Warburton: Cup final ideal prep for Old Firm game

By Craig Turnbull

Rangers boss Mark Warburton believes the Petrofac Training Cup final against Peterhead is the ideal preparation for the massive clash against Celtic the following week but confirmed that striker Martyn Waghorn won’t be available.

The Light Blues are hoping to make it fourth time lucky in the tournament at Hampden on Sunday having never won the lower league competition since they started in the bottom tier of Scottish football in 2012.

Seven days later they’ve an Old Firm encounter against Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final at the national stadium and Warburton believes the match against Jim McInally’s Blue Toon well have them suitably prepared for the Hoops.

“It’s a big cup final on Sunday and it prepares the team really well,” he said. “Everything in the build-up will be identical in both weekends. It’s a fantastic experience on Sunday for us.

“When you look at the league table we should be resounding favourites but we’re far from it.

“Cup upsets come thick and fast so we have to be well prepared and recognise the threat that they pose. They will be a big threat and we’ll have to deliver a performance if we don’t we’ll get hurt.”

Warburton confirmed that top goalscorer Martyn Waghorn, who hinted at his return for the Old Firm match having been sidelined for almost two months with a knee injury, won’t be available.

He said: “He won’t be in the Old Firm game. The guy has been out for six weeks. You can’t come straight back into a game at that level if we get through then hopefully he will figure in the final.”

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