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Mark Warburton responds to Neil Lennon's suggestion he is unprepared for Old Firm battle

The Rangers managers has insisted he can cope with the pressure when his side meet Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final.

Rangers manager Mark Warburton has dismissed Neil Lennon's suggestion that he is unprepared to face his first Old Firm battle, insisting that he has proven he can cope with high-pressure situations before, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.

Warburton will lead his Gers side out against Celtic for the first time since taking over last summer when the arch-rivals meet at Hampden Park in the Scottish Cup semi-final on April 17.

The former Brentford boss has enjoyed a highly successful first season in charge at Ibrox so far, with his side on the verge of securing a return to the top flight after a four-year absence as they sit 14 points clear of Falkirk at the top of the Scottish Championship.

However, former Celtic manager Neil Lennon appeared to suggest earlier this week that he doubted whether Warburton had the stomach for his first Glasgow derby with just the Bees on his previous clubs list as a manager.

Warburton has responded to that claim by insisting that he will cope just fine with the intensity and ferocious atmosphere that will greet the two sides' first meeting of the season.

The 53-year-old told reporters, as quoted by the Scottish Sun: "I'm sure certain managers will say they have been misquoted or things have been taken out of context. You can't turn round and say you are ready for it but I'm also somewhat bemused by people who say you won't be able to deal with it.

"The fact is we've dealt with it all season. It's another game of football. We understand the significance of it. It's a highly-important game for the fans and it's a semi-final. I get all of that.

"But if you can't deal with that, don't be in the business. My background is one that's involved many pressurised situations in and out of football. If I can't deal with it, I shouldn't be doing the job, simple as that."

Although his focus will rightly be simply on advancing to the final of the cup, Warburton may also see the clash with the Bhoys as an acid test of whether his side is competitive enough to cope with being back in the same division as their rivals.

Rangers will hope to go into the tie having already secured promotion to the Scottish Premiership, with matches against Raith and Dumbarton providing them with the opportunity to build as unassailable lead, as well as the Challenge Cup, whom they compete for with Peterhead a week before facing their Glasgow rivals.

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