Murdo MacLeod has said that Rangers should ditch the notion they were the victims of a miscarriage of justice four years ago as they get set to renew their rivalry with Celtic.
Walter Smith stoked things up ahead of Sunday’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final by insisting a bitterness remains over the decision to force the club to begin again in Scotland’s fourth tier
The manager who delivered 21 major honours in two spells believes that it will act as motivation for the club for years to come.
Celtic great MacLeod, however, says now that Rangers are facing their old rivals at Hampden and with a return to the top flight only months away, they should draw a line under the turbulence of the past four years
Macleod said: “Driving yesterday I was hearing everybody on the radio still talking about it. It’s in the past.
“You can look back on great times that you’ve had in football in the past, and there’s nothing better for any football fan to look back on their highlights. Everyone’s had a highlight.
“The lowlight for Rangers is what happened four years ago, but they’ve got to move on.
“If in ten years’ time Rangers have gone on and won titles, then everything else will be in the past and they’ll not talk about that again. But you can’t use that as a motivation to make you play better, because you won’t. Everybody has got to move on and just get on with it.
“You hear fans of other clubs saying they wanted Rangers down in the bottom league, but for me everyone has to move on. It comes back to the old saying, just do your talking on the pitch.”
While Smith made it plain that he believes no-one associated with Rangers will ever forget what happened to the club, MacLeod makes the point that hardly any of the staff and players from that time remain.
Mark Warburton has completely overhauled the squad and from that point of view MacLeod feels it will have no influence.
He said: “I don’t think the players will be going out with that mentality, because all of the players have arrived when Rangers were down the leagues and have made their way up.
“They’ve had a wonderful season and all of the ones who have come in this year will have enjoyed it.
“Hopefully they’ve just got to move on. When you start thinking like that, for me that’s negative.
“Your main point going into the game should be to go and beat Celtic, so they should be focusing on that.
“If you’re not thinking about beating Celtic then you’re thinking ‘Oh, we’ve been hard done by’. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, just get up and do your job.”
Macleod, who won four league titles as a Celtic player and with Wim Jansen stopped Rangers winning 10 in a row in 1998, says you should always remember the good times.
He insists that Celtic supporters don’t think about the dark days of 1994 when the club came close to shutting down before Fergus McCann stepped in.
“Don’t go back to a memory that’s not been good for your club.
“That’s finished, that’s all in the past, and we don’t speak about it. Talk about the good things that have happened – cup finals, winning titles.
“That’s what the weekend should be about, seeing how far they have taken their club on.”
• Murdo MacLeod was speaking in promotion of the John Hartson Foundation Celebrity Golf Day which raises awareness of testicular cancer.