Rangers' Lee Wallace envious of Celtic's Champions League adventures

Rangers captain Lee Wallace with Celtic counterpart Scott Brown
Wallace (left) poses with the trophy with Celtic counterpart Scott Brown
Scottish League Cup semi-final: Rangers v Celtic
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Sunday, 23 October Kick-off: 14:15 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Scotland, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app; live text on BBC Sport website

Rangers skipper Lee Wallace harbours Champions League ambitions for next season, admitting he is envious of Celtic's current participation.

"You want to be playing at those levels," he said after revealing he had watched Celtic's group rivals Barcelona and Manchester City on Wednesday.

"Of course there is envy. As a Rangers player that's where you want to be.

"That's why I came to this club. That's why a number of guys have signed for this club."

The riches of the Champions League appear some way off at the moment with Rangers trailing league leaders Celtic by seven points having played a game more.

But, as the Old Firm prepare for Sunday's League Cup semi-final at Hampden, Wallace remains undaunted.

"We know how we're going to get there," said the left-back. "It will take hard work but hopefully this time next season we're in a similar position."

While Barcelona were easing to a 4-0 win over City, Celtic were falling to a damaging 2-0 loss at home to Borussia Monchengladbach.

"Celtic will be disappointed," said Wallace. "They've had some really tough fixtures with their Champions League opponents.

"They are in a tough group with some elite teams but I'm sure they will be ready for Sunday in the same way we are prepared for it."

To have a chance at Hampden, Rangers will need to improve dramatically on their most recent derby experience, a 5-1 drubbing at Celtic Park last month.

Rangers beat Celtic in last season's Scottish Cup semi-final
Rangers beat Celtic in last season's Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden

"We're definitely in a better place than last time," said Wallace. "We're feeling a lot better about ourselves.

"We've got some good momentum behind us. The last two results have been two clean sheets and performances have been starting to gather."

Rangers have climbed to fourth in the Premiership with wins over Inverness CT and Partick Thistle after a run of four league games without a win, which included that heavy defeat to Celtic.

The Ibrox side enjoyed success against Celtic at Hampden last season, winning on penalties to reach the Scottish Cup final.

However, that was followed by defeat to Hibernian at the national stadium, with the Edinburgh side coming from behind and conjuring up a winning goal in the last minute.

That game was marred by a pitch invasion and crowd trouble but Wallace was quick to dismiss any security concerns for this weekend, preferring to draw on lessons learned on the park.

"It was disappointing the last time we were here but credit to Hibs on the day, they were fully deserving of their win," he said.

"But we're going to be stronger for that experience. Hopefully myself and my team-mates can get ourselves back to the position where we're in cup finals and winning Rangers silverware in years to come.

"There's absolutely no doubt that we'll be stronger because of these moments."

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