Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou is insistent that his side won’t fall into the trap of underestimating Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final derby opponents Rangers, with the suggestions of their fitness after being taken to extra-time on Thursday evening.
The Ibrox side comes into Sunday’s game, having played an extra 120 minutes of football as they were forced into extra time against European opponents Braga, with some suggesting that could have a bearing on this weekend’s game.
However, Postecoglou was quick to shut down any of those suggestions when questioned in the pre-match press conference ahead of the game, insisting that his side must be at the top of their game to secure a place in the final of the Scottish Cup.
“I think if you fall into the trap of looking for some sort of advantage or looking for some sort of weakness, then I think that’s where the pitfalls are,” he said, as quoted by the Daily Record.
“We expect to play every opponent at their absolute best. We don’t think we are going to go out there on Sunday, and because Rangers had a sort of big game last night that they are going to be something less than what they can be.
“We will go out there preparing for them to be the best they can be as we have in every game we have played against them or any other opposition, to be fair.
“And that means we prepare ourselves to be the best we can be. I think when you start looking for little things that potentially can work your way or not your way.
“They will obviously be pretty buoyed by their result last night, and they could play their best game of the year against us on Sunday, and if we are not ready for that, then we are going to pay the price.
“So we are going to be ready for a strong opponent, and that means we will go in there absolutely also prepared for play our best game of the year.”
Despite a number of the Rangers squad having played 120 minutes of football during the week, Postecoglou and his squad are right not to take any chances in their preparation or expectations heading into the game.
Going unbeaten domestically since September, the squad’s mentality has been pretty much spot on, and you would imagine this weekend will be no different, with Ange and the coaching staff being insistent on that.
With the size of the Hampden Park pitch, fingers crossed it can play some sort of factor as we look to advance to the final of the Scottish Cup.