The Rangers player who won't consider Celtic semi-final as treble-ending mission
It is this context that leaves the Ibrox faithful fearful over the cost of failure for Michael Beale’s men at Hampden on Sunday. A consequence of either Inverness Caledonian Thistle or Falkirk awaiting the winners of the match-up between Glasgow titans as Ange Postecoglou’s side are on the verge of clinching the title having already landed the League Cup. Preventing a fifth clean sweep of the domestic honours in seven seasons for his team’s bitter rivals is not the principal driver for Barisic this weekend, though.
“I don’t think too much about that because I prefer to think it is a semi-final against them that we want to win to go to the final and bring the trophy to our club,” the Croatian said of Rangers’ bid to retain the Scottish Cup. “That is the way we look at it.”
The 30-year-old is circumspect over making bold claims about the outcome at the national stadium, believing that the recent history in the fixture - the Ibrox side have lost three and drawn one of the past four encounters - demands caution on that front. However, he rejects the charge Rangers personnel have been guilty of proving loose-lipped over their prospects ahead of facing Celtic during the past year.
“I don’t think so, I don’t think we have been talking too much, or have been too vocal,” he said. “We have lost two of the last three games against them so we don’t want to say too much. I don’t want to say a lot of things because of the situation, talking [about being the] big team, [with] big words on beating them or something, because it was a long time ago last time we beat them. So we are not in that position [to do that]. That doesn't mean our heads are down, we still know our quality. We respect our quality, but it is not about talking like we are [going to have] some party. We have confidence we can win but we need to show it on the pitch.”
The semi-final is being presented as the last hurrah in a meaningful derby fixture for the current Rangers squad. Beale has heralded a major overhaul of his playing pool is on-stream for the summer, with a raft of established performers set to depart. Barisic is more focused on what the semi-final means in the here and now for an era in which silverware success has been restricted to the title in 2020-21 and last year’s Scottish Cup triumph. “I don’t know about players leaving but this is the last opportunity for us to win a trophy this season,” he said. “I can see that people are very motivated about that and we need to show that Sunday. We have had opportunities to win [more trophies together] and we didn't win. That is bad of course. But, that can motivate us now and for the future. You need a lot of things to go right to win a trophy because it is not just about one game.”
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