Hibs defender Darren McGregor fears Rangers backlash at Ibrox

Darren McGregor has warned Hibernian face a backlash when they visit Ibrox just two games into the new Ladbrokes Premiership season.

Darren McGregor will return to Ibrox with Hibs on the second weekend of the season. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Darren McGregor will return to Ibrox with Hibs on the second weekend of the season. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The defender knows his old side will still be hurting after losing out to the Leith men in last year’s William Hill Scottish Cup final.

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David Gray’s last-gasp winner snatched the trophy for Hibs but the day was marred by ugly scenes as supporters scrapped it out on the Hampden pitch after the final whistle.

Now McGregor says Gers will be looking for revenge when they welcome Neil Lennon’s newly-promoted Hibs to Ibrox on August 12.

McGregor, speaking after the new 2017/18 fixtures were announced, told Sky Sports News HQ: “It will be one for the fans. I’m sure Rangers will be seeking a bit of redemption and it will be a very tough game.

“I believe they have been in for training from the first week in June so they will be well prepared.

“Pedro Caixinha looks like he’s the man for the job and he will be intent of getting their season off to a great start as well, so it will be an interesting game.”

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Hibernian are back in the top flight after finally securing promotion at the third time of asking.

The capital club will unfurl their Championship flag ahead of their first game at home to Partick Thistle on August 5 - with that date still subject to TV selections - but McGregor admits he is already eyeing up the club’s first showdown with city rivals Hearts on October 25.

He said: “It’s great to be back with the big boys. We’ve got an opening day game with Partick Thistle who last year acquitted themselves really well.

“They made the top six and that has to be the benchmark for us too. The aspirations are top six and anything over and above that would be a big bonus - but that has to be the benchmark.

“I was half panicking the first game would be against the Jambos but fortunately enough that will be the tail end of October. It’s a Wednesday night under the lights at Easter Road and we’ve always done well under the lights so I’m looking forward to that.

“The derbies are definitely the first game you look for, then the Old Firm games after that.

“Being in the Championship for three years you want to get back up to the top table, play the big teams, play at Ibrox, Parkhead, Pittodrie and Tynecastle. All the boys are buzzing now and really looking forward to the season ahead.”