Rangers winger Aird backs minnows to shine in front of Ibrox TV cameras

RANGERS winger Fraser Aird today tipped Albion Rovers to turn on the style - due to the presence of the Sky Sports cameras at Ibrox.

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Fraser Aird has warned his Rangers team-mates not to underestimate Albion Rovers
Fraser Aird has warned his Rangers team-mates not to underestimate Albion Rovers

Aird is set to start for Ally McCoist's side in the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final tie against the part-time club tomorrow afternoon.

And the teenager is optimistic he can help the Light Blues progress to the last four of the national cup competition.

However, he is refusing to underestimate the threat that is posed by the Coatbridge minnows in this fixture.

The Toronto-born forward played in both the defeat and the draw to Third Division strugglers Stirling Albion last season.

So he knows only too well that smaller clubs give their all, and then some, when they take on Rangers and therefore can be difficult to overcome.

And he also reckons the game being screened live on television will result in Rovers pulling out all of the stops.

"This game definitely won't be as straightforward as some people think it will be," he said. "This is going to be another tough game for us.

"Whenever one of our games is on television I think it gives their players an added incentive to go out and prove themselves.

"To be honest, I think all players do that. We will try and go out and put on a show for the fans and the viewers by playing some attractive football.

"But their boys will certainly raise themselves because the game is on television and they will want to give a good account of themselves. We will have to play well."

Albion Rovers knocked SPFL Premiership club Motherwell out of the Scottish Cup at Cliftonhill back in November thanks to a last-minute goal from Gary Phillips.

Aird appreciates that the visitors are in the last eight on merit and Rangers will need to perform at their very best to remain in the tournament.

However, he also accepts there is a huge incentive for McCoist's men to perform to their best - a semi-final spot at Ibrox.

The next round of matches will be played at the famous Govan ground due to the redevelopment of Hampden for the Commonwealth Games this summer.

And victory would keep alive their hopes of completing an unprecedented domestic treble.

Rangers are set to sew up the third tier title at Ibrox next week against either Airdrie on Wednesday night or Dunfermline on Saturday.

And they are in the Ramsdens Cup final and will play Championship side Raith Rovers at Easter Road in that showpiece match in April.

Aird has been a regular starter for Rangers for the last few months and has performed brightly out wide.

The 19-year-old, who played and scored for the Scotland Under-19 side against Switzerland in midweek, is hopeful he can continue to feature during the remaining games of this term.

He said: "There are a lot of big games coming up for us. We have big cup games and games that count towards the league.

"The gaffer is going to have to use the whole squad because there are a lot of matches coming up. He is going to have to change the team about.

"I am just delighted to be involved right now. It is a good time for everyone around the club and hopefully I can retain my place in the side."

The Canadian player, who qualifies to represent this country due to having Scottish parents, has been surprised to feature so much for Rangers in this campaign.

McCoist brought in several experienced outfield players in the close season on free transfers including Jon Daly, Nicky Law and Arnold Peralta.

Yet, the youngster, who broke into the first team during their run to the Third Division title last season, has acquitted himself well.

And he thanks his manager for continuing to have faith in him and the other players who are emerging from the Murray Park youth ranks.

He said: "The gaffer has got faith in me, he keeps playing me and we keep on getting results.

"He is quite loyal to the boys who have been playing. If they keep getting results he keeps the team the same. I think the team kind of picks itself.

"I am delighted. I just try to train as hard as I can so hopefully I can keep my spot. When it comes to the game at the weekend I just try to give my all.

"Hopefully I will keep myself in the team. I am on a good run right now so hopefully I can keep it up."

Aird continued: "I knew it was going to be tough in the summer when the manager made his new signings. I don't take each game for granted.

"The boys the gaffer brought in this summer have loads of ability and experience so I knew it was going to be tough.

"But during the season you are going to have to use your whole squad. When you do get your chance it is kind of in your hands to take it. I think have done that quite well."

The semi-final draw will be made after tomorrow's tie.

Football

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