RONALD DE BOER reckons Rangers are in an ideal position to put up a strong challenge for next season’s Scottish Premiership title.

The Light Blues’ current focus is all on Saturday’s Scottish Cup final with Hibernian, but away from the club attentions are already beginning to turn to the race for next year’s top flight crown.

De Boer reckons ‘Gers style of football is well suited to the higher Premiership level they will play in next season, although he warned supporters to be patient as the players adapt to their new surroundings.

Speaking yesterday at a promotional event at the National Stadium, de Boer said: “Yes I do, as looking at the team and how young they are, some boys are still growing in their ability. They are going to make a step forward although they may take a little time to adapt to the top level.

“I think though the football they play may be suited more to the highest level. You need to be realistic and get a few signings, but from what I have seen, the team is more than capable of winning against every team in that league.

“They showed that against Celtic too. They were the underdog, but they beat them, albeit on penalties, but I was very impressed with how they played, particularly in the first half.”

De Boer has fond memories of the Scottish Cup having won the competition under Alex McLeish in both 2002 and 2003.

The 2002 win was particularly memorable where Peter Lovenkrands netted a winner with virtually the last kick of the ball to defeat Celtic 3-2, and de Boer puts that right up with his favourite moments in football – quite a feat when you remember he has Champions League and La Liga medals to his name.

He continued: “I remember our win against Celtic in 2002, and, of course, they are always the most special ones. Lifting the trophy is always great, but winning it in the way we did against Celtic was amazing.

“It was one of the best days I have had to be a part of. It’s a special prize to win – the championship is always the most important – but when you are there in the stadium – you realise how big a prize this is and winning it twice was very special.

“In the beginning when you play the first matches, you don’t think about the final and you don’t really think it’s that important.

“But the closer you get, you think it would be a nice prize, and then you win it and realise it’s a great prize, and when you are on the pitch and looking around the stadium when it’s filled half and half, it’s one of the best games you could play in.

“It’s special and it’s important nowadays to win it as it gives you European football.”

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