Stuart McCall calls for Rangers fans' backing, not criticism

Rangers assistant manager Kenny Black and manager Stuart McCall
Stuart McCall, assistant Kenny Black and the Rangers players will have the support of a huge Ibrox crowd on Wednesday

Stuart McCall has urged the Rangers fans to back the players fully in the Premiership play-off semi-final against Hibernian at Ibrox on Wednesday.

The Rangers boss accepts frustration and tension is inevitable for the fans, but he wants them to support the team rather than criticise the players.

"We all want success and I don't want the players to be anxious," he said.

"But if we use that tension to sing and cheer, the difference to the players is incredible."

McCall is adamant the semi-final will not be decided by the end of the first leg, suggesting the tie will not be lost if his team does not take a lead into Saturday's return leg at Easter Road.

"I know Hibs will be saying 'keep the crowd quiet, score first and the crowd will turn on them'," he said.

Matches between Hibernian and Rangers in season 2014-15
5 AugustScottish Challenge CupRangers 2-1 Hibernian
29 SeptemberScottish ChampionshipRangers 1-3 Hibernian
27 DecemberScottish ChampionshipHibernian 4-0 Rangers
13 FebruaryScottish ChampionshipRangers 0-2 Hibernian
22 MarchScottish ChampionshipHibernian 0-2 Rangers

"We're not a Graeme Souness team or a Walter Smith team or Dick Advocaat team, we haven't got that quality, but the supporters have pleased me so much in last two home games.

"It can be frustrating, we do give the ball away at times. Against Queen of the South, the ball bobbles and Richard Foster slices it into the main stand and the crowd groan and moan.

"We just appealed for a bit of calm and support. Within a minute, the crowd was as loud as I've heard it, and a minute later we score, and they got us that goal.

"It was easy to criticise, we lost a goal and were sloppy for five minutes. We're in it together and that's the only way if you want to get success."

Lewis Stevenson celebrates scoring in Hibernian's 2-0 win at Ibrox in February
Lewis Stevenson celebrates scoring in Hibernian's 2-0 win at Ibrox in February

With Hibernian having won twice at Ibrox already this season and Rangers having tasted victory at Easter Road, McCall is not fazed by the second leg being away from home.

"The other night we knew if we lost that was it, so it was nervy," he said of the quarter-final second leg 1-1 draw with Queen of the South.

"When we go to Easter Road, that's flipped on Hibs. If we go to Easter Road without a lead it won't bother me, we can get a result there.

"They're capable of beating us at our place and we're capable of beating them at their place.

"It's two even sides, in good form, playing with confidence."

McCall says the players have "a belief in one another", helped by a run of one defeat in 17 games, and is confident that they can open up teams with their attacks.

One player who may be asked to do just that is striker Kenny Miller, who is not reading anything into the games between the semi-final opponents this season.

"We can use the experience, but the previous results have no bearing on these games," he said.

"We owe the club, it's important to get back into the Premiership."

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