RANGERS utility man Andy Halliday will have no problems squaring up to Celtic winger James Forrest in the Old Firm game next week – after surviving a roasting at left back by Wilfried Zaha.

Halliday was drafted into the position against St Johnstone in Perth on Tuesday night after Declan John picked up a groin injury in training the day before.

However, he did well there during a Ladbrokes Premiership game that his side won 4-1 and was singled out for special praise by his manager Graeme Murty afterwards.

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Murty is hopeful that either John or Lee Wallace, who has been sidelined since September, will be available to play in in the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final tomorrow and the Celtic league game seven days later.

But if neither man is passed fit then Halliday will be happy to continue in the specialised role – even if it means going head-to-head with on-form Forrest.

The 27-year-old has played there previously in his professional career and would be confident of being able to do so in a Glasgow derby match if required.

“I wouldn’t have any problem playing left back in the Old Firm game,” he said. “It’s a position I’ve played a few times and feel relatively comfortable in.

“We don’t know how the personnel will be but if the opportunity comes up then it’s a massive occasion and one every player enjoys play in so I’ll be ready.

“The first time I played left back was with Middlesbrough. We had three games that week and I was up against Tom Ince who was being talked up at Blackpool at that time.

“And then after that it was Crystal Palace and I was taking on Wilfried Zaha. We took a doing that day! He is an outstanding footballer. I remember telling my friends ‘this boy’s pretty special’.

“Roy Hodgson was at the game and to be honest I think I got him a call up to England. He’s never said thanks.

“It was Zaha on one wing and (Yannick) Bolasie on the other at the end of the game We were on a good run of form at Middlesbrough at that time but they gave us a doing that day.”

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Despite that experience, Halliday, who is getting back to full fitness after returning from a difficult loan spell in Azerbaijan, enjoys playing at left back and believes it suits his attacking style.

“We like to be a free flowing attacking team with a lot of possession at Rangers,” he said. “I’m not going to be a full-back who is defending the whole game and defending one v one.

“You could see that against St Johnstone where we were at our attacking best in a 30-minute spell in the first half. It’s quite similar to being in midfield in terms of getting on the ball and trying to help out in attack.

“I’ve played quite a few positions but I’ll never complain where I play for this football club. James Forrest is in a rich vein of form and been excellent for Celtic, but it’s a chance I would relish.”

However, Halliday is looking no further than the Scottish Cup last eight showdown with Falkirk – because he knows that winning it and triumphing in the Celtic game will determined how successful their season is.

“We’re in a good place at the moment, but we’ve done nothing yet,” he said. “We’re still trying to close the gap on Celtic and we want to win silverware with the Scottish Cup.

“The next two games could define the season. Sunday is massive for ourselves. Celtic are the favourites but we’re in a good place and think we’ve got a chance and Falkirk are a hurdle we need to overcome."

Halliday was on the losing side in the Scottish Cup final two years ago despite scoring a stunning second-half goal against Hibs and he admitted the memory of that defeat still rankled and spurred him on.

“You do your best, but it’s a moment in my career that is hard to forget,” he said. “Richard Gough actually told me before the cup final that he had been a part of a lot of cup finals, but he remembered the ones that he didn’t win most. I can certainly understand that.

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“It was a real disappointment and probably the lowest point in my career so far. You know, we have a chance to try and put that right. It is a chance to get a bit of silverware back at Rangers so this competition’s massive for us.”

Alfredo Morelos, who took his tally for the season to 17 with his second-half header in the St Johnstone win on Tuesday night, has been key to the fine form Rangers have displayed.

Halliday was pleased when the Chinese transfer window closed on Wednesday evening and no acceptable offers had been received from Beijing Renhe for the Columbian striker.

“We’re delighted he stayed,” he said. “I think the snow helped because he couldn’t get out of his house. That was ideal.

“Seriously, though, Alfredo’s been outstanding. It’s not easy for a 21-year-old boy who doesn’t speak a lot of English. It’s not easy, not easy at all, to come here and hit the ground running and do as well as he’s done.

“You can sort-of allow a young boy like himself who doesn’t speak the lingo to have a bedding in period, but he wasn’t interested in that. He’s come here and scored goals and been a real credit to himself and the football club.

“It’s a real credit to him how well he’s taken to the league. It’s an unbelievable foot-ball club and I’m pretty sure he realises.”