Borna Barisic eyeing Old Firm success on the back of a memorable European night

The big games keep coming for Rangers

By Press Association Published: 15 April 2022 - 9.29am

Borna Barisic insists Rangers will use Europa League euphoria to be ready for their Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic on Sunday.

The Light Blues beat Braga 3-1 after extra-time in the second leg of their quarter-final against Braga on Thursday night, winning 3-2 on aggregate and setting up a semi-final clash with Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig.

It was an exhausting night for Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side  –  Barisic went off with cramp near the end of regular time to be replaced by Leon Balogun – but there is no respite with their Old Firm rivals lying in wait.

When asked if Rangers could take the feel-good factor to Hampden Park, the Croatia international said: “Of course. It would be much better if we had played 90 minutes, but it is what it is.

“If it takes 120 minutes then so be it. The most important thing is we won the game.

“From today we will start to think about Sunday. As I said, it would have been better if we had played 90.

“But we are professionals we are ready for the game on Sunday.”

After beating Borussia Dortmund and Red Star Belgrade in previous rounds, Barisic believes Rangers can take further confidence from the victory over the Braga and dream big.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg in Portugal last week, Gers captain James Tavernier levelled after just over a minute, then scored with a penalty just before the break after Braga defender Vitor Tormena was sent off for fouling Kemar Roofe inside the box.

Braga’s David Carmo scored in the 83rd minute to level the tie at 2-2 and take it to extra-time where Roofe scored a third for Rangers before visiting substitute Iuri Medeiros was also sent packing.

Barisic said: “Yes, we are dreaming about that (what is possible) now.

“But we have also a semi-final which will be really tough and we are looking forward to playing that game but we are happy.

“We knew that Braga is a good team but we knew we could beat them and get to the semi-final and we did that.

“These games give us confidence, especially games like this.

“We had extra-time and showed our team spirit, we showed that we are capable.

“We are playing in the semi-finals of the Europa League, a big achievement for players, for fans, for us personally. So this game will give us a lot of confidence for sure.”

Barisic returned to the side in the 4-0 win over St Mirren in Paisley on Sunday and kept his place against Braga, where he looked back to his best before he ran out of steam.

He said: “Play like you play on Sunday, that was what the manager said to me.

“When I wasn’t playing I just want to keep training and doing my best because I knew my opportunity would come.

“Every opportunity I have I want to try and help the team. I thought I played very well. I was very happy to help the team to win.”

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