McGregor ready to face down his child­hood club com­rade Grif­fiths

The Herald - Sport - - LEAGUE CUP SEMI-FINALS - MATTHEW LIND­SAY

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”

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