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Midfielder left in no doubt after Rangers fans lay down Law

NICKY LAW would have heard all the usual rhetoric about Rangers not being like most clubs but it would take him almost six months to discover for himself.

A perfect start to the league season had meant that there had been no need for reminders about the standards that must be upheld or demands that had to be satisfied. Sure, it was only the third tier of Scottish football against part-time opposition but as long as the team kept on winning then everyone would be happy.

One slip was all it took for him to find out just what he had signed up for. Stranraer's late equaliser at Ibrox on Boxing Day brought to an end Rangers' perfect start to the league season and the fans were not slow to let the players know what they thought of it. The message was clear: even with a 14-point lead at the top of SPFL League 1, any slip in standards will not be tolerated.

It came as something of a shock for midfielder Law, who had come to regard a draw as a decent result most weeks during spells with Bradford City, Rotherham United and, most recently, Motherwell. "We dropped two points and it was like it was the end of the world," said the Englishman. "It was maybe an over-reaction, but we certainly deserved the criticism. It was an eye-opener, probably for myself and a lot of the younger boys who have experienced nothing like that because we've won every single game since they'd been here.

"The boys that have been here, Lee McCulloch and Lee Wallace they tell you about it. That's just the expectancy level - whether it's Stranraer or Barcelona, they expect you to win the game. It's something you have to get used to. We're still learning though, we've a lot of young boys and new boys here."

Ally McCoist and the majority of his players had hitherto been diplomatically dismissive of talk of Rangers finishing the season with 36 wins from 36 games but now that the perfect run is over, there is a degree of frustration at letting it slip. "We'll maybe look back at what could have been," conceded Law. "It was something we were really proud of. It was never spoken about and we knew it would be difficult but, the longer it goes on, the more you think we could maybe do it. So it was disappointing because we were really poor [against Stranraer] and should have seen that game out."

Any lingering frustration was taken out against Dunfermline Athletic on Monday, Rangers meting out a 4-0 walloping to the second-best team in the league. Airdrieonians are next in their sights tonight. "It [the draw against Stranraer] was the kick up the backside we needed. We don't think it was complacency, maybe a concentration thing. We just weren't at it the other day and Stranraer fully deserved their point.

"The reaction was brilliant. There are not many teams who will go to Dunfermline and win 4-0. They'd been on a great run themselves; I think it was 11 unbeaten, which tells you what a good team they are. But we know on our day, if we play well, we can match teams' fight and spirit and we've got the players to go on to win the game and, hopefully, we can go on another run now.

"We had two tough games against Airdrie at Ibrox. Their new manager had them well organised and they were difficult to break down. Both games we went in 0-0 at half time. So we expect another tough game. They had a great result in their last game and it's astroturf so that makes it difficult too."

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