GLASGOW - Rangers winger Fraser Aird believes his side are a better side than Hearts despite trailing the Scottish Championship leaders by 13 points.
The two sides clash at Ibrox on Friday where defeat for Rangers would almost certainly end any hopes they had of overhauling Hearts in the race for the title and the one automatic promotion spot.
Both clubs find themselves languishing in the second tier of Scottish football after suffering financial meltdowns in recent years and are desperate to return to the top flight.
However, while Hearts have raced into a huge lead at the top of the table thanks to a 20-match unbeaten run, Rangers have struggled for form and have lost home and away to the Edinburgh giants already this season.
But Canadian international Aird is adamant that Rangers have superior players and hopes the match at Ibrox can reignite their promotion bid.
"They (Hearts) are flying right now, playing a lot of football and scoring a lot of goals," Aird said.
"There is a confidence in their squad, and they have a good squad.
"But I still think that we have a better squad than them and better individual players but we need to go out and prove that.
"It is easy saying that sitting here. We need to prove that on Friday and hopefully we can.
"I know they are undefeated in the league so hopefully we can change it and see where it goes from there." Hearts striker Genero Deefuik, who scored a double on his debut against Dumbarton after the Dutchman signed on loan from Groningen, has already declared that a victory at Ibrox would hand Hearts the title.
But 19-year-old Aird dismissed that notion.
"I wouldn't say this game on Friday will decide the league. Hopefully we can win and put a lot pressure on them," Aird added.
"The boys are disappointed with the position we are in the league. But we have a chance to make that a wee bit better on Friday." Elsewhere, Celtic get back to domestic duty on Saturday after postponing last weekend's game to have a winter break in Gran Canaria.
Despite losing friendly matches to PSV Eindhoven and Sparta Prague, Celtic boss Ronny Deila believed the trip had been a useful exercise as he welcomed Charlie Mulgrew, Jason Denayer and Mikael Lustig back from injury.
"I think we got what we wanted out of the tournament, we had a good time together and played two matches against good opponents," Deila said.
"Now it's very positive with the players who have been out with injury as a lot of them are available now and we have a strong squad going into the return to domestic action." Celtic will aim to catch Aberdeen who have taken a four-point lead at the top of the table in Celtic's absence.
The Dons, who have won their past eight matches without conceding a goal, take on Dundee at Pittodrie.
"We're enjoying the run that we're on and we now go and try to make it nine wins in-a-row," Dons boss Derek McInnes said.
"If we can improve and Celtic maybe don't have the season they had last year then it does become closer. That winning habit is good to have."