By George Overhill

29th Apr, 2023 | 9:10am

Michael Beale backed to hand Scott Arfield surprise first Rangers start since January in Celtic clash in 'adrenaline' claim

Scott Arfield could make a first Rangers start since the 3-2 victory over Kilmarnock on 18 January in the Scottish Cup semi final against Celtic says Craig Moore.

The 34-year-old appears to be coming to the end of his time as a Light Blues player and is largely only used off the bench currently by Michael Beale.

But ex-Gers defender Moore believes that the adrenaline of the Old Firm derby would give the midfielder enough energy to have an impact and has backed him to find the net.

The Australian told Go Radio, as per Football Scotland: “I wouldn’t be complaining if Scott Arfield was in the starting eleven. You talk about goal threat, someone that gets himself into the box.

“He makes 14 runs and gets nothing, 15th he’ll get his goal. He’s an important player for Rangers and he could start because with this type of game, that adrenaline and therefore that ability to be able to run about. It is possible.

“You could bring him on to make an impact, sure.”

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Arfield could well come on from the bench and have an impact but it would be a major surprise if Beale put him in the starting XI for what promises to be the defining game of his first season in charge.

Given how he was criticised for starting with Glen Kamara and John Lundstram over January signings Nico Raskin and Todd Cantwell in the Viaplay Cup final defeat against the Hoops he would be asking for trouble to have the veteran in there this time.

Goal threat is key but every outfield Rangers player is going to need to have plenty of legs for this derby as the 3-2 defeat at Parkhead last time around showed the way to unsettle Ange Postecoglou’s players is to not give them time on the ball.

If the Light Blues boss feels that Malik Tillman wasn’t up to speed for the previous Old Firm, and Ryan Kent isn’t back from injury, then perhaps Arfield may be in the running.

But the manager would be taking a risk to use the veteran from the outset and any wrong move could be punished with a trophy-less season and mounting pressure on his job.

Rightly or wrongly Beale will be under major scrutiny all summer if he ends the campaign having failed to overcome the Glasgow rivals in three competitions, and while he is highly unlikely to be sacked it would give him very little leeway come the start of next season.

In other Rangers news, a new attacker is on the cards already as the Gers are scrambling to get a bid in ahead of rivals that is “certain” to send the player to Glasgow if it meets the asking price.