Rangers' Andy Halliday lauded for subduing Celtic's Scott Brown
Last updated on .From the section Football
Andy Halliday's domination of Scott Brown in midfield was the key to Rangers' victory over Celtic, according to former Ibrox player Derek Ferguson.
The Celtic captain was unable to exert his influence as Rangers reached the Scottish Cup final on penalties.
"I would look at Andy Halliday," said Ferguson when considering the key moments. "I thought he was exceptional.
"Scott Brown is a fiery character and I think Andy met fire with fire and he matched him in that department."
Brown missed an excellent first-half chance before Rangers went ahead and the Celtic skipper was also unsuccessful from the spot in the shoot-out after the match finished 2-2 at the end of extra-time.
"I think Andy's quality on the day outshone Scott and he is getting a lot of stick," Ferguson told BBC Scotland.
"He is the captain, you expect him to play. Whether he had an off day or not, I think probably Scott's role in the team is to get other players playing, but unfortunately for himself he didn't play particularly well.
"But there were reasons for that and the reasons were Andy Halliday."
Rangers were ahead twice, first through Kenny Miller and then from a stunning strike from winger Barrie McKay, who was voted the sponsor's man of the match. Erik Sviatchenko and later Tom Rogic levelled for Celtic.
However, it was 24-year-old former Livingston, Middlesbrough and Bradford City midfielder Halliday who caught Ferguson's eye most.
"Barrie McKay is getting a lot of plaudits - it was a wonderful goal - but for me, in that engine room, it was Andy Halliday," said Ferguson.
"I thought he was phenomenal. A lot of people are making remarks about how much he was like my brother, Barry.
"He is a Rangers man and you could see that throughout the game.
"He played with a lot of aggression - but a lot of quality - and he drove Rangers on."
'Fantastic Premiership next season'
Rangers have already won the Championship title and promotion, but Ferguson thought that manager Mark Warbuton would need to strengthen his squad during the summer in order to compete with Celtic in the top flight.
"I think he's got a great philosophy in terms of the way he wants to play and, if he can add some quality players to that philosophy, I think Rangers could be a force next season," he said.
Ferguson's fellow former Rangers midfielder, Stuart McCall, who had a spell as manager last season, agreed.
"Obviously, Celtic will look to their side and look to strengthen, Rangers will be strengthening and maybe Hearts and Aberdeen too," he said.
"All in all, it will be a fantastic Premiership next season and there will be teams who will think they can go ahead, but there is a long way to go.
"Celtic will look back at chances that went begging and they hit the woodwork a couple of times, but I think Rangers can look forward now to a very good end to the season."