Michael Beale has conceded the probability of winning the cinch Premiership title back from Celtic is “low” but insists Rangers will keep chasing.
The Light Blues are unbeaten in 13 matches since Beale took over as boss from Giovanni van Bronckhorst in November – 12 wins and a draw – but still sit nine points behind their Old Firm rivals at the top of the table.
The Glasgow giants will meet in the ViaPlay Cup final at Hampden Park on February 26 and Rangers’ scrappy 3-2 win over Partick Thistle last weekend set up a Scottish Cup quarter-final tie against Raith Rovers at Ibrox.
Ahead of the trip to Livingston on Saturday, which will be league fixture number 26 out of 38 for the Govan side, Beale was asked at a media conference to assess his side’s title chances.
He said: “If you looked at probability, the probability is low because the games are running out and there are only so many games left.
“We are in very good form. Celtic are in very good form and their form has run longer than ours so you would say it is outstanding form.
“What I would say is momentum can change things in football so all we have to do is keep doing our job and hope the momentum changes.
“If it doesn’t, we still have to win games for Rangers and build our team stronger for the cup competitions and what has to come.
“We cannot take a foot off it, that’s why I was a little bit annoyed at the weekend’s performance.”
Beale revealed he left Ibrox feeling flat following the controversial victory over Championship side Thistle, who sacked manager Ian McCall just hours later.
The controversy surrounded Malik Tillman’s goal for Rangers when the game was tied at 1-1.
The USA international, on loan from Bayern Munich, was unaware that it had been the home side who had put the ball out for him to receive treatment for an injury.
Jags captain Kevin Holt looked to launch a long ball from a throw-in back into the Gers half but Tillman robbed him and ran through to put the ball in the net.
Amid Thistle fury and some confusion, Beale instructed his players to allow Scott Tiffoney to run up the pitch and equalise and the Light Blues eventually snatched victory with four minutes of normal time remaining when Connor McAvoy headed into his own net.
Beale was surprised by Thistle’s decision to get rid of McCall and his management team and said: “I thought his team played ever so well on the day.
“They put in a stronger performance than some Premiership teams have done at Ibrox. I was surprised. Sunday was an interesting day. I haven’t had many days like that in football.
“I felt quite flat coming away from the stadium because there were a lot of things that happened and obviously I heard about Ian’s situation as well.
“I didn’t leave until a couple of hours after the game, by which time I had heard and I thought, ‘wow’ how much can happen in one day.
“It was an interesting day and some parts were not so nice.”
Beale was asked about winger Ryan Kent and striker Alfredo Morelos, two of several players whose contracts run out at the end of the season.
The Gers boss confirmed “talks are ongoing” and is “more confident” than perhaps previously, but stressed how important the run-in was to next season.
He said: “The club know my feelings on it. The players and their representatives are talking.
“The way that this club ends this season will determine everything for more than just those players. There is a lot to play for at this moment in time.
“We know the emotions in this city based around where you finish and whether you hold a trophy above your head between now and the end of the season.
“That has a big part to play in terms of the make-up of our squad next year.
“Any comments I have made recently are not to show I am less confident, if anything I am more confident today.”