Scottish Cup: Rangers could run Celtic close - Chris Sutton

By David CurrieReporting Scotland presenter
Chris Sutton and John Brown on Rangers-Celtic cup semi

A year after saying Celtic could beat Rangers blindfolded, former Celtic striker Chris Sutton thinks April's Scottish Cup semi-final could be close.

The Glasgow rivals meet 14 months after Celtic beat Rangers 2-0 in the semis of last season's League Cup.

"I wasn't being disrespectful when I said that," said Sutton. "There was a big gulf between the teams.

"It wasn't a contest then, but it could be this year. In a one-off game, Rangers have a chance."

The sides will meet at Hampden Park on the weekend of 16/17 April.

Sutton, who scored 86 goals for Celtic between 2000 and 2006, has been critical of manager Ronny Deila this season despite the Norwegian's side being top of the Premiership.

Rangers, meanwhile, have established a healthy lead at the top of the Championship.

"If Celtic don't pick up, it could be close, but if over the next five or six weeks Celtic get their backsides in gear, they should win the game," said Sutton, speaking at a charity event for the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.

"Celtic have regressed this season. That's why the fans haven't turned up.

"That's there for everyone to see, but this cup draw could sober Celtic up.

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton
Chris Sutton has been critical of Ronny Deila's Celtic side

"For the players and the manager, this is their chance to kick things into gear over the next five or six weeks.

"Ronny Deila is honest and he accepts that performances haven't been good enough."

While Sutton said striker Leigh Griffiths and left-back Kieran Tierney have been "outstanding", he said: "I don't think the rest of them have been at the levels they should have been.

"It's not just about pride and passion. It's about boxing clever, reading the game and having the know-how to win football matches.

"If you look at it player for player, if you gave Ibrox manager Mark Warburton the choice, I'm sure he'd rather take Celtic over Rangers."

Rangers' top scorer Martyn Waghorn is expected to miss the semi-final with a knee injury sustained in the last round against Kilmarnock.

"They need a fit Martyn Waghorn if they are to test Celtic," added Sutton.

"They'll feel buoyed after beating Dundee, but I still think Celtic are stronger.

"But they'll need to perform."

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