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Football | Europe

Ross Perry © Action Images

Rangers with point to prove in cup



Rangers defender Ross Perry insists the fans boycott of their Scottish Cup fifth-round tie against Dundee United won't distract the players from their task in hand.

The fallen Glasgow giants will have a point to prove as they take on their former Scottish Premier League rivals for a place in the quarterfinals at Tannadice on Saturday.

However, they will have to do it without the support of their fans after the Ibrox club refused to accept any tickets for the tie when it became apparent fans were keen to boycott the game.

This was due to United's opposition to keeping Ally McCoist's side in the SPL last summer when the club was transferred to a new company - a decision that ultimately led to Rangers starting this season in the Third Division.

The lack of an away support at Tannadice might make for a slightly surreal atmosphere but it's a game Perry says he is only focused on trying to get the right result for his club.

"It's the type of game all the players relish and it's a chance to prove we can play at a good level. It's a match we are looking forward to," Perry said.

"Dundee United are always a tough team to go to and having played there a couple of times, there is never an easy game there.

"It'll certainly be unusual for us not to have any fans up there. It'll be different and it will probably be the first time I will have played a game of football without having anyone backing us.

"As a player, going out and winning a game of football is the only thing on your mind regardless of the circumstances. We just need to get on with the game."

The Gers will be without winger Lewis Macleod who has been ruled out for two months with a knee injury although captain Lee McCulloch could be in line for a return.

The game will be United's first since former Celtic and Scotland right-back Jackie McNamara was appointed as manager to replace the departed Peter Houston.

McNamara, who was lured from First Division high-fliers Partick Thistle, would settle for a repeat of last season, when the Tangerines eliminated Rangers with a 2-0 win at the same fifth-round stage.

Rangers have had mixed results against top-flight opposition this season, beating Motherwell 2-0 then losing 3-0 to Inverness in the League Cup.

BHOYS VISIT RAITH

Meanwhile SPL leaders Celtic face a trip to Starks Park on Sunday to take on First Division Raith Rovers.

The Hoops will be without Greek striker Georgios Samaras after he limped out of Wednesday's 4-1 win against Kilmarnock.

However, manager Neil Lennon received a boost when Anthony Stokes came off the bench to score his first goal of an injury-ravaged season.

And midfielder Joe Ledley, who also netted against Kilmarnock, says having the Irish striker back in the squad after a persistent ankle injury is like having a new signing.

"He's been working hard in the gym trying to get back fit and it has been difficult with his ankle," the Welsh international said.

"But it's just nice to see him back and scoring goals. That's what he's done ever since he joined Celtic.

"He's a great player and hopefully he can get a chance and start a couple more games.

"You can see him improving every single training session. Obviously it's going to take a while to get his fitness back but he's like a new signing."

Elsewhere, there are three all top-flight ties, the pick of which sees Hibernian entertain Aberdeen at Easter Road.

Fixtures

Saturday

Dundee United v Rangers

Dunfermline v Hamilton

Falkirk v Forfar

Kilmarnock v Inverness CT

St Mirren v St Johnstone

Sunday

Raith Rovers v Celtic

Dundee v Morton

Hibernian v Aberdeen

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