Rangers star Ben Davies relishing return to Hampden for cup final vs Celtic

Getty Images

Kemar Roofe's dramatic extra-time winner for the Light Blues against 10-man Aberdeen at the national stadium, after Ryan Jack's deflected strike had cancelled out an early counter from Dons attacker Bojan Miovski, set up an Old Firm clash on February 26. Aberdeen finished an exhausting Viaplay Cup semi-final with 10 men after skipper Anthony Stewart was handed a straight red card by referee Nick Walsh for a shocking tackle on Fashion Sakala as the game moved into added time after 90 minutes, but the Dons battled all the way to the end. While Celtic are nine points clear of Rangers at the top of the cinch Premiership, Davies is looking to strike the first blow in the race for silverware. The 27-year-old defender, who signed from Liverpool last summer, said: "I enjoyed it out there today. It's a good stadium. "Cup finals and things like that are not something I've experienced loads of in my career, so it's good to be involved in one. I'm looking forward to it. "It's obviously the first cup to play for in the season. It would obviously be good to win. "We won the Scottish Cup last year, so we want to win this one this year. We want to win them all. "It would be good to come back here, have a good game and hopefully we can win it." Davies admitted there should have been no confusion in the Rangers defence about Aberdeen's opener, which came when Leighton Clarkson's pass split the back line with Miovski looking offside. However, Matty Kennedy kept going, past hesitating Light Blues left-back Borna Barasic, to take possession and, when he crossed into the middle, the unmarked North Macedonia international cushioned the ball past Gers keeper Allan McGregor. Asked if the offside rule was confusing, the former Preston defender said: "I wouldn't say so. If one player is offside, it doesn't mean everyone is offside. You have to play to the whistle. "We got punished on that but I thought we bounced back fairly well. "Everyone is fine, happy. I think we made it a longer day than we needed to but the main thing is we are through to the final." Rangers manager Michael Beale, meanwhile, called for Scottish football to present itself better after his team's Viaplay Cup semi-final win over Aberdeen was marred by a poor Hampden pitch and a VAR failure. Both managers admitted the game had suffered a blow to its image given the state of the pitch, which was very heavy during Celtic's 2-0 win over Kilmarnock in Saturday's first semi-final. There was further embarrassment for the football authorities when VAR suffered a technical failure for about five minutes in extra-time during Rangers' 2-1 win. Beale said: "I thought both semi-finals were excellent, four teams who really went for it. "The two underdogs, if you like, really took it to the two favourites in both games but the pitch is in a really bad state for what is a showpiece game that players are dreaming of and hoping to get to. We need to have better than that. "I just think we have an excellent game at the moment, there are lots of good players in our league and teams are really going for it. I've seen a difference in a way the coaching is in the league. "Aberdeen played open football against us, a really good game, so I think we have a good product and we have to make sure we present it in the right way." Dons manager Jim Goodwin added: "I'm not making excuses, I thought Rangers were slightly better than us, but the pitch for me and the players was a major disappointment. "We were actually saying in the early part of the week that it would be nice to play on a good pitch at this time of the year because there hasn't been a great deal of football here in previous weeks or months. "I was surprised. I know there was torrential rain on Saturday but a national stadium pitch should have a bit more resilience than that. I don't think it suited either team. "The VAR thing is just a technical issue, I think that can happen at any stage in any country in the world, but the pitch is a talking point. "We are trying to market our game and showcase it on live TV all over the world and want to be showing ourselves in a good light. I don't think a surface like that helps and it has an impact on the pace of the game. "You are asking players before the game not to take risks because of the state of it. Every time the ball went back to the goalkeeper your heart was in your mouth because you are not sure which way the ball is going to bounce from one second to the next."

The article Rangers star Ben Davies relishing return to Hampden for cup final vs Celtic appeared first on Planetsport.com.