By George Overhill

17th Apr, 2022 | 12:51pm

Rangers confirmed XI v Celtic - Allan McGregor on the bench for crucial clash

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Rangers starting XI for the crucial Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic has been confirmed.

The Dutchman has made one big call to drop goalkeeper Allan McGregor to the bench and start with Jon McLaughlin.

The stand-in keeper has featured in every one of the cup games so far this season, and the manager has opted to remain loyal to that set up, in the only change from the victory over Braga in midweek.

McLaughlin lines up behind a back four of captain James Tavernier, Calvin Bassey and Connor Goldson in the middle, and Borna Barisic keeps his place at left-back.

The manager’s favoured holding duo of Ryan Jack and John Lundstram are paired with each other again in midfield.

Aaron Ramsey, Joe Aribo and Ryan Kent line up further forward, behind in form Kemar Roofe in attack.

Season defining

The Europa League is still alive but today’s clash with Celtic is probably the last major opportunity to make a statement domestically.

Two consecutive Old Firm defeats in the league derailed the title defence, and a third could be extremely damaging to the manager’s long-term prospects.

Defeat would hand Celtic the chance to complete a treble in Scotland and would put them clearly back on top.

Whatever happens in Europe, Gers need to make sure that the title they won at long last under Steven Gerrard next season was not a flash in the pan.

Fail to do so and a managerial change could be in the offing, and the club would have to re-climb the mountain to knock the Hoops off their perch again.

An 11-year drought since the last time the Light Blues lifted a Scottish Cup is a record that badly needs rectifying, and in the circumstances there would be no better time to do so than this season.

In other Rangers news, that wait has been dismissed as “just not good enough” by a BBC pundit amid a warning that the club may be going backwards.