Rangers skipper Lee Wallace admits he has cast an envious eye at Celtic’s Champions League group and still has not given up hope it will be his side running out on Europe’s biggest stage next term.
Gers’ Old Firm rivals landed themselves a £20million windfall when they were drawn alongside Barcelona, Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach in Group C.
It may be a so-called group of death for the Scottish champions but the glamour ties have whipped the Parkhead faithful into an excited frenzy.
And while the Hoops have been taking on some of the biggest stars in world football, the Light Blues captain admits he has been watching the competition wishing it was him.
Reaching the promised land of the Champions League still appears to be a distant dream for Wallace and his team-mates as they trail their foes by seven points having played a game more.
But the Scotland defender is nothing if not ambitious.
He said: “I’m watching Barcelona-Manchester City last night and of course there is envy there. You want to be playing at those levels.
“That’s why I came to this club. That’s why a number of guys have signed for this club. As a Rangers player that’s where you want to be.
“But we know how we’re going to get there. It will take hard work but hopefully this time next season we’re in a similar position.”
Had Wallace tuned into to Celtic’s 2-0 loss to Gladbach on Wednesday night, he would have been given some useful pointers ahead of Sunday’s Betfred Cup semi-final.
The Bundesliga side gave Celtic a lesson in one-touch football while managing to quell the threats posed by the likes of Moussa Dembele, Scott Sinclair and Kieran Tierney.
Wallace’s side could certainly do with some help handling Brendan Rodgers’ rampant Hoops after last month’s 5-1 Parkhead thrashing.
But the Ibrox left-back has been buoyed by recent wins over Partick Thistle and Inverness and insists his team will not be walked over so easily this time.
“Of course Celtic will be disappointed after last night,” he said. “They’ve had some really tough fixtures with their Champions League opponents.
“They are in a tough group with some elite teams but I’m sure they will be ready for Sunday in the same way we are prepared for it.
“We’re definitely in a better place than the last game. We’re feeling a lot better about ourselves.
“We’ve got some good momentum behind us. The last two results have been two clean sheets and performances have been starting to gather.
“We learn lessons from every game, no matter if it’s a 5-0 win or we lose in the manner we did last time.”
Gers will revisit some more painful memories when they run out at Hampden this weekend.
Their last visit ended amid chaotic scenes when they were forced to flee the National Stadium as shameful scenes of violence broke out in the wake of their Scottish Cup final defeat to Hibernian.
Wallace was blunt when he insisted his team had no security concerns following on from the ugly crowd trouble but did stress they were not motivated by the desire to settle scores with critics who have barely relented with their jibes since that day.
“It’s always about proving points - but to ourselves, our team-mates, our manager, our fans and our families,” he said. “That’s the only way we look at it.
“Of course it was disappointing the last time we were here but credit to Hibs on they day, they were fully deserving of their win.
“But we’re going to be stronger for that experience. Hopefully myself and my team-mates can get ourselves back to the position where we’re in cup finals and winning Rangers silverware in years to come.
“There’s absolutely no doubt that we’ll be stronger because of these moments.”