Rangers: Peter Lovenkrands says players' focus should be on reaching final

Peter Lovenkrands celebrates
Peter Lovenkrands scored a last-minute header to sink Celtic in the 2002 Scottish Cup final
Scottish Cup semi-final: Celtic v Rangers
Date: Sunday, 23 April Kick-off: 12:00 BST Venue: Hampden Park
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland and online; highlights on Sportscene and BBC Sport website

Ending Celtic's unbeaten domestic record should not be the focus of Rangers players on Sunday, according to former Ibrox forward Peter Lovenkrands.

Celtic have not lost a domestic game this season ahead of their Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers.

And Lovenkrands, 37, insists reaching the cup final in May should be all the motivation the Ibrox players need.

"I don't think it's anything to do with being the first team to beat them," the Dane said.

"With the Old Firm, you have to win. If you are playing for Rangers, you have to go and beat your rivals and Celtic will say the same.

"I don't think anybody would be looking at it from a Rangers point of view, that we want to be the first team to beat them this season.

"You need to approach every game to win it."

Kenny Miller celebrates
Kenny Miller was on target as Rangers beat Partick Thistle on Saturday, their second successive win

Lovenkrands spent six years at Ibrox and scored twice, including a late winner, in the 3-2 Scottish Cup final win over Celtic at Hampden in 2002.

He also scored the eventual winner in the 2-1 League Cup final defeat of Celtic at the national stadium the following year.

And the former Newcastle United and Schalke player, who won 22 Denmark caps, would like to see a new Rangers hero emerge on Sunday.

"I would hope someone could come out and grab that chance," he explained.

"I grabbed my chance and these things happen in Old Firm games. It happens for Celtic players, like Henrik Larsson, he did fantastic scoring goals against Rangers.

"You get your chance and it is about grabbing it and hopefully someone will go and grab the headlines."

Celtic, who have already won the Premiership title and the League Cup, are 33 points clear of Rangers in the league.

'Rangers have stepped up'

The Ibrox outfit go into Sunday's match having won three games and drawn two under new manager Pedro Caixinha.

"Anything can happen in football," Lovenkrands added. "I have always said it is 50-50 in an Old Firm game.

"Celtic have won the league comfortably and deservedly so. But Rangers have stepped up in the last couple of games.

"They have changed their manager and they have changed their way of playing. I like the way they have changed and the more direct approach suits the players better, they seem to be getting the results.

"But it is all about what happens on the day, a challenge after five minutes can change the whole run of the game."

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