Smith remains positive after Rangers victory

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Last night's victory, achieved via a Jean-Claude Darcheville double and a Kris Boyd opener, has whittled down Celtic's goal difference advantage to four. It leaves the defending champions in prime position to secure their third successive title, provided that Gordon Strachan's side take care of business against Dundee United at Tannadice.

That scenario would leave Rangers needing to defeat Aberdeen by at least a five-goal margin, which has not been achieved on league duty since the freakish 7-2 win against Falkirk earlier in the season.

"It is disrespectful to the teams we are going to play against - Aberdeen and Dundee United - to expect us just to turn up and win the game," said Rangers manager Smith. "They are always difficult to play against and you saw with Motherwell at the weekend that they didn't just allow Rangers to turn up and win. You have to see how circumstances turn out."

Regardless of the outcome of an arduous season, Smith declared himself satisfied with the development of his team.

"It is far better than last year," he said of the current position. "We were no-hopers at this stage of last season but we know if we win it puts Celtic under pressure to win their game. We have a target to hit."

To that end, Rangers disposed of their 4-1-4-1 formation in favour of a more adventurous 4-3-3 that is set to be replicated at Pittodrie.

"We played very well tonight and maybe in the end could have scored more goals but we have to be satisfied by the win first and foremost," said Smith. "I am just pleased we won the game and had a good start - we even hit the post at the end of the first half to give us a chance of going in 3-0 up at the break.

"The pitch meant there was no great deal of continuity for either team. From our own point of view we set out to win the game and managed to do that. Now, each team has to try to win their game and you never really know what will happen, do you?"

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