Aug 2 2012 By Fraser Wilson
QUEEN'S PARK manager Gardner Speirs insists he's looking forward to challenging Rangers in the third division - despite their presence making his job twice as hard.
The Hampden side have reached the promotion play offs three years running - although without success - and were deservedly ranked among the favourites to go up in the coming campaign.
But those ambitions could well have been blown apart by the arrival of the Ibrox club in the bottom tier following the summer crisis at Ibrox which culminated in their demotion.
Putting the situation in perspective; Queen's have added two players to their squad in the summer - Michael Keenan from juniors Arthurlie and former Dumbarton defender Adam Monaghan. Rangers have made two signings also - Ian Black from Hearts and Dean Shiels from Kilmarnock.
Pitting the only amateur side in the Scottish professional set-up against the financial might of the 54-times Scottish champions might seem like the ultimate mis-match.
But Speirs remains positive heading into new campaign.
He said: "Our aims are like the start of every season and that is to get promotion.
"Of course, with recent events it's going to be made that much more difficult this year.
"But we have been in the play-offs for each of the last three years without success and we have to believe we can go one better this year.
"From a footballing point of view having Rangers in the division makes trying to win the league that much more difficult.
"I have heard it said that the other teams are playing for a play off position but we have to wait and see what happens when the games start.
"I'm sure Rangers will be very strong but it's up to everyone else to make it a competitive league and we will definitely try and do that.
"We always look forward to playing against the bigger teams in cup competitions. You look to catch the team cold on a one off.
"The only difference here is that we will need to catch them cold on four occasions!"
Speirs is sick of hearing the doom-mongers claim Scottish football is heading into the abyss following the decision to send Rangers into the bottom tier.
The former St Mirren player said: "It's a waste of time to talk about death knells.
"We are going into the start of a new season and everyone should be optimistic about the games coming up.
"Lets look upon the Rangers situation as a positive for the third division and Scottish football as a whole."