Efe Ambrose has insisted he and his Hibs team-mates will be “up for the fight” in the white-hot cauldron of Ibrox on Saturday.
The first Premiership match between the clubs for five years has been eagerly awaited, the match selling out almost a fortnight before kick-off while Hibs’ 2016 Scottish Cup victory over the Govan outfit, allied to the presence of Easter Road boss Neil Lennon and striker Anthony Stokes given their previous affinity to Celtic, adds further spice to the clash.
Lennon has already warned his players not to get caught up in the hype surrounding the occasion, describing it as “just noise” and urging them to avoid becoming over-emotional and not to become caught up in the atmosphere.
Former Celtic defender Ambrose is, of course, well used to encounters with Rangers but, while insisting he and his team-mates have every respect for their opponents, the Nigerian internationalist was adamant they’ll give a good account of themselves.
He said: “I think they are a great team with a great stadium. We’ll give them due respect but, at the same time, football is football. We are going there to give them a fight and the best team will win the game.”
Hibs enjoyed a comfortable win over Ayr United in midweek to earn a place in the last eight of the Betfred Cup, as did Rangers with a 6-0 hammering of Dunfermline but, revealed Ambrose, Lennon will be demanding much more from his players.
He told Hibs TV: “You have to be professional and take care of yourself. Fitness is the number one priority for the gaffer, he wants to know you are giving him what he wants. We are still working hard, there’s no slacking. Winning games is not easy, we have to keep working hard to reach the levels we are at and to keep improving. We still have a long way to go.”