Rangers v Celtic

Lee Wallace and Leigh Griffiths

Celtic beat Rangers in last season’s League Cup semi-final

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Rangers boss Mark Warburton has ruled Martyn Waghorn out of the Scottish Cup semi-final with Celtic despite the striker’s return to light training.

Warburton is also short of wide players, with Harry Forrester injured and Michael O’Halloran and Billy King cup-tied for the match at Hampden Park.

Celtic will make a late decision on Erik Sviatchenko, who is back in training after a thigh problem.

Fellow central defender Jozo Simunovic remains sidelined with a knee injury.

Sviatchenko missed a 2-1 win away to Motherwell last weekend that lifted Celtic eight points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

And manager Ronny Deila will take no chances with the 24-year-old Denmark international against the Championship leaders, who have already clinched their title and promotion – and beat Peterhead in last Sunday’s Petrofac Training Cup final.

“He can be ready,” said the Norwegian. “It is going to be tight for the game, but he is progressing and will start training today.

“We will make a decision on Sunday morning. If he is going to play, he is going to be 100%.

“We have so many good players and we will not take any risks with Erik if he is not 100%.”

Waghorn, who had suffered knee ligament damage in mid-February, returned to training this week and on Wednesday had urged Rangers’ manager to throw him straight into the action.

However, Warburton insisted he would not risk his 26-year-old top scorer on the newly re-laid Hampden turf.


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Rangers v Celtic: Six memorable recent Scottish Cup clashes

“Martyn Waghorn, as I’ve said many, many times, will not be fit for the semi-final,” he said.

“He’ll join us for training next week and be available for selection hopefully against Alloa.

“Waggy has knocked on my door this morning. He’s a top-class pro and he’s been working so hard to try and get fit for the game.

“But I think the match has come seven or 10 days too soon for him. The right thing to do is to do the right thing by Martyn Waghorn.”

Playmaker Harry Forrester was also counted out of the Old Firm meeting because of a hairline fracture in his leg picked up during the Petrofac Training Cup final win over Peterhead last Sunday.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a blow to lose Harry,” admitted Warburton.

“He’s been in good form for us. He offers us good flexibility.

“We’re disappointed for him, but we’ve got other players in the squad who are looking forward to it and can step up and have the quality to add value to the squad.”

Meanwhile, Waghorn later said on Twitter: “Gutted to be missing the Old Firm Sunday, just too soon! Still can’t wait for the game. Buzzing! Atmosphere will be incredible!”

Old Firm in form


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Archive: Celtic 2-0 Rangers

Both sides make the short trip to Hampden in good form.

Celtic are unbeaten in their last 11 outings, while Rangers have not lost in their last four games, a defeat by second-top Falkirk being their only reverse in their last 20 matches.

It is only the second meeting of the Glasgow rivals since Rangers’ liquidation in 2012, since when they have won three promotions in four seasons.

Celtic eased to a 2-0 victory in the Scottish League Cup semi-final last February.

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