IT may be a meaningless fixture for both of the teams involved, the outcome of which will have no bearing on final league positions.

But no Rangers game against Aberdeen is ever a tame affair and the meeting at Ibrox tomorrow evening promises to be every bit as incendiary as any of those between the two bitter rivals this season.

Particularly once Derek McInnes and his players have had the chance to digest Pedro Caixinha’s remarks on their three year spell as the second best team in the country.

Caixinha stopped short of saying their time as the best of the rest was coming to an end as he looked ahead to his side’s penultimate Ladbrokes Premiership match of the 2016/17 campaign at Auchenhowie yesterday.

Yet, he feels, with Ryan Jack out of contract, Niall McGinn set to move on and Peter Pawlett preparing to depart, his opposite number will have extensive rebuilding work to do in the summer if he wants Aberdeen to maintain their impressive run of runners-up finishes.

He clearly believes that Rangers are in a position to overtake them and their spell as the eminent club in Scotland behind Celtic.

“I think at that moment Aberdeen start this cycle of this project Rangers was not in the Premiership,” he said. “I think they really take good advantage of it because they were the second team in the country until now.

“But if we can reduce the distance (Aberdeen are six points ahead of Rangers with two games of the season remaining) we will be looking for things to be different next season regardless of whether the difference is one point, three points or even if we are on the same points.

“Derek did a fantastic job, but I do believe that Aberdeen’s cycle is about to, not to end, but needs to be renewed in my opinion. Teams have cycles, teams have good cycles, three years or four years that they are doing good. But I believe they need to change something.

“When I analyse the teams we are going to play I know that Jack is going to be out of contract, I hear that McGinn is going south, you hear that maybe another couple of players may leave the club. It means that they need to have a new beginning, a new cycle and they need to make a new renewal.”

Caixinha continued: “I am not caring about them. We are the only team in the world that comes from the fourth division to the Europa League qualifiers and all the time the team has been growing.

“To arrive on the top you need to be detail orientated. Sometimes a short or a small step needs a lot of work. I believe we are a couple of steps behind, but we need to establish the next step with maturity and experience.”

Caixinha reiterated his belief that Rangers must look to displace Celtic, who will be presented with the Premiership trophy for the sixth season running on Sunday, as Scottish champions going forward.

“Here, we always think about the first position,” he said. “Our aim is to be up so we cannot look for Aberdeen. You need to take care of yourself, know that the steps you are taking are the right ones and keep working.”

Rangers can draw level with Aberdeen if they win tomorrow night and then against St Johnstone in Perth on Sunday and their opponents also lose their final match at Partick Thistle. But there is no chance of edging ahead of them due to their inferior goal difference.

Caixinha, however, feels that drawing nearer to them in the table will give them confidence next season. “We need to beat them and see what happens. If we can at least finish with the same points, we’ll be good. If we cannot finish with the same points at least the difference is really short.”