Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish Rangers

Rangers pose a real danger to Celtic, warns McGarvey

By Ronnie Esplin

Rangers and Celtic will meet again in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals.

The Glasgow clubs were paired together in yesterday's draw and will face off at Hampden on the weekend of April 16-17.

The pair met in last season's League Cup semi-finals when Celtic comfortably won 2-0 but Ladbrokes Championship leaders Rangers will go into the latest meeting with far more confidence following their 4-0 quarter-final victory over Dundee. Celtic beat Morton 3-0 yesterday.

Former Celtic striker Frank McGarvey, who helped make the draw, believes Rangers have a much better chance against his old club than they did last season, but still makes the Parkhead side favourites.

McGarvey, who played for the Hoops between 1980 and 1985, leaving the club after scoring the winner against Dundee United in the final that season, believes Hampden could be sold out "five times over, no problem, this is a big, big game", but expects Ronny Deila's men to come through.

He said: "It is a fantastic draw, maybe this could spark Scottish football into life again. Rangers have a better chance this time, they had no chance last year.

"Rangers beat a Premiership side, Dundee, comfortably 4-0 at Ibrox after Celtic drew 0-0 against them in the league so there won't be a lot between them. Celtic will have to be at their best to beat them.

"I think Celtic will win the game, they will be looking forward to it, it will put an edge on them which will help them in the league as well, they will need to sharpen up but they are no certainties.

"I put Celtic favourites because they have the best centre forward in the country in Leigh Griffiths, he makes the difference. Also, Celtic have a big squad whereas Rangers can't afford any injuries to their important players."

Gers boss Mark Warburton claims there will be no mention of the fixture inside his squad until the preceding week, which comes after his team face Peterhead in the Petrofac Training Cup at Hampden on April 10.

The Rangers boss, whose side are 12 points clear in the Championship, said: "I understand fully that it is a good draw for the fans, and all the teams left in the competition were good, high-calibre teams, and whoever we drew was going to be a tough challenge.

"Right now though, our only focus is Friday night and Morton, and that won't change.

"Yes, it's a game to look forward to, but our priority has to be the league campaign. The biggest game right now is Morton, and the biggest game after that will be the next league game.

"It's not going to be a massive build-up either in the camp - it's going to be all about our league campaign, and when the game comes around, then we can focus on it. But we won't mention it until the week of it.

"I understand it is a big game and a big event, and I understand there will by media hysteria, but from our point of view, that game is a long way off."

Celtic swept into the semi-finals with a composed first-half demolition of Morton.

A missed header from Thomas O'Ware allowed Leigh Griffiths to open with his 34th goal of the season. Gary Mackay-Steven stroked home from Kieran Tierney's cross soon after.

And Callum McGregor curled in a sumptuous third with Celtic dominant, and noticeably sharper and slicker than their opposition.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph