Mark Warburton sends message to Rangers fans

Mark Warburton wants realism from Rangers fans ahead of meeting Scottish Premiership champions Celtic in the Scottish Cup.

Quoted by The Daily Record, manager Mark Warburton has called for realistic expectations from Rangers fans ahead of Sunday's huge Scottish Cup semi-final with Celtic.

It is just the second Old Firm derby in four years at Hampden Park tomorrow as the Scottish Championship winners square off with the Scottish Premiership leaders hoping to secure a spot in next month's final.

Celtic are odds-on favourites to reach the showpiece but there is a sense that Rangers, who lost the last Old Firm derby 2-0 last season in a League Cup semi-final, are much better equipped to deal with their top-flight counterparts this time around.

Much of the reason behind that optimism is Warburton himself, who secured promotion back to the big time, as well as guiding Rangers to the Petrofac Cup last week, but the former Brentford boss insists that the main focus for him is challenging Celtic next season rather than tomorrow.

“This game is great, and I’m not in any way reducing its significance, but the bigger picture has to be about gearing up for the new season," he said via The Daily Record.

“I hope Rangers fans can be realistic about that, although we’re not going into this game with any negativity. We want to go and win the game and that will never change.

“All we are saying is, there is a bigger picture, a gap. There has to be as Rangers have been out of the picture for five years. Our job is to close that gap. We have to improve our environment, we have to recruit well and improve the quality of what we do, and if we do that we’ll be okay."


It must be noted that Warburton, throughout the build-up to this encounter, has purposely sought to play down his own side's chances of winning by reminding the fans and media of Celtic's stature - and he might well be doing the same here.


The pressure is already firmly on the Bhoys, but Warburton seems intent to ensure that his side have as little expectation on them as possible.

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