RANGERS boss Ally McCoist has told Celtic counterpart Ronny Deila it would be dangerous to write off the Ibrox men.
The Old Firm rivals will both go into the hat for Saturday’s League Cup semi-final draw - raising the prospect of a first Glasgow derby since the Light Blues were liquidated in the summer of 2012.
McCoist has already admitted he would take “anyone but Celtic” as he looks to steer Scottish Championship side Rangers to their first major final under his management.
But he stressed Deila was wrong on Thursday to suggest Rangers are weaker than Premiership outfits Aberdeen and Dundee United, the other teams through to the last four.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN
• Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning
The Hoops boss claimed the “best teams are in the top division”, but McCoist chose to politely disagree with the Norwegian’s assessment.
He said: “Ronny is entitled to his opinion and maybe it makes sense because we are the only team from outside the top division. I can understand Ronny’s logic, yeah.
“I don’t think it’s unfair but then I don’t necessarily agree with it. I can understand where he is coming from. In most cases you would think a team from a lower division that is left in a competition with three teams from the league above is the weaker side.
“Ronny would be 100 per cent right in his beliefs if it was a normal playing field. But I don’t think anyone can argue that in recent years, Scottish football has been anything but a normal playing field. We have got three of the top five clubs in the country playing in the division below the top flight.
“So that doesn’t make it a normal playing field.”
Rangers have knocked out top-flight opposition twice on their way to the semi-finals.
Inverness - last year’s finalists - were beaten 1-0 at Ibrox last month, before the League One champions repeated that scoreline when they saw off William Hill Scottish Cup winners St Johnstone on Tuesday.
McCoist says that is the basis of his confidence.
“Celtic are favourites,” said the Ibrox boss. “Surely everybody will accept that? I think we are the outsiders along with Aberdeen and United.
“That’s not mind games, it’s the definite opinion of football fans.
“But we fancy our chances. I believe Aberdeen and United are two of the better sides in the country on their day but we have proved this year that against teams from the top flight, we can handle the occasion and we now look forward to the draw.”
Striker Kenny Miller also believes Rangers can make Deila eat his words.
The former Celtic frontman said: “It’s a game I never thought I would get to play in again, so whether it be in a semi or a final, it would be one I’d look forward to.
“Let’s be honest, they would go in as favourites. They are the reigning champions of the SPL, playing at the higher level, but we would go in confident, as we do with every game.
“We are in the Championship, we are the lowest-ranked team, so [what Deila said] makes sense a little bit. But only time will tell who the strongest is and who the weakest is.”
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS