Most people expect the Light Blues to ease to victory against the Wasps at Ibrox but the defender is aware of how tough the visitors will be to beat.

Athletic were ahead for a lot September’s game between the sides at Recreation Park before David Templeton struck late on to ensure a 1-1 draw was the final result.

While that match was on a tight artificial surface Gers were uncomfortable with and this match takes place on grass, it’s still a fixture McGregor expects to be difficult.

He knows how much pressure he and his team-mates could apply by winning – but is equally conscious of how disappointing slipping up and falling further behind the Jambos could be.

Ally McCoist’s men have been closing in on their Edinburgh rivals in recent weeks and have the Championship summit in their sights.

But McGregor appreciates to get there it’s as vital to beat this afternoon’s opponents as it is to beat Robbie Neilson’s team.

He said: “We aspire to be top of the league and with the size of this club and its stature I think that’s where we should be.

“It’s not a given though and you obviously have to work hard. We’ve been unfortunate to drop points against our main competitors.

“We’re looking to right that wrong and come next Saturday, when we face Hearts, we’ll be ready for them.

“I’d like to stress though that we can’t overlook Alloa and dismiss them because they will give us a tough game as well.

“In a sense, that game is every bit as big as the Hearts match because it’s imperative we take three points from it so that we can apply pressure.

“A lot of the guys will tell you it’s a case of one game at a time and it is in a sense. Come this Saturday, once we cross the white line Alloa will be the only team in our minds.”

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