By George Overhill

17th Apr, 2022 | 12:31pm

Derek McInnes wowed by Rangers but sends Celtic warning to Giovanni van Bronckhorst

The Europa League victories Rangers continue to achieve deserve major praise but could put them at a disadvantage against Celtic says Derek McInnes.

The Light Blues overcame Braga 3-1 in the second leg of the quarter-finals on Thursday (14 April), putting them three games from major European glory.

But they have faltered badly domestically and face a crunch clash against their Old Firm rivals at Hampden Park this afternoon, (17 April) in what the Kilmarnock manager believes is their best chance at a trophy this year.

McInnes wrote in his Daily Mail column, via the Daily Record: “I can’t praise Rangers enough for delivering another big performance to reach the last four of the Europa League.

“It’s an incredible achievement given where the club had been 10 years ago. But making the semifinal of a European competition does not lessen the pressure on Giovanni van Bronckhorst and his players going into today’s Scottish Cup showdown with Celtic.

“Rangers’ name was last etched on the trophy in 2009. For a club of this standing and tradition, that is far too long. And, while they remain alive in three competitions, this is their best chance of silverware.

“There’s no doubt Celtic would have loved to have been contesting a quarter-final on Thursday night.

“But as they woke up this morning, Ange Postecoglou and his players will have been glad… they were resting.”

Right some wrongs

It won’t make up for falling away in the Scottish Premiership title defence, but a win today would stop Celtic establishing dominance.

Three consecutive Old Firm defeats would show a fundamental flaw in Gers’ plan to unseat their rivals, whatever they achieve on those European nights.

Even if it wasn’t the Bhoys as opposition today, the club has a responsibility to end the drought for a domestic cup.

A club the size of the Bears should be in contention for at least one every year, and probably winning one at least every couple of seasons.

Granted, they went through some of the toughest times in their history at the stage of the 11-year wait, but there is no excuse now.

The Braga result kept alive hope of salvaging something special from an increasingly frustrating season, and similar today would boost those hopes considerably.

In other Rangers news, one BBC pundit has warned the club face “going backwards” at this crucial point.