Nico Raskin and Rangers doubly determined to get the better of Celtic on Sunday
Nico Raskin revealed that Rangers will be driven by two key objectives as they bid to topple city rivals Celtic in Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden.
With the Hoops 13 points clear at the top of the cinch Premiership and unbeaten in the four meetings between the teams so far this season, the Belgian midfielder is desperate for Gers to finally enjoy an Old Firm derby victory and keep alive their last remaining hopes of silverware.
“It’s very important for two reasons,” he told Sky Sports. “We need to win something for the season and it is our last chance. And also we want to win against them.
“We’ve now lost two games (against Celtic) since I came. I think the last game was close. We are not too far from them. I’m sure we can do something in the semi-final, I’m sure if we play our best we can do something good. We have to go there with a strong mentality and go for it.”
Raskin has already experienced facing Celtic at Hampden, with his first Glasgow derby bringing a 2-1 defeat against Ange Postecoglou’s side in the Viaplay Cup final in February. The 22-year-old would love to be on the other side of the result this weekend.
“The atmosphere was great, the half-and-half stadium was great, now we want to make our fans proud,” he said.
“The last time we lost this game and it was painful to see them enjoying it with their fans and see our fans sad. We will go for it.
“I am waiting to play in the Old Firm game at our stadium, I have played there (at Celtic Park) and Hampden.
“You can feel the atmosphere, it is great. When you have 60,000 that are so passionate you can feel it, it is something you don’t see in every country.
“You need to see it and feel it to understand what it is.”
Raskin joined Rangers from Standard Liege in January and he explained that one of the main things he has had to adapt to is facing opponents who sit deep when they go up against his team.
“I’ve learned that the standards at Rangers need to be high every day in training,” he said. “For every aspect – nutrition, training or sleep – you need to put your standards higher. I’m trying to do this and improve myself.
“I wouldn’t say the pace of the game is faster in Scotland than I imagined but it is different. It is a different type of game.
“Here you can face teams that just go down (deep) and then counter so you need to adapt the way you play.
“It’s good for me because I am learning to play against a low block and how to create chances against a team playing a low block.
“It’s never easy for a team to play against a low-block team that defend well. It’s good for me to see every type of team.”