Caley Thistle manager Richie Foran feels criticism aimed at Rangers manager Mark Warburton this season has been unfair.
Rangers, who were last season promoted from the Championship, have fallen 14 points adrift of leaders Celtic, and were defeated 5-1 by the Hoops in the first Old Firm derby of the season at Parkhead in September.
The Gers have also slipped up in several games, drawing against Hamilton Accies, Kilmarnock, St Johnstone and twice against Ross County, while the disastrous signing of midfielder Joey Barton has also led to plenty flak coming Warburton’s way.
Although their fortunes have improved with three straight victories, Foran feels the standard of the Premiership has improved in recent years and he is not surprised it has taken the Englishman time to adapt.
Caley Jags make the trip to Ibrox tomorrow lunchtime and Foran said: “I had a good chat with Mark after we played them in October. We spent about 15 minutes talking about football and I really liked him.
“He’s very passionate about football and very knowledgeable. I have seen the criticism he’s had and it’s unfair but I’m sure he expected that because that’s what happens when you manage one of the Old Firm. It has been over the top because he’s a top manager.
“This league is a tough league to come into and because Rangers had so much success last season people expected them to be rolling over teams every week. But the Scottish Premiership has improved massively since the last time they were in it. You come up against some very organised teams here and I think that’s maybe taken them a while to get used to.
“Mark is probably still learning as well because the league is new to him. It’s tough and you just need to look at the players who have come up from England and said that for proof.
“I have played in England and 70% of footballers, managers, chairmen, scouts and agents don’t rate Scottish football. But once they come here and see what it’s all about, they change their minds.
“We have a lot of good teams here and there are sides who could handle themselves in the Championship and League One.”
Inverness will be without defender Lewis Horner for tomorrow’s game against the Gers after he was ruled out for two months with knee ligament damage.
Foran feels the 24-year-old had been progressing well prior to his setback, and he added: “It’s obviously disappointing to lose Lewis for a couple of months. He’d been defending really well and was coming on to a real game, so it’s a blow for him.