sit off them or show them too much respect.
“We want to be aggressive in the right manner, get in their faces and take the game to them, similar to what we did in the League Cup last year, and go into the game with confidence that we can cause an upset.”
Unbeaten Hearts have the chance to top the table on Saturday while Dundee United are sitting third and both Motherwell and Hibernian were close to going top at times earlier in the campaign.
“Even from a marketing aspect, in terms of trying to sell the game, it makes it better,” Goodwin said.
“Our game against Aberdeen was live on the telly, and there were five goals, it was very exciting for the neutral. If there was someone down in England watching that game, they might have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the football and the standard of the goals.
“That’s what we continually need to aspire to do. We can’t just have Celtic and Rangers running away with the league every season and then have a couple of teams getting cut adrift at the bottom.
“We need to continue to make the league as competitive as possible, and to do that we need to try to get more money into the league.”