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History counts for nothing says John Hughes, as Ross County aim to complete Old Firm double with first win over Rangers

Ross County players celebrate after winning against Celtic at Parkhead.
Ross County players celebrate after winning against Celtic at Parkhead.

Ross County manager John Hughes is eager for the Staggies to cap another piece of history by claiming an Old Firm double against Rangers at Ibrox today.

County defeated Celtic 2-0 in the Betfred Cup in November to record their first victory at Parkhead, with a result which ended the Hoops’ run of 35 successive domestic cup victories.

Alex Iacovitti celebrates netting for Ross County.

The Staggies will face a Gers side they have never beaten in 14 attempts, with all three draws they have mustered against the Glasgow side coming in the 2016-17 season under Jim McIntyre.

Hughes, who tasted victory over Rangers with Falkirk in 2006, says the past counts for nothing in the Staggies’ attempts to create their own history.

He said: “It’s dangerous to look back and see what happened a few months ago. We don’t rest on our laurels and it’s about what happens on Saturday.

“I’m hoping my boys have a go and that Rangers know they’ve been in a game. We can take confidence from the results we have had recently though and possibly Celtic too.

“I’ll use everything at my disposal to try and get the guys ready to go.

“Going out there, yes we will respect them, but they are only human. All the stuff that goes with it, let’s have a right go.

“I would love to repeat what I did with Falkirk, but it’s going to be very difficult.

Marc Twaddle netted the winner for Falkirk against Rangers in 2006.

“We will give it a right good go. When you go there you need to make sure you are organised. That’s one thing we will do.

“I want to have a right go, and if it means being expansive, so be it.”

Hughes is under no illusions over the scale of the test, with Rangers 20 points clear at the top of the Premiership and yet to be defeated in the league.

The Staggies boss is relishing the challenge, however, adding: “I’ve always enjoyed playing against the Old Firm. I think you’ve got nothing to lose.

“I always enjoy going to Parkhead and Ibrox because as a manager it really tests and stretches you in terms of your preparation and tactics.

“I try and simplify it, and it’s my job to help my team, and help them individually to give them the best opportunity possible to try and cause an upset.

“It will be an upset, there’s no getting away from it, because they’ve got better players than we have got. All their substitutes would probably get a game at Ross County. That’s how far in front they are.

“It has to excite you, going there as a massive underdog with absolutely nothing to lose.

“Hopefully we can go there and play with a freedom and let Rangers know they have been in a game.

Ross County manager John Hughes.

Hughes’ first game in charge of County came in a 2-0 defeat against Celtic at Parkhead last month, giving him his first experience of football behind closed doors.

Hughes feels the Gers have done well to adjust to the lack of supporters inside their 50,000 capacity home ground, where they have only conceded one goal this term.

He added: “It’s quite bizarre, you hear every noise and every tackle.

“It’s not the same without supporters, but as footballers we are privileged to be doing something that we love with what’s going on in the world with Covid.

“You need to appreciate that, but it is strange.

“Has it hampered Celtic? It probably has. It was very strange when we went there as you usually have 60,000 cheering them on. Rangers have probably adapted to it better than Celtic.

“I can’t speak highly enough of Rangers of the way they play. I am looking forward to it, it is a massive challenge for us, but one we look forward to.”

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