McGregor ready to face down his childhood club comrade Griffiths
RANGERS defender Darren McGregor admits he knows that snuffing out the threat posed by Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths will not be child’s play.
The centre-half played in the same boys’ club as the lethal predator growing up — and remembers how Griffiths banged in 100 goals one season. But McGregor, 28, reckons his in-depth knowledge of the Celtic frontman will help him in the League Cup semi-final at Hampden on Sunday.
McGregor said: “I know wee Sparky (Griffiths) quite well. He was a few years below me at Leith Athletic. He has always been difficult to play against and quick.
“I remember he scored 100 goals in one season for the Under-12s. That was when I started to think he had a bit of potential. I must have been 15 or 16, a few years above him. I think he left not long after that. He has kicked on from there and done really well.
“I rate him. He has got everything you look for in a forward. He is difficult to play against, he plays on the shoulder, he is quick and he has a good shot.
“If they bring in John Guidetti, he is a handful too — so it is difficult to choose who you want to play against.
“But regardless of who they go for, they have got strength in depth all over the team so we know what to expect. This week we will do a bit of analysis on them. But we already know a lot.”
McGregor and his Rangers teammates have not enjoyed an ideal build-up to the Celtic game after their SPFL Championship matches against Hearts — at home — and Cowdenbeath — away — were abandoned and postponed respectively.
When Rangers take to the field at the National Stadium this weekend it will be the first time in more than three weeks they have played in a competitive fixture.
However, former Cowdenbeath and St Mirren man McGregor is confident that his side can still upset the odds and claim a major upset against their city rivals.
He said: “Cup games are cup games. Form goes out of the window. Look at Celtic from a neutral point of view — and some Rangers fans might say this too — and there is no debate who will win the game.
“They have got the stronger team and the better form. But that is the great thing about cup games, you see it the world over.
“The underdog has always got a chance. I do believe, yes, they have a better squad than us and, yes, they are in better form than us.
“But come February 1, anything can happen. If they drop their guard and we are on our guard then watch out.”
MCGREGOR: “I remember he got 100 goals in one season for the Under-12s”