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Rangers' Andy Halliday: No fuss from us if Hibs are not on guard

By Andy Newport

Published 20/04/2016

On the ball: Andy Halliday believes the league clash between Rangers and Hibernian won’t affect the Cup final
On the ball: Andy Halliday believes the league clash between Rangers and Hibernian won’t affect the Cup final

Andy Halliday insists there will be no hard feelings if Hibernian snub calls for Alan Stubbs' team to give Rangers a guard of honour tonight.

Ibrox supporters believe the Leith men should pay tribute to the newly-crowned Scottish Championship winners by applauding them out as they run on to the Easter Road pitch.

But that might be a bitter pill to swallow for the Edinburgh side, especially with their promotion hopes now hanging in the balance.

However, Light Blues midfielder Halliday says there will be no row if the Hibees reject the request.

He said: "That's up to Hibs. I would like to think (they would) as it's been part and parcel of football for a long time, but it's up to them. There will certainly be no hard feelings if they don't. It's completely up to them."

Gers boss Mark Warburton admits he would be touched by such a gesture but will not hold his breath while waiting for Hibs to line up and show their respect for his team.

"If it's a gesture made by a club then we're appreciative of it," said the Englishman. "If it's not then there's no issue. We'll see what happens. It happens sometimes, other times it doesn't. So we will wait but it won't be high on the agenda from our perspective.

"Would we do it if roles were reversed? If that was the case we could discuss it, but it didn't happen."

Tonight's clash will be a dress rehearsal for next month's William Hill Scottish Cup final after both sides booked their place with dramatic penalty shoot-out victories in the last four.

Having shot down Old Firm rivals Celtic in their semi-final, Gers are flying high and aiming not only for their first major cup triumph since 2011 but also a return to European action four years on from their financial meltdown.

Hibs also got a shot in the arm after overcoming Dundee United but will place just as much importance on their midweek encounter with Rangers as they look to breathe fresh life into their play-off hopes.

This is the first of two games in hand Hibs must win if they are to draw level with second-placed Falkirk and potentially save themselves the burden of two extra games.

Halliday is more concerned about Gers maintaining momentum but he does not reckon the midweek result will have an impact come Cup final day.

"We're going to go for the Cup and Europe but we've got a very tough game in Hibs," he explained. "They got to the League Cup final and now they're in the Scottish Cup final as well as challenging for promotion.

"I think they are a side that has not had enough credit for what they have done this season, but I don't think this game will have any extra impact ahead of the cup final.

"Anything can happen in a cup game. Hibs are a good team, we're a good team and there is so much at stake so it will really be the team which turns up on Cup final day that wins."

The Cup winners will enter next season's Europa League at the second qualifying round on July 14, but Warburton is not worried that fighting on two fronts would tire his team out as they try to re-adjust to life in the top flight. He said: "I think you have to accept European football and say thank you very much.

"If you have the chance to go for European football, to test your squad, to develop the players, to excite the fans, I can't believe you would turn that down.

"What we have to do is prepare as well as possible for it.

"It will be a new experience for many but people like Davie Weir and Kenny Miller have been through it, so we have experience in the squad and the players we bring in we hope will have experience as well."



Scottish Championship:

Easter Road,7.45pm

Belfast Telegraph

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