Michael Beale believes Rangers face a crucial week as they look to recover from their damaging Viaplay Cup final defeat by Celtic on Sunday.
The Ibrox club is still hurting from the 2-1 loss to their biggest rivals at Hampden Park which represented another lost opportunity to bring silverware to Govan.
It was Beale’s first defeat in 15 games since replacing Giovanni van Bronckhorst as manager last November and with Celtic enjoying a nine-point lead at the top of the cinch Premiership, only the Scottish Cup appears realistically winnable for the Light Blues.
Rangers take on Raith Rovers at Ibrox in the quarter-finals of that competition on Sunday week but before comes the visit of second-bottom Kilmarnock in the league on Saturday before a trip to Lee Johnson’s Hibernian in midweek.
Beale said: “I think it’s really important to show a response and to win. We have three games in a week.
“It’s a very interesting week. Kilmarnock at home, who are fighting for their lives down there.
“We know Derek (McInnes) will make it really tough. He has an insight into our club so he knows how our crowd are going to react to the start of this game, and I think Killie will make it difficult. We need to get three points however we get them.
“We’ll go away to Easter Road where I think Lee’s got them in good form and then we have an important cup game at home.
“It’s important we show a strong response now in these four games, including Motherwell, away into the international break.
“We need to prove that the weekend was a cup final against a strong rival and we fell short, but the show goes on and we’re moving forward, albeit with huge disappointment.”
The former QPR boss believes Celtic are “worthy” of their commanding lead at the top of the table but will keep battling on.
He said: “I don’t want to say anything against their achievements and what they’re doing.
“It’s important that we make a stronger Rangers. I think the form of late is form of a team that can go the course of a season and compete at the top.
“It wasn’t over a two or three-week period before I came into the role and that’s where we are right now, all we can do is play the next game in front of us and keep trying to win it.
“The weekend was an isolated game in a cup final. It’s a 50-50, head-to-head and we fell short, and we were all culpable for that.
“There are no excuses behind us not performing how we did at the weekend.
“We had to perform at the best of our levels, to have a chance of winning that game, and we didn’t.”