John Hartson: This is how Rangers can beat Celtic in Scottish Cup semi-final
By Will Butcher
John Hartson believes Rangers’ mental desire to stop Old Firm rivals Celtic could see Pedro Caixinha’s side secure victory on Sunday.
The bitter enemies go head-to-head on Sunday at Hampden Park in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup in the fifth Glasgow derby of the season.
Rangers are yet to secure victory against Brendan Rodgers’ side, with Mark Warburton losing all three of his outings against Celtic, while interim boss Graeme Murty drew 1-1 in March.
Former Celtic striker Hartson claims the Gers could book themselves a slot in the final because Caixinha’s side will be mentally charged in aiming to prevent a Celtic treble.
“Although the hard money is on Celtic, the wise man would back the team who are 35 points clear of them in the league,” Hartson told the Daily Record.
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“They have better players but you have to remember this is a semi-final.
“We’ve seen upsets so Rangers will feel they have that mental approach where they need to stop their rivals winning the treble. That will be in their thoughts.”
Rangers will also be buoyed by the Hoops’ recent shaky form, which has seen them win only one of their last three outings after draws against Ross County and Partick Thistle.
Guilty of taking their foot off the gas after being confirmed as Scottish champions, Celtic must ensure that they are back to their brilliant best if they are to push Rangers aside.
Caixinha will be buoyed by his start to life as manager of the Gers, as he remains unbeaten in his first five games, conceding only one goal and recording four clean sheets.
But they face a completely different monster in Celtic, who have proven their superior quality in the Scottish Premiership this season, sitting 33 points clear of Rangers at the top.
A place in the final awaits on May 27, with Hibernian and Aberdeen also going toe-to-toe for a place alongside either Rangers or Celtic.
In other Rangers news, midfielder Andy Halliday has sent a warning to the Celtic players.