Ally McCoist shares big worry for Rangers against Celtic, backs Bates and Beerman to handle pressure

Rangers manager Ally McCoist

Myles Beerman and David Bates look set to start for Rangers against Celtic on Sunday.

Rangers manager Ally McCoistRangers manager Ally McCoist

Rangers hero and former manager Ally McCoist has told the Daily Record that he expects Myles Beerman and David Bates to cope with the pressure of this weekend's Old Firm game – but is concerned about Celtic's threat from set pieces.

The Gers head into Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final clash with Old Firm rivals Celtic having gone five games unbeaten under new manager Pedro Caixinha, with three wins and two draws.

One of the most impressive statistics from Caixinha's time in charge of Rangers is that he has seen his side concede just one goal so far – a far cry from the porous defensive displays under Mark Warbruton.

A record of three clean sheets in a row is made even more impressive by the fact that Rangers have been forced to use two young players in defence due to injuries, with Myles Beerman and David Bates thrown in at the deep end.

Maltese left back Beerman joined Rangers from Manchester City last year, and has impressed in his three starts, with the 18-year-old offering able cover for injured captain Lee Wallace.

Meanwhile, central defender Bates – initially signed on loan from Raith Rovers last summer before completing a permanently – has partnered Danny Wilson in the heart of defence in the last three games, with both players now set to start against Celtic.

Now, former Gers boss Ally McCoist has told the Daily Record that he thinks both players will handle the pressure, but believes everybody will find out a lot more about them after Sunday's clash.

Rangers manager Ally McCoistFormer Rangers manager Ally McCoist

McCoist added that his big worry for Rangers is on set pieces, claiming that Celtic have exploited that in recent Old Firm games – something that Caixinha will be looking to nullify at Hampden Park this weekend.

“It's massive for them, but I think they'll handle it fine,” said McCoist. “If you are good enough, you are old enough. They've been tested already and done really well. Looking at the games they've played so far, they certainly don't look like they lack belief or endeavour.”

“I worry about Rangers at set plays, though, because Celtic have exploited that in previous Old Firm games. They will need to carry a little bit of luck - like you need in any Old Firm game - but I certainly think they'll really be looking forward to the challenge. When you sign for Rangers this is the kind of game you want to play in. And there's no bigger stage for them than Hampden on Sunday in a Scottish cup-semi-final. We will find out a lot about them in this game,” he added.

What is your prediction for Celtic v Rangers?

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch