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Ticket frenzy all part of Rangers star Dominic Ball's build-up

By Andy Newport

Rangers defender Dominic Ball has confessed he is already a disappointment to his friends ahead of his Old Firm debut - after admitting he could not get them tickets.

The on-loan Tottenham youngster is looking forward to his first taste of Glasgow derby action with Sunday's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final.

The 20-year-old - who has bagged a pair of winners' medals already this month after the Ibrox outfit backed up their Ladbrokes Championship success with last week's victory in the Petrofac Training Cup final - has been inundated with requests from mates looking to catch the Hampden action live.

But sadly for Ball, he has been unable to accommodate all those eager to attend.

"Sunday is probably going to be the biggest game of the season - the biggest game of my life - so I am going to relish it and go out and do a job," he said.

"As soon as the draw was made I had 40 or 50 people asking me for tickets. I had to say I would see what I could do but my family comes first.

"Everyone wants special people around them to be there and for me that is my family, my girlfriend, my close friends. I think I will have enough to satisfy those needs but not everybody."

Rangers boss Mark Warburton will likely hand Ball the responsibility of anchoring Gers' midfield in the hope that he can curb Celtic's threat from deep.

Patrick Roberts will certainly be one of the Hoops men he will have to keep an eye out for.

The on-loan Manchester City entertainer has made a big impression in recent weeks with his dancing feet but Ball is confident he can cope with the Premiership champions-elect.

"I've seen little bits of Celtic this season and I think we have a real good chance," he said.

"I think I've played against Patrick Roberts in a reserve game when he was back at Manchester City. He is a very good player but we have got very good players as well, so we will see.

"I have seen them have good games, I have seen them have bad games so I guess whatever team up turns up or not on the day will be the team that wins."

But the Spurs trainee admits Celtic will push Rangers in ways they have not faced on their way to the second-tier crown.

"I just think it is that intensity, that constant pressure they will bring," he said. "Sometimes it gets to 70 minutes at 0-0 and we know we are going to win because the other team drops off.

"But I think that is going to be different, they will be as fit as us and it is going to be the challenge of quality now."

Ball may not have experienced the white-hot heat of an Old Firm scrap before but he knows the importance of keeping emotion in check as Gers bid for a trophy treble.

"It is important to deal with our emotions individually and as a team," he said. "You don't want anyone sent off. We just want to go out and play our football, get our job done and win.

"Our targets were set at the start of the season and to now have two trophies too is brilliant. But we want a third."

Belfast Telegraph


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