Gough says his old side will not have it all their own way, despite being the odds-on bookies favourites.
At an event to promote the club’s family season ticket campaign, he told Sky Sports News HQ he expects a viable challenge to Mark Warburton’s side.
He said: “Rangers are a club that have to win every game but it’s not easy. The last three years have shown us that it’s not easy in the lower divisions. Rangers are still a big scalp and the boys will have to put in good performances just to get the results.
“Hibs were a very good team last year under Alan Stubbs; they’re going to be a good team again. With St Mirren, I’m not sure about the quality of them but they’ve just come out the Premiership so they’re going to be a big threat again.
“It’s not a given that Rangers are going to be automatic champions.”
While manager Warburton refuses to be drawn on speculation surrounding Hibernian midfielder Scott Allan, Gough thinks the player needs to have the right attitude even if he doesn’t get his move.
“I’m on the same page as him,” said the former Tottenham defender. “He is someone else’s player at this moment in time so it’s not even worth talking about.
“If they do a deal then they do a deal. If not Scott Allan has to get his head down at the team he is at and show a good attitude. I’m sure he’ll work hard whether he’s at Hibs or not.”
Gough made over 300 appearances for Rangers over two spells, winning nine Premiership titles, three Scottish Cups and six League Cups. And even though he is used to seeing the Ibrox club collect copious amounts of silverware he does not think that should be their priority.
“Anyone can win a cup,” said Gough. “That’s the beauty of our cup competitions. Look at St Johnstone and Inverness over the last couple of years. That shows you that anyone can win the cup; it’s not just the favourites.”
“It would be great if they can get to a cup final or win a cup but we have to get promotion this year, and that’s the number one goal.”
The former central defender knows all too well the importance for the club’s fans to be back competing with Celtic at the top of Scottish football again, and with already 32,000 season tickets sold the Ibrox supporters are clearly eager for Warburton to deliver that goal.
However, Gough feels Rangers need to get their house fully in order first.
“It’s very difficult to put a time frame on things,” he said. “The club over the last three years has been systematically broken up and there’s a lot of fixing needs to happen before we get back to the level we were at.
“But at least now we have the right people in charge and they’ll make sure that happens. The supporters trust the people in charge at the moment, which have the club’s best interests at heart. And that wasn’t the case over the last three years.”