By Craig Turnbull
Rangers boss Mark Warburton has urged his players not to come off the park against Celtic with any regrets in their Scottish Cup semi-final.
For many of the Light Blues side it will be their first taste of Old Firm action on Sunday and they’ll be hoping to fare better than Rangers did last time against their fierce rivals.
Goals from Kris Commons and Leigh Griffiths sealed an easy 2-0 win for Ronny Deila’s men but this is a new-look Rangers side and Warburton’s message to the players is simple.
He said: “Don’t look back with any regrets and go and enjoy it.
“If you’ve prepared well in whatever line of work you’re in, if you’ve work hard and gone through it, educated yourself and you know you’re in a good position, then go and enjoy it.
“But if you try to cut corners and cop out then you’ll pay the price. I know that everyone in my squad is well prepared so I’ve got no qualms about that.”
Lee Wallace, Kenny Miller and Nicky Law are the only remaining survivors in the Rangers team that started in the 2-0 defeat 14 months ago, but Warburton stressed the point that the occasion won’t overawe his players.
“Assistant boss Davie Weir, Kenny Miller and [goalkeeping coach] Jim Stewart have all played in the game, there’s lot of experience within the camp at the moment but it’s pointless saying I know what’s coming.
“If you haven’t played in the game it would be foolhardy to say you know what’s coming but at the same time they are pro footballers, that’s what they do.
“If you’re a brick layer and you’re told to build a wall twice the size as normal you get on with it and you deal with it.
“Right now they are pro players who are well prepared, they’ve worked hard all season, they are in a good place, they’ve won the league, they are moving on and are looking forward to the game.
“I think they will relish it and enjoy it. There are no wobbles, it’s not a bridge too far for them, far from it.”
Warburton agreed with Deila’s assessment that Celtic are still the better side but the former Brentford boss will do everything he can between now and the start of next season to close that gap.
“Celtic have to be favourites, of course they are.
“The gap clearly exists it would be foolish to say otherwise. They are top of the league, they are champions, the European campaigns they’ve had of late has given them financial impetus.
“This game is important, of course it is, but our job between now and August 6 is to work hard to try to close the gap.”