THE lure of an Old Firm women’s game at Ibrox or Celtic Park would draw the same crowd as the men’s game, according to Rangers manager and former midfielder Gregory Vignal.

The Frenchman has overseen the professionalisation of Rangers’ women’s side over the past few months, with the club kicking off their league campaign against Hearts at the Hummel training centre

on Sunday afternoon.

And Vignal has maintained that he would be excited to see the numbers who turn out if the teams were given the platform of the club’s stadia to showcase a derby game.

“I have said it before and I will say it again: I am sure that if we played a game between ourselves and Celtic at Ibrox then people would be surprised at how many people would come to see it,” said the former Rangers and Liverpool midfielder. “They would come close to filling the stadium,

I am sure of it.

“The problem is with the club because the men’s team are playing so many games and right now the pitch is maybe not the very best but even if we played the game at Celtic Park then I am sure it would be the same. And the players would love it – it would be a great experience and it would be such an exciting way to play the game.

“Arsenal and Tottenham played and there were more than 38,000 people there in November. I am certain it would be the same in Glasgow. I would love to see it happen. It was the same in Liverpool when they played Everton – there was a huge crowd. Why would it not happen here?”

And Vignal has maintained that the creation of two professional teams ought to have a knock-on effect in terms of elevating the standard of Shelley Kerr’s national team.

“This is great for the country,” he added. “Having a women’s professional team at Celtic and Rangers is good news for everyone because it raises the standard of the game and for the national side.

“It should make the level go up and although it will not happen immediately already we can see the difference just in the past few months with the quality. You have more time and it is an exciting period. I am so excited to be involved in it and I feel proud to have this opportunity.”

The expectancy now having invested in the move towards a professional dressing room will be that there is a challenge on Glasgow City’s domestic monopoly; the same challenge that exists for Celtic across the city. And while Vignal was reluctant to target a title this season he is confident that the Rangers team he is building with joint manager Malky Thomson will have the capability of becoming a dominant force in women’s football.

“The target will be to bring success here,” he said. “What is that? Just now we have to see. It is still very early and we have only been working together as a team full-time for a few weeks. It is a massive chance for them to go full-time. It is an unbelievable opportunity for them to be focused only on their football and go professional.

“I have a lot of respect for Glasgow City because they have been outstanding. Scott Booth has done a very good job so credit to him and it is going to be a huge challenge for us to go and try to break their dominance.

“It will take time. This Sunday is our first league game and we will have a chance to assess and see where we are after that.”

Thomson has applauded the club for the move towards professional football and has also insisted that it was entirely necessary.

“It is not before time,” he said. “Rangers should have a professional women’s side, the same way that all top European sides do. We have already seen a massive difference in the squad in terms of the training and the results because they are able to focus entirely on their football now. They have grasped their chance. It would be wrong to set targets now but we have gone about our preparations for the season in

the right way.”