Old Firm game 'should inspire Rangers' against St Johnstone, says Martyn Waghorn

Rangers striker Martyn Waghorn (second left) celebrates
Martyn Waghorn (second left) is looking for a first start against Celtic

Martyn Waghorn hopes that the prospect of being picked to face Celtic on Hogmanay will inspire his Rangers team-mates against St Johnstone.

Manager Mark Warburton has warned his side not to focus too much on the derby when they face Saints on Wednesday.

But striker Waghorn said: "Subconsciously, I think everyone is going to be thinking that they are playing for their place.

"The Old Firm game is huge and everybody wants to be involved in it."

Rangers travel to McDiarmid Park sitting second in the Scottish Premiership, 14 points behind their Glasgow rivals, who entertain Ross County on Wednesday.

The Old Firm game will come quickly thereafter - the first time Celtic have visited Ibrox in four and a half years.

"We've got a huge squad with a great amount of talent and there will always be guys disappointed not to be involved," said Waghorn.

"It's up to people to work hard and stake their claim.

"We've got another big game on Wednesday coming up with three points on offer, so we will see where that leads to."

Waghorn is particularly anxious to start, having missed last season's Scottish Cup semi-final win over Celtic through injury and being a substitute in this season's defeats in the Premiership and League Cup.

Rangers defender James Tavernier is left disappointed against Celtic
Rangers have lost twice to Celtic this season

"It would nice to show what I can do against Celtic," said the 25-year-old. "The first game obviously wasn't great by our standards.

"For me, it was my first game back after injury and it was a disappointing result.

"The semi-final was bitterly disappointing as well, but we've taken positives from that game. We played a lot better and showed what we can do.

"We're on a good run at the minute and if we can pick up another good win at St Johnstone then we will be full of confidence going into the game on the 31st.

"It will be a packed-out Ibrox and I'm sure it will be some occasion."

Warburton understands the excitement that the Old Firm derby generates, but his main focus is making sure that Rangers record their first win over St Johnstone in their third meeting with the Perth side since he became manager.

"I understand and I'm not understating that in any shape or form," he said.

"But you could win the Old Firm game but lose to St Johnstone.

"It's about the three points and the next game against St Johnstone - it has to be that way.

"As soon as Wednesday is out of the way, then we will look ahead to the weekend."

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