Former Rangers captain Barry Ferguson believes the Gers players cheering breing drawn against Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-finals sends a “bold message” but admits it was a “massive PR blunder” that it ever became public.

The draw was held at Ibrox last Sunday immediately after the Gers’ 4-1 win over Falkirk had booked their place in the last four and the Light Blues squad were heard cheering when they were pulled out of the hat to face their bitter rivals.

The former Rangers icon believes that they have now given Brendan Rodgers’ side “motivation” ahead of the two sides meeting in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday at Ibrox.

“When the Rangers players celebrated drawing Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi they were sending out a very clear and bold message,” Ferguson said, as quoted by the Daily Record.

“That they don’t fear their old rivals any more.

“But I really do wish they hadn’t bothered.

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“It was a massive PR blunder for the club to allow that to become public knowledge. Yes, go mental behind those four walls all you like – but for God’s sake keep it in house.

“The worry is Rangers have just handed Celtic all the motivation they will ever need for a trip across the city and I know how I’d have reacted had the boot been on the other foot.”

The Gers are currently on a six-game winning run and have only once since the winter break ended as they look to close the gap to their rivals at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Graeme Murty’s side haven’t beaten their rivals in the league since 2012 and have only won once – a penalty shoot-out win in 2016 – since being kicked out of the Scottish Premiership six years ago.

Football Insider verdict:

With Celtic being capable of finishing off any possible title surge from the Gers with a win at Ibrox on Sunday, motivation shouldn’t be a problem for Brendan Rodgers’ side. Ferguson will know exactly what it is like being in a confident dressing room after being written off by everyone after playing his part in the Gers’ Helicopter Sunday success in 2004. Nobody from Ibrox went out of their way to make it public that the players cheered so it seems a bit pointless complaining about it.

In other Rangers news, ‘Won’t know what’s hit you’ – Sutton predicts Rangers v Celtic, claims one team mentally weak

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