St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright admits he’s at odds with the bookies’ assessment of his side’s chances against Rangers in the League Cup tonight.
Despite the fact the Glasgow outfit are in the league below Saints, Mark Warburton’s side have been installed as firm favourites to continue their victorious procession this season against the men from Perth.
Wright confesses he takes little notice of what the bookmakers think but he would be willing to wager that his players will prove their judgement was well wide of the mark.
The McDiarmid manager said: “It doesn’t bother me that the bookies have made Rangers favourites.
“I would imagine they are looking at the start they have had and the players they have got.
“They have trimmed the squad down and gone for quality rather than quantity.
“There is no taking away from that but we have a quality squad as well and we have gone to Celtic and won and beaten big teams away in Europe. So it doesn’t hold any fears for us.
“I know plenty of bookies who have got it wrong.
“Bookmakers don’t win matches, players win football games, and I know my players will be hungry to go there and get a result.
“No-one has beaten Rangers this year so some might use that as an incentive. But our motivation is to win a cup tie.
“Rangers aren’t my concern. My concern is trying to beat them and that is what we will be trying to do.”
Wright has nearly a full squad to choose from with on-loan Celtic defender Darnell Fisher his only injury doubt after picking up a knock in the defeat at Kilmarnock.
That loss irked the manager who has demanded that his players tighten up defensively.
He said: “Darnell Fisher bruised his toe against Kilmarnock. It didn’t need an X-ray but he is doubtful. He is our only concern.
“Steven MacLean will come back into the squad.
“We were in total control of the Kilmarnock game but we have got to defend better as a team.
“We are losing preventable goals and the players share that feeling because they are disappointed with the number of goals we have conceded. That is something we have to rectify.
“Clean sheets give you an opportunity to win games.
“Winning the Scottish Cup should have given us greater belief and the cup competitions are always important to the smaller clubs. They have a realistic chance of winning something.”
Meanwhile, Steven Anderson knows what it takes to win a League Cup tie at Ibrox having been part of the team that beat Rangers in 2006 thanks to a Steven Milne double.
However, he also experienced disappointment last season at the same venue and he has warned that Rangers will be looking to take their scalp again.
Anderson said: “I have played in two League Cup ties at Ibrox. We beat Rangers 2-0 when Owen Coyle was manager here and lost 1-0 last season.
“Rangers were in disarray at the time (2006) and the fans got on their backs and that helped us. It was a nail in manager Paul Le Guen’s coffin.
“They had a huge budget. It is still massive compared with most of the teams in the Premiership.
“Last year we were the top-flight team and they saw us as scalp. It will be the same again.
“They probably are favourites because of the budget they have got.
“I think their fans will be expecting them to win but we have to frustrate them.”