WALTER SMITH was disappointed with his side's performance against Liverpool this afternoon but feels that Rafa Benitez's team could now be in a position to challenge Chelsea and Manchester United for the Premiership title.
Goals from Fernando Torres, David Ngog, Yossi Benayoun and Xabi Alonso gave the Reds a comfortable victory at Ibrox and their second-half performance, in particular, was hugely impressive.
Smith admitted after the final whistle that their were not many positives to take from the game from Rangers perspective and that his players have to raise their standards before Tuesday night's massive Champions League qualifier against Kaunas.
He said: "We can't take a lot from the game apart from the fact we were well beaten. There is no excuses from our point of view.
"The first-half was possibly the best period for us in that we managed to compete and create a few chances.
"But we were poor in the second and, overall, Liverpool were by far the better team.
"The result was disappointing but we have to improve, there is no other way to look at it.
"We need to get up and raise our standards and we have to do that very quickly."
The strength of Liverpool's squad was evident on the day but Smith felt his side should have competed better.
"It's been the same for years and we know that in terms of finance and depth of squad clubs in the Premiership have a big advantage.
"But we have been able to compete with these teams in the past. We had pre-season friendlies last season, including a game against Chelsea, and we handled the situation far better.
"We just have to face up to the fact that we are not reaching the same level of performance as we did even in the early parts of last season.
"This is something we need to deal with."
The £40m partnership of Robbie Keane and Fernando Torres started against Rangers this afternoon and Smith feels this will give Liverpool an extra dimension this season.
"I think they are both very good players and will score a lot of goals between them this season.
"Liverpool might have to change the way they play slightly in terms of the way Keane operates on the pitch.
"But he has a lot of quality and, looking at the Liverpool squad right now, I think they may be in a great position to challenge for the Premiership."