RANGERS striker Kris Boyd knows his team could not match Celtic over a season - but he sees no reason why they cannot do so over an afternoon.
Boyd admits his side will need to be on their game to avoid a painful encounter in the Scottish League Cup semi-finals, presented by QTS.
But cup victories over Scottish Premiership sides Inverness, St Johnstone and Kilmarnock this season have shown they can compete, despite their struggle to keep apace with Scottish Championship leaders Hearts.
Boyd told the Rangers official website: “I do think we are of a level right now of the teams we have beaten and over the course of a season we could match them, but I don’t think we could match Celtic.
“We understand where we are but you just need to look at the FA Cup at the weekend. You can be an underdog and go and win games.
“We feel we have got good players and we can cause them problems. We have a group of hard working people who will go there and give our best and hopefully that is good enough to get us over the finish line, but we’ll not get carried away.
“We are under major pressure to perform and it’s up to us to prove if you can work, like Bradford and Middlesbrough did at the weekend, you can upset the favourites.
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“We need to go out and match them and hopefully, with that bit of luck, we can find ourselves in the final. But if we don’t go out and match them and we don’t perform to a level where we can stop them playing, we are going to be in for a long afternoon.”
Boyd played in 10 Old Firm derbies during his first spell at Ibrox but Sunday’s encounter will be a unique experience given most of the players involved have never experienced the fixture before.
Celtic striker John Guidetti raised eyebrows by saying he fancied himself for three goals and Boyd feels his team-mates have done the right thing by keeping it low key.
“Every time you pull on that jersey you are excited and you want to go out and perform but I’ve been lucky enough to take part in Old Firm games before and it is totally different,” he said.
“There are a lot of people in (our dressing room) who have not been there and took part in it. Yes, there will be nerves but it will be exactly the same for Celtic.
“You get the feeling that a lot of our guys have sat back and let Celtic talk, we’re already 3-0 down according to John Guidetti!
“But I don’t think you can be distracted with stuff off the field. You do get that, at other clubs you might not speak about a game until the Friday or the Saturday in terms of the media but this game has now been on the cards for the last two months.
“Everybody is going on about it and it’s always been in the back of people’s minds. Everything is hyped up and the papers are full of it, social media is full of it. For us we need to remain focused on our job and that is to go out there between now and Sunday and prepare the best we can.”