Former Celtic midfielder Billy Stark insists Rangers will be a much tougher prospect for Hoops in Scottish Cup semi-final than they were last season

Rangers FC Stands

Stark believes the Scottish Championship leaders are a much improved team from the last time these two sides met.

Former Celtic midfielder Billy Stark has warned the Hoops that the current Rangers side is a much better team than the one that Ronny Deila's men dumped out of the Scottish League Cup semi-final last season, the Daily Record reports.

The Old Firm rivals will meet in the last four of the Scottish Cup next month, but with Mark Warburton's men currently outside of the Scottish Premiership, it has been over a year since the pair's last meeting.

And while Celtic came out on top on that occasion with a 2-0 win, Stark has insisted that his old side would be foolish to not expect a much tougher contest when the rivals meet in April.

"Rangers are in a very different place compared to the semi-final of last year," he told the Record.

"Celtic were so comfortable. There is no way that will be the case this time."

While the Bhoys undoubtedly have the stronger squad going into the game, and boast much greater depth that what Warburton has available to him, there appears to be a largely harmonious atmosphere at Ibrox currently that has arguably been lacking for several years.

The Light Blues enjoy a comfortable lead at the top of the Scottish Championship, and could have promotion wrapped up by the time that the semi-final rolls around. 

Meanwhile, Celtic's narrow one point lead at the top of the Premiership means that they are much more likely to have other priorities going into the game, which may make their job more difficult.

And while they had no problem sealing a comfortable win last time, Stark is concerned that any complacency on this occasion could allow Rangers to cause an upset.

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