Scottish Cup defence ‘paramount’ for Rangers after Hampden loss

Rangers suffered their first defeat under Michael Beale in the League Cup final.

Scottish Cup defence ‘paramount’ for Rangers after Hampden loss to Celtic – Kenny Miller SNS Group

Kenny Miller described the Scottish Cup as “paramount” for Rangers following their defeat to Celtic on Sunday.

A Kyogo Furuhashi doubled rendered Alfredo Morelos’ goal a consolation in a deserved 2-1 win for Ange Postecoglou’s side, who handed Michael Beale his first defeat in 15 games since becoming Gers boss.

Celtic have a nine-point lead over the Light Blues at the top of the Premiership and Miller, who played for both clubs, believes the pressure is on Rangers to retain the Scottish Cup, in which they have a home quarter-final tie against Raith Rovers next month.

The former Scotland striker told Sky Sports Scotland: “There’s still a Scottish Cup to win. That’s the thing for Rangers now.

“They have lost that cup final and it is Michael’s first defeat since he came in.

“The league was already done so all focus has to go on getting right back on it on Saturday against Kilmarnock.

“Get back on an unbeaten run and build towards the Scottish Cup at the end of the season because I think that now becomes paramount.

“Cup finals are super important to both teams. It is a chance to win a trophy but I had the feeling that maybe Rangers would have wanted it that little bit more for that exact reason.

“Going into the final third of the season I don’t think that Rangers fans will accept not winning trophies any more, as each season passes.

“So this Scottish Cup becomes so, so important that Rangers, firstly get to the final and when they get there, they retain it.”

A cloud of negativity currently envelopes Rangers following Sunday’s defeat after which skipper James Tavernier apologised to the fans for the performance.

However, Miller, who had three spells at Ibrox and is these days a pundit, insists it is a refresh rather than a rebuild that is required at the Govan club.

He said: “I think rebuild is way too strong.

“I think Rangers have a good squad. They have got a lot of strength in depth. If you look at their bench yesterday and you see Kemar Roofe sitting in the stand as well, there is good strength in depth there.

“Michael has a good squad at his disposal. He will look to put his own stamp on it and he has already started that with the two additions in January (Todd Cantwell and Nicolas Raskin), he will definitely do it again.

“I imagine another three or four at least will come in the summer and there will be people who will move out.

“He has already talked about having too many players there. So, not a rebuild, there will just be maybe a refresh in the summer.”

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