Friday 23 March 2018

Glasgow Old Firm eye Cup reunion

Celtic's manager Ronny Deila. Photo: Graham Stuart/Action Images via Reuters
Celtic's manager Ronny Deila. Photo: Graham Stuart/Action Images via Reuters

Roddy Forsyth

The possibility of an Old Firm derby in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup might have the broadcasters salivating but the contrast between the contending halves of the Glasgow schism is even more intriguing.

Ibrox will host a full house today when Rangers face Dundee in the lunchtime kick-off, but the possibility of Parkhead being even half-full tomorrow - when Celtic host Morton in the last of the weekend quarter-finals - is remote.

In each case, a Scottish Premiership side takes on Championship opposition, yet the difference in scale of the crowds reflects the anticipation on either side of Glasgow.

Rangers, having suddenly sprinted almost home free from Hibernian in the chase for automatic promotion, are backed by a support eager for pointers to their likely fortunes in the upper echelon.

With Kilmarnock dismissed at Rugby Park in the previous round, Rangers fans can now calibrate form against a Dundee side who confined Celtic to a 0-0 draw in midweek and who might easily have edged a win in the closing minutes.

There should be little suggestion of parity when Morton turn up in the east end of Glasgow tomorrow but a sparse crowd and plodding performances mean that Celtic's approach has to be spot-on, even against humble opposition.

Ronny Deila's future has been subject to much gloomy speculation lately, not that he has become the recipient of sympathy from his Morton counterpart, Jim Duffy.

"I would like to have those problems, sitting top of the league, a team full of international players," he said. "I think every manager in the country would be quite happy with that."

Morton beat Celtic in the Scottish League Cup at Parkhead in 2013 but Deila said: "I know the history but again for me it's about our performance. When we perform well we are better than Morton and that's what I'm focused on and I don't think there will be a problem with attitude ahead of this game."

In the weekend's other quarter- finals, Ross County are at home to Dundee United today and Hibs to Inverness tomorrow, so aside from the possibility of an Old Firm collision in the last four of the competition, there could also be a Tayside derby and the Highland equivalent when the draw is made after the Hibs game is over. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Celtic v Morton, Live,

Sky Sports 2, Tomorrow 12.0

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