05 Mar Rangers striker Jason Cummings cannot wait for Old Firm showdown
Rangers striker Jason Cummings insists he is ready for his Old Firm baptism as he pleaded with boss Graeme Murty to let him loose on Celtic.
The on-loan Nottingham Forest frontman set up a William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final showdown with Brendan Rodgers’ treble-chasers as he bagged his first ever hat-trick in Rangers’ last-eight triumph over Falkirk.
But before that Hampden clash next month, the Light Blues must face their bitter foes in Ladbrokes Premiership action next week.
Cummings was deputising for injured winger Jamie Murphy against the Bairns but Murty admits he could be back in time for Sunday’s derby battle, leaving him with a major dilemma over who to start.
But Cummings – who hit five goals in nine Edinburgh derbies for former club Hibernian – made his case, saying: “It’s a game I cannot wait to be a part of to be honest. I’m all excited and you hear a lot of stories and all the history.
“It’s a massive occasion and something I want to be a part of.
“I want to tell my grandchildren I played in a game like that so, yeah, I want to play.
“I feel it suits me when it’s a bigger occasion, I feel I come more alive. I don’t know if it’s a motivation thing, when you’re going to lesser teams you’re less motivated or whenever, but the big games seem to bring out the best in me.
“So I thrive off that.”
Cummings has been made to bide his time since sealing his loan switch from Forest.
Murty admits the confident striker has lost a bit of his swagger while kicking his heels on the bench but encouraged the 22-year-old to rediscover his ‘gallus’ streak.
That Glasgow street slang was lost on Edinburgh boy Cummings but he insists he remains as confident as ever.
“Gallus? I don’t know what it means,” he said before quipping: “William Gallas?
“I’m just myself, it doesn’t matter if I’m playing or not playing.
“When I’m not in the team I don’t mope about, I just do what I normally do and I’m always ready for selection – like today.
“I’ve not played left mid in my life I don’t think. But as long as I’m playing I’m not bothered.
“That’s my first hat-trick and it’s taken me a long time.
“It’s a good feeling to get that, especially at Ibrox – but more importantly, we are into the next round.
“I can’t wait until Celtic next week.
“The boys are buzzing with the draw too, these are the games you want. We’re going to have to beat them to win the cup, so why not just make it the semi-final.
“The boys are confident just now and we can’t wait to play that.
“Of course, we don’t want to see Celtic winning trebles and winning all the time. We’re trying to put a bit more pressure on them and I feel like we are.
“We can just take it week by week and win every game we can and we’ll see what happens in the cup and the league.”