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Rangers boss Mark Warburton doesn't expect a repeat of ugly Hampden scenes

By Ronnie Esplin

Published 20/10/2016

Feeling good: Mark Waburton is sure Gers are in fine fettle
Feeling good: Mark Waburton is sure Gers are in fine fettle

Rangers boss Mark Warburton insists he has no security concerns ahead of his side's first visit to Hampden since May's trouble-hit Scottish Cup final.

Gers will make their return to the national stadium at Hampden Park when they take on Celtic in Sunday's Betfred Scottish Cup semi-final.

Their last Hampden clash ended in chaos when thousands of Hibernian fans flooded on to the pitch to celebrate a dramatic 3-2 victory as they claimed their first Scottish Cup in 114 years.

But the Ibrox outfit say a number of their players and officials were targeted with abuse.

Clashes also broke out on the playing surface when a number of Rangers fans leapt from the stands to confront a section of the Hibs support who took the pitch invasion as an opportunity to taunt their rivals.

Rangers last month issued a statement demanding the Scottish Football Association take action to ensure there is no repeat of the disorder, adding: "It should be understood Rangers will not tolerate any of their employees being attacked with impunity."

But Warburton insists his side are not worried about those ugly scenes being played out again.

"It wouldn't even enter our minds at all," said the Englishman.

"No (it is not a concern). It's a fantastic stadium, it's a great atmosphere, the playing surface I'm sure is in great condition and we're looking forward to it."

Warburton and his players were rushed from the Hampden pitch as the trouble flared and left the stadium without hanging about for their runners-up medals.

But they do have happier memories from last term after their semi-final victory over the Hoops and the Petrofac Cup final victory against Peterhead.

And Warburton hopes his men can put on a display closer to those than the one they managed last month, when Brendan Rodgers' rampant side dished out a merciless 5-1 battering.

"I hope the big, wide pitch suits us," he said. "Offensively there are more spaces to play in but defensively it means there are also more areas to cover.

"But it's a pitch we have performed well on before. We're up against a team in form but we have to keep getting better and hope we get the kind of performance we hope gives us the result.

"The fact we've beaten Celtic there before doesn't come into it mentally. What does is the fact we know the dressing rooms, we are familiar with the set-up of a big occasion at the national stadium.

"The hotel, the journey time, getting everything right. That's important, but everything else? Not at all.

"People will look at us (after the last Old Firm game) because of the size of the club. What we have to do is focus on our level of performance. We've tried to get some improvement on a consistent basis over the last couple of weeks and I think we've achieved that.

"There were many things we had done regularly up until that last match but didn't do at Parkhead. I respect we were up against a very good level of performance but we didn't perform on that day. Our job is to find out why not and how we can do better."

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