Celtic v Rangers: Rab Douglas & Lee McCulloch preview Scottish Cup semi

By Martin DowdenBBC Scotland
Celtic Rangers
Celtic and Rangers meet on Sunday in a repeat of last season's Scottish Cup semi-final
Scottish Cup semi-final: Celtic v Rangers
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Sunday 15 April Kick-off: 14:30 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Sport website and app

With Celtic and Rangers meeting in the Scottish Cup semi-final on Sunday, two stalwarts of the fixture, Lee McCulloch and Rab Douglas, give BBC Sport Scotland their thoughts on how it will go.

Both men sampled the highs and lows of the Glasgow derby, with McCulloch playing for the Ibrox men from 2007-2015 and goalkeeper Douglas featuring for Celtic from 2000-2005.

Celtic go into the game knowing a win will all-but leave them one victory from a second successive domestic treble, so what do McCulloch and Douglas think will happen and what do they believe will influence the result?

'There's shame in allowing another treble'

Rangers Lee McCulloch
Lee McCulloch scored for Rangers against Celtic in 2010

"I think this one is a little more special because of the double treble talk," said McCulloch, who won the Scottish Cup twice as a midfielder with Rangers.

"Rangers know they need to win this game to stop Celtic getting that treble.

"That's all the motivation you need right there if you are a Rangers player.

"That's what I would be saying in the dressing room. I don't want to be a Rangers player when Celtic win the double treble. There's lots of shame in that for me.

Rangers players celebrate beating Celtic on penalties
Rangers defeated Celtic in their 2016 Scottish Cup semi-final on penalties but lost to Celtic at the same stage last term

"It would mean absolutely everything [to stop it as a player], absolutely everything for the club, and for the fans.

"The fans deserve it. They've had a hard time the last few years. It's up to Rangers players to take responsibility.

"There is no hiding place out there. If Rangers give Celtic any sort of confidence they will smell blood. It is up to the Rangers players to start the game well and sustain it."

'Rodgers a breath of fresh air'

Celtic Rab Douglas
Rab Douglas in action for Celtic against Rangers

Former Celtic goalkeeper Douglas believes Brendan Rodgers' side are well equipped to continue their strong run against their Glasgow rivals, having come from 2-1 down with 10-men to win 3-2 in their last meeting at Ibrox.

During the Northern Irishman's tenure, Celtic have won all six visits to the national stadium on their way to capturing three pieces of silverware.

"I can't see beyond Celtic at the moment," said Douglas, who lifted the trophy three times.

"Brendan Rodgers for me is a breath of fresh air for Scottish football. He has set the bar for teams and other managers.

"I think the way Celtic came back, down to 10 men and got the winner, would be the hardest bit for Rangers.

Celtic Odsonne Edouard
Odsonne Edouard scored the winner in their last meeting which Celtic won 3-2

"An amazing substitution from Rodgers, [bringing on Odsonne Edouard] that's what changed the game. He could quite easily have put a holding midfielder on. He went for another striker.

"That is what managers are paid the big money for."

Douglas concedes Celtic have not hit the heights of their unbeaten domestic campaign last season but points to the fact they are closing in on another clean sweep.

Celtic Tom Rogic
Tom Rogic's late winner secured the 2017 Scottish Cup and completed a treble for Celtic last season

"Last year was exceptional and I think if they can get this win on Sunday it will kick them on again," said Douglas.

"I'm sure Rodgers will be trying to work out why they have not been as solid this year.

"They are still a handful of points clear at the top of the league, going into a cup semi-final and have the chance of doing a double treble, which is unique."

King comments 'add pressure' for Rangers

Dave King
Douglas and McCulloch believe Dave Kings' comments on the managerial position have put undue pressure on Graeme Murty.

One factor both men agree might not help Rangers is Ibrox chairman Dave King's comments this week on the club's managerial position.

With manager Graeme Murty's contract ending this summer, King stated he can "be proud" of his tenure but emphasised the club's need to make "the best appointment."

"I don't think the Rangers owner's comments have helped Graeme Murty," said Douglas.

"I think that puts more pressure on the manager. He could have come out next week and done it.

"He's been in fighting the fire after the previous manger and I would say he's done reasonably well. They've heaped extra pressure on him for the weekend.

Rangers Graeme Murty
Murty, who was made manager until the end of the season, has earned two draws and lost once to Celtic

That is a sentiment shared by former Kilmarnock manger McCulloch.

"I don't think the timing is very good," he said. "What's Graeme Murty thinking now? Does that mean he is not getting the job even if they win? It just casts a shadow over the situation.

"He's good tactically. He's a level-headed guy. I think he will be wanting the job or would have wanted the job. Now who knows what he will be thinking."

All that remains is a prediction from both and you may not be surprised at their answers.

"I'm going to go for a really close game played like a cup final and going to go Rangers in extra time," said McCulloch.

For Douglas it all seems more straightforward. "Celtic 2-1 and at least one red card," he said.

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