The Ibrox club are hoping to emulate Gretna by winning successive promotions to the top flight after entering the Scottish Football League.
But having eased their way past part-time opposition for the past two years on their way to promotion, Rangers will face a tougher challenge this time around.
As well as Queen of the South and Raith Rovers, who both denied the Ibrox team Ramsdens Cup glory in the past two seasons, Hibernian and Hearts have dropped down to the Championship and will be aiming for a quick return to join the country’s elite clubs.
McDowall concedes Rangers are starting to think about reaching the top flight, but they are not taking progress for granted as they prepare for their first ever game in the Championship against Hearts on Sunday.
"Obviously we are one away but it is easy to say that, we know that there is a bit of work to be done this season,” McDowall said.
"We don't think it is a certainty, we are not saying that. I would like to think we are favourites but you never know.
"We know we have to work hard this season, probably harder than we have had to work before.
"It is an exciting league, obviously Hearts and Hibs coming down certainly makes it more exciting but it is going to be tough and you can't forget the other teams in the league.
"All the games will be tough.
"But we are well up for it, we have a good squad of players who are up for it so bring Sunday on. It is a great game for everybody."We are excited about the prospect of the new season and this is a great game to open the season with, so we look forward to it."