IT is always helpful to get a reminder that you shouldn’t take anything for granted. Luckily for Rangers, they have been able to recover from the gentle boot up the backside they received the last time they reached the top of the Premiership standings to regain their berth looking down on their rivals.

By tomorrow night of course, that could all have changed again though. The musical chairs at the top of the table over the festive season could well continue long after we have been rocking around the Christmas tree, but the challenge for Rangers now is to make sure they are still top of the standings once the cacophony that will accompany the Old Firm meeting at Ibrox fades into the New Year.

Making the mistake of taking their eye off the ball a little after beating Hearts a fortnight ago to slip to a home defeat against Aberdeen and a draw to 10-man Dundee to relinquish top spot might be just about forgivable from a supporter’s point of view, but Rangers won’t get away with failing to heed the lessons from easing their foot off the gas last time around.

That is the view of their midfielder Ross McCrori, who insists that far from basking in the glory of reaching the top of the tree this time around, Rangers are instead hell-bent on ensuring they remain there by the time they do actually get to put their feet up for an extended period in the winter break. Only a maximum haul from four tricky fixtures – home and away against Hibernian and away to St Johnstone before welcoming Celtic to Ibrox to round off the year – will do.

“I’m not going to lie, the aim has to be in first place heading into the break,” McCrorie said. “But, we have four massive games before the end of the year to get through. It is a huge end to the year for us and we need to try and take maximum points.

“It is great to be back at the top of the table, but we are not going to get carried away, especially after what happened a couple of weeks ago. We went top and then all of a sudden we weren’t. The aim this time is to stay there.

“Hopefully, we have learned from what happened last time. We just have to take each game as it comes and try not to look too far forward.”

A wise mantra, with competition in the Scottish Premiership seemingly tougher than it has been in quite some time. But despite the increased competitiveness. McCrorie believes that Rangers should be looking to win the vast majority of matches they go into, and offers no justification for the occasions they have failed to register all three points.

“There are no excuses for going top and then dropping points against Aberdeen and Dundee,” he said. “To be honest, we should be winning these games.

“It was a sticky patch although these things will happen during the course of a season. That is in the past and, at the moment, we are where we want to be.”

And having started the last two matches, McCrorie is back where he wants to be; at the heart of the Rangers midfield.

Injury has played a major part in the stop-start season he has had to date, but so too has manager Steven Gerrard’s cut and dried assertion that McCrorie is a midfielder. The distinction that the 20-year-old will not be employed in defence as he had been in the past under Pedro Caixinha and Graeme Murty has limited his opportunities for game-time, such is the cut-throat competition for places in that area of the team.

“I have been in and out of the team this season, so it is frustrating,” he admitted. “But, I have started the last two matches so that has been encouraging.

“The onus is on me to keep working hard and then giving it everything when I do play. I need to try and make it as hard as possible for the gaffer not to leave me out.

“He hasn’t really spoken to me about the situation, but I know it is up to me. I am the one who needs to keep performing and keep playing well when I get the chance and every day in training.

“I genuinely think that [competition] is a good thing. At a club like Rangers you need real competition and strength in depth.We have had so many games in Europe and domestically, so you need a big squad.”

Any frustrations that McCrorie has felt on the footballing front though paled into insignificance as he joined his Rangers teammates and the club’s management team on their annual visit to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow yesterday to hand over a cheque for £10,000 from the Rangers Charity Foundation.

The annual opportunity to bring some joy to the faces of those children unfortunate enough to be spending Christmas in hospital is another useful reminder to McCrorie; take nothing for granted.

“This day is for all the kids here,” he said. “We are just along to make them as happy as possible.

“I used to come along and help put up the Christmas decorations when I was playing in the Under 20s. The boys still do that.

“It is nice to see the look on the kids’ faces. It is a great feeling to give something back.

“We don’t do it for the attention. It is all for the kids and making then happy.”