Hearts are “the team to chase right now”, says Rangers boss Steven Gerrard as the Ibrox side prepare to host the Premiership leaders.
The unbeaten Edinburgh side are eight points clear of Rangers going into Sunday’s match.
Gerrard’s side have won all three of their home league matches, scoring 11 goals and conceding one.
“On the back of a disappointing result at Livingston, the game becomes more important for us,” he told RangersTV.
“We don’t want the gap to get too big.
“At Rangers, you’re always looking to make statements. Hearts have been very strong, they are the the team to chase right now.
“We’re hoping the gap will be down to five points by full time. That would be a really nice message to send before the international break.”
Kyle Lafferty returned for a second spell with Rangers in August after Hearts accepted an improved offer for the Northern Ireland striker.
The 31-year-old scored 20 goals for the Tynecastle team after joining them in the summer of 2017 and he remains thankful for the backing he had as he battled with a gambling addiction.
“I had a very good year at Hearts,” the striker said to RangersTV. “I enjoyed myself so much and they were there to support me through what was probably the toughest time of my career.
“Now I’m back home and playing for the team I love, so all of that goes out of the window and I’ll be doing everything I can to help Rangers win the three points.”