Rangers: No hard feelings if Hibs snub guard of honour calls

Rangers manager Mark Warburton (left) and Andy Halliday have both said they won't feel slighted if Hibs don't offer the gesture. Picture: SNS

Rangers manager Mark Warburton (left) and Andy Halliday have both said they won't feel slighted if Hibs don't offer the gesture. Picture: SNS

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Andy Halliday insists there will be no hard feelings if Hibernian snub calls for Alan Stubbs’ team to give Rangers a guard of honour on Wednesday night.

Ibrox supporters believe the Leith men should pay tribute to the newly-crowned Ladbrokes Championship winners by applauding them out as they run on to the Easter Road pitch.

But that might be a bitter pill to swallow for the Edinburgh side, especially with their promotion hopes now hanging in the balance.

However, Light Blues midfielder Halliday says there will be no row if the Hibees reject the request.

He said: “That’s up to Hibs. I would like to think [they would] as obviously it’s been part and parcel of football for a long time.

“But it’s up to them. There will certainly be no hard feelings if they don’t. It’s completely up to them.”

Gers boss Mark Warburton admits he would be touched by such a gesture but will not hold his breath while waiting for Hibs to line up and show their respect for his team.

“If it’s a gesture made by a club then we’re appreciative of it,” said the Englishman. “If it’s not then there’s no issue. We’ll see what happens. It happens sometimes, other times it doesn’t.

“So we will wait until Wednesday but it won’t be high on the agenda from our perspective.

“Would we do it if roles were reversed? If that was the case we could discuss it, but it didn’t happen.”

Wednesday’s clash will be a dress rehearsal for next month’s William Hill Scottish Cup final after both sides booked their place with dramatic penalty shoot-out victories in the last four.

Having shot down Old Firm rivals Celtic in their semi-final, Gers are flying high and aiming not only for their first major cup triumph since 2011 but also a return to European action four years on from their financial meltdown.

Hibs also got a shot in the arm after overcoming Dundee United but will place just as much importance on their midweek encounter with Rangers as they look to breathe fresh life into their play-off hopes.

Wednesday is the first of two games in hand Hibs must win if they are to draw level with second-placed Falkirk and potentially save themselves the burden of two extra games.

Halliday is more concerned about Gers maintaining momentum but he does not reckon the midweek result will have an impact come cup final day.

“We’re going to go for the cup and Europe but we’ve got a very tough game in Hibs,” he explained. “They got to the League Cup final and now they’re in the Scottish Cup final as well as challenging for promotion.

“I think they are a side that has not had enough credit for the way they have done this season.

“But I don’t think [ Wednesday’s game will have any extra impact ahead of the cup final]. Anything can happen in a cup game. Hibs are a good team, we’re a good team and there is so much at stake so it will really be the team which turns up on cup final day that wins the game and the cup, so I don’t think that will have any bearing on how Wednesday will pan out.”

The cup winners will enter next season’s Europa League at the second qualifying round on July 14 but Warburton is not worried that fighting on two fronts would tire his team out as they try to re-adjust to life in the top flight.

He said: “I think you have to accept European football and say thank you very much.

“If you have the chance to go for European football, to test your squad, to develop the players, to excite the fans, I can’t believe you would turn that down.

“What we have to do is prepare as well as possible for it.

“It will be a new experience for many but people like Davie Weir and Kenny Miller have been through it, so we have experience in the squad and the players we bring in we hope will have experience as well.”

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