Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has promised no excuses after they made their domestic business even tougher by securing progress in Europe.
Gerrard stretched the unbeaten start to his managerial career to eight games after a goalless draw against Maribor set up a Europa League play-off against Russian side Ufa.
Rangers players were given Friday off following their return from Slovenia and now face a difficult Betfred Cup encounter on Sunday against former Liverpool coach Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock side, who beat the Light Blues twice last season.
Results on Thursday also ensured Rangers will be 800 miles east of Moscow for the play-off second leg on August 30, two-and-a-half days before they face Celtic in a Sunday lunchtime kick-off at Parkhead.
Gerrard said: “Confidence is growing and it’s just important we keep the momentum going.
“The schedule is tough but we knew that - the reward for doing well is more football matches.
“The good thing is we can share the load, we have a decent-sized squad and the majority of that is healthy.
“We could do with a couple more bodies getting back from injury and if we could add to that before the window shuts it would be very helpful.
“It is what it is. You won’t see any excuses coming from myself or my staff or players.
“We realise it’s tough and will be a challenge but we just focus on the next game, against Kilmarnock in the cup against Steve Clarke, who we know well.
“He’s a very good manager who has his teams very organised and we know it’s a different surface.
“So we are faced straight away with another difficult challenge.
“For me it’s important I just keep the players focused on the next challenge and not get too far ahead of ourselves.”