Borna Barisic believes Rangers can head into the Viaplay Cup final with confidence after making major improvements since the arrival of Michael Beale as manager.
The Ibrox side head to Hampden on Sunday to take on rivals Celtic for the first domestic silverware of the season.
Both sides go into the game on the back of a run of victories, making for an eagerly anticipated contest, and Barisic feels it’s a huge game in the context of Rangers’ season overall.
A troubled start under Giovanni van Bronckhorst saw managerial change and Beale return to take the top job after previously coaching at the club. He’s had the golden touch so far, winning every game but the one that was drawn with Celtic.
Barisic sees that as reason for optimism, and has his eye on lifting the trophy at the weekend.
“It’s very important, of course,” the full-back said. “It’s a cup final and I don’t need to say much more, not because it’s against Celtic but because it’s a cup final.
“We want to win the trophy for us, for our club, for our fans.
“Our recent games and how we’ve played since Michael Beale has come to the club gives us a lot of confidence. I think we’re in good form and good shape and we’re doing well. That gives us confidence.”
Asked what Beale had done to improve the team’s standing and deliver results, the Croatian wouldn’t put his finger on one thing, saying that a number of changes had been implemented that had suited the players better.
“He’s changed the system,” Barisic said. “He’s been here before and knows players like to play, in which position or style.
“He also raises the standard in training and in the game we can present what we do in training.
“He’s changed a lot of things but in a very good way and the results show everything.
“It’s not anything specific but it’s a lot of things. He changed them in a good way and it suits us and as I said the results show it. The way we play also is much better.”
Though Rangers have delivered an impressive set of results, with 13 wins and a draw since Beale arrived, Celtic’s record is identical and they have maintained their nine-point lead in the Premiership table.
Asked if Sunday was an opportunity to show that the gap doesn’t represent any current difference between the sides, the defender preferred not to focus on the opposition, saying Rangers were working on their own game and eyeing rewards.
“You could look at it like that, like it can be a sign that we are on the same level, but it’s not something I’ve thought about, to be fair,” he said.
“We’re just looking at how we can be better every day, be better in training. That’s our mentality.”
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