JASON CUMMINGS is confident the Old Firm atmosphere will bring out the best in him as he targets his first derby start against Celtic.

The striker hit the first hat-trick of his career as Rangers saw off Falkirk in the Scottish Cup to set up a semi-final showdown with Brendan Rodgers’ side.

But it is the third Premiership showdown of the campaign this weekend that is at the front of the Light Blues’ minds as they look to move within touching distance at the top of the table.

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And Cummings is relishing the prospect of his Old Firm bow if boss Graeme Murty puts his faith in him at Ibrox.

He said: “It is a game I cannot wait to be a part of to be honest. I’m all excited and you hear a lot of stories and all the history.

“It’s a massive occasion and something I want to be a part of. I want to tell my grandchildren I played in a game like that so, yeah, I want to play.

“I feel it suits it when it’s a bigger occasion, I feel I come more alive.

“I don’t know if it’s a motivation thing, when you’re going to lesser teams you’re less motivated or whenever, but the big games seem to bring out the best in me. So I thrive off that.”

Cummings did his chances of a starting spot against Celtic no harm as he replaced Jamie Murphy on the left and turned in an impressive performance against the Bairns.

And the 22-year-old was pleased with his efforts as Rangers booked their place in the semi-finals at Hampden once again.

Cummings said: “That’s my first hat-trick and it’s taken me a long time.

“I’ve been in the game for a few years and I’ve never actually scored a hat-trick.

“It’s a good feeling to get that, especially at Ibrox. More importantly, we are into the next round.

“After the game I was just buzzing. We got the job done and that’s what we wanted to do.

“We’ve been picking up good results in the last few weeks and the confidence in the dressing room is through the roof. I can’t wait until Celtic next week.

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“It’s up to the gaffer. I’m always available.

“Obviously I want to start every game - it’s what I came up here to do. I want to be a part of the big games but as I say it’s gaffer’s decision.”

Victory over Celtic this weekend would move Rangers to within three points of the Premiership summit and spark talk of a potential title race in the closing weeks of the campaign.

But the Light Blues have an earlier chance to end their Glasgow rivals’ ambitions of another domestic clean sweep as they get set to go head-to-head at Hampden.

And Cummings is confident Murty’s side can push Celtic all the way in what could be an intriguing final few weeks of the season.

He said: “The boys are buzzing, these are the games you want. We’re going to have to beat them to win the cup, so why not just make it the semi-final.

“The boys are confident just now and we can’t wait to play that.

“We just want to do our best. Obviously it’s going to be hard but if we win every game and put a bit of pressure on them that’s all we can do, starting next week.

“We’re going to go and try to beat them, that’s what we’ll set out to do and push them as far as we can.

“Of course, we don’t want to see Celtic winning trebles and winning all the time. We’re trying to put a bit more pressure on them and I feel like we are.

“We can just take it week by week and win every game we can and we’ll see what happens.”