GRAEME MURTY has backed Jason Cummings to thrive on the Old Firm stage after he fired Rangers into the Scottish Cup semi-finals.

The striker marked his return to the starting line-up with a hat-trick in the 4-1 win over Championship side Falkirk at Ibrox.

Now he could be handed his first appearance against Celtic in Light Blue when Brendan Rodgers’ side make the trip across Glasgow this weekend.

Read more: Old Firm clash will bring out the best in me, says Rangers striker Jason Cummings

Boss Murty is still sweating on the fitness of winger Jamie Murphy after he was forced off with a foot injury during the win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

And that could give Cummings the chance to shine on derby day as Rangers look to move to within three points of Celtic at the top of the Premiership standings.

Murty said: "Jason just thrives on life full stop. He is a happy guy. He is actually a confidence guy in that when he first came in he was this larger than life character.

"But he has calmed down a bit and shrunk somewhat. I have challenged him not to do that, to be himself and to be that big gallus guy.

"He said he is frustrated. 'I want to play'. Well I said you need to move forward and put a line in the sand. Be you, be strong enough to be you.

Read more: Chris Jack: The pressure is on Graeme Murty and Brendan Rodgers for very different reasons ahead of Old Firm showdown

"Hopefully those goals today will see a spark thrown into him - although I'm not sure the changing room can handle an even livelier Jason Cummings to be honest.

"As long as it is channelled in the right way. As long as it is channelled into positivity and towards the group effort it can.

"I've got no doubt I've got a group of players through there that are desperate to be involved next weekend.

"I'll have a tough job this week putting the reins on a few and trying to guide them into the game plan of what we want to do."