Ex-Celtic hero confesses 'love' for Rangers and claims Old Firm rivalry 'in the past' ahead of Ibrox clash
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There was a wry smile etched on the face of iconic former Celtic captain Scott Brown during his pre-match conference this week as he prepares to take his Ayr United to Rangers in the Scottish Cup. So often the pantomime villain during the Hoops' Old Firm clashes at Ibrox, Brown is no stranger to Rangers vitriol.
Recently appoint the manager of The Honest Men, the 38-year-old's role at Ibrox this weekend will be a new one for him as he takes his place on the touchline rather than the centre of the park.
"It is going to be a great experience for the club and a great experience for the lads aswell. I'm sure they'll cherish it because you want to play against good teams. Rangers are a good team and they try and squeeze the game, try to put you under pressure and dictate the play and we've got to deal with that," admitted Brown as he previewed the Scottish Cup tie.
His counterpart at the weekend, Rangers boss Philippe Clement, had claimed earlier this week that his side would face a manager he knows "doesn't really like Rangers" but, with his tongue firmly in his cheek, the 38-year-old said the Belgian couldn't be further from the truth.
"I've got a lot of love for Rangers," Brown smiled. "It's all in the past for me. It's gone. Yes we're underdogs, we know that. But there have been a lot of upsets in the cup and I've been part of them.
"I know Rangers will be focused but we need to make sure we're focused as well. As long I don't rise to anything, we should be okay. I'll help as much as I can but once they go on the park, my voice will not be heard, so we need to make sure they're organised, well drilled.
"The squad that will be there will be looking forward to the occasion but at the same time they know they need to go there and work extremely hard because there will be periods without the ball. We need to believe in ourselves. It's a huge game, it's going to bring a lot of money to the club but we want to go there and be in the game" explained the manager.
Rangers face Ayr United in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup this Saturday, with kick off scheduled for 5.30pm. All details of how to watch the game live are available here.