Jason Cummings believes he has a bond of “mutual respect” with Hibernian supporters and would only celebrate scoring against his old club at Easter Road tomorrow if they break it first.
The striker will lead the line for Rangers in the final appearance of his loan spell with the Ibrox side as they bid to secure second place in the Scottish Premiership table.
Cummings, who remains uncertain of his future at parent club Nottingham Forest, where he has two years left on his contract, says it will feel “weird” being part of an away team for the first time at Easter Road, where he has so many fond memories of his exploits in a Hibs jersey.
The 22-year-old, who scored eight times in 11 appearances against Rangers during his four seasons with Hibs, admits he is curious about the reaction he will receive.
“It is a big game and it will be a bit weird for me going back there,” said Cummings “It is something that I am looking forward to.
“I am not too sure what kind of reception I will get from the Hibs fans. I know they don’t like Rangers, so I am not expecting to get cheered, but I think they know I did my best and gave everything for the club. They did give me my chance when I was a boy, I didn’t think I was going to be a footballer but they gave me my chance.
“I feel that we have got a mutual respect there but I have got a job to do and that is to get a win and get Rangers second place.
“I think I will let the Hibs fans make the first step. If my name comes over the tannoy and I get booed, then I will celebrate if I score! But as I say, we have got a mutual respect there so I will see what they say.
“I’ve scored a lot of goals at Easter Road, so I kind of feel comfortable going back there – if that makes sense. I’m actually really looking forward to it. I can’t wait.”
Cummings has struggled to find any sustained momentum as a Rangers player since joining on loan in January. He has started just eight games, with nine substitute appearances, as he often played second fiddle to Alfredo Morelos during Graeme Murty’s tenure as manager.
With Morelos suspended tomorrow, Cummings will have the chance to sign off by adding to his six goals for Rangers and he remains hopeful of returning to the club next season on a permanent deal under new manager Steven Gerrard.
“I’ve loved it here, it’s been good and something I will never regret,” he added. “Especially when I am older I will look back and say, ‘I played for Rangers’. It’s a massive club and something I will tell my grandchildren about.
“I’m not too sure what the future holds. Personally, I want to stay here but there’s a lot behind the scenes that needs to happen. I am hoping I will be here next season, I am hoping it’s just the beginning for me here.
“Listen, even without someone like Steven Gerrard coming in I’d want to stay here. It’s a massive, unique football club. I am back up here with my family and my mates and I’m settled.
“I haven’t played as much as I would have wanted to but I can see my future is here at Rangers. I haven’t really spoken to Forest as such, and as things stand I will be going back there for pre-season.
“Of course, if Rangers and Forest were to come to an agreement that would change but I can’t be involved in that. All I know is that this is where I want to be.
“It has been frustrating for me so far. I don’t think I was Murty’s No 1 striker as he was playing Alfredo a lot. It was hard coming off the bench. When I was getting a start it wasn’t consistent. But hopefully it’s just the start for me at Rangers.”
Cummings revealed he had spent time on Thursday with his former Hibs team-mate John McGinn and had urged the midfielder to move to Rangers amid speculation over possible interest in him. But sources at the club have denied McGinn is one of Gerrard’s summer transfer targets.
Caretaker manager Jimmy Nicholl believes Gerrard may not need to make “massive changes” to the squad he inherits. “What I mean by that is that he will get something out of the existing players,” said Nicholl. “Yes, some of them will be gone but if he gets something out of the existing ones, he won’t need too many new players.
“I hope he doesn’t need eight or nine. I hope in the end he only needs three or four. He should get more out of the boys who are here. If they have anything about them, then he will do. They will respond to his demands.”