Neil Lennon brands Celtic fans who insist Rangers are a new club petty

The former Hoops boss does not buy into the idea that the Gers could reach their first Scottish Cup final on Sunday.

Former Celtic boss Neil Lennon has branded the Hoops fans who insist that Rangers must be considered as a new club petty ahead of the Scottish Cup semi-final between the pair, the Daily Record reports.

For some fans, the fact that the Gers were liquidated at the end of the 2011-12 season and had to start again in the bottom tier of the Scottish game means that Mark Warburton's men go into Sunday's clash with the opportunity to reach the final of the competition for the first time.

But Lennon - who also starred as a player in many Old Firm contests - was not willing to agree with that section of the supporters who deny that Rangers would win the competition for the 34th time if they beat the Bhoys and then Hibernian in the final. 

"Some people may see it as that but then you're getting to the extremes of being petty about the whole thing. I wouldn't see it like that, put it that way. I think players and fans would see it the same way," he told the Record.

"Some people with extreme views would see it the other way. People have their own opinions and they are entitled to them. I think the parity of Scottish football is coming back now, which is important going forward.

"Of course, some fans are going to say they haven't missed playing Rangers over the last few years. Publicly. But subconsciously they will be itching for it."

Regardless of whether the Light Blues should be thought of as a different club to the side that finished their most recent campaign in the top flight 20 points adrift of Celtic or not, the fact that the two sides will be meeting again regularly from next season - with Sunday's Hampden Park clash set to whet the appetite - is surely a positive thing for Scottish football.

The history that the two clubs share makes their rivalry one of the most intriguing anywhere in the world. And without Rangers, Ronny Deila's men have been on a slow decline in terms of their performance in Europe, perhaps because the lack of an Old Firm game - and frequent title battles between the pair - to get excited about has meant that several players do not find the thought of moving to the Scottish Premiership quite as appealing. 

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