LEE McCulloch may not dream of a team of Dujon Sterlings as such. But the former Rangers captain would certainly like to see two or three players with the same ability, physicality and hunger as the English utility man in the Ibrox side at the moment. And he has no doubt that manager Philippe Clement would as well.

The Glasgow giants’ chances of beating their city rivals Celtic in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup final at Hampden on Saturday have been written off by many fans and pundits due to the injuries concerns which Clement currently has coupled with the collapse his charges suffered in the cinch Premiership.

Their abject record in the Old Firm game this season – they have lost three and drawn one of their league meetings with their ancient adversaries – is hardly filling their followers with great confidence either.

However, McCulloch, who lifted the oldest trophy in association football twice during his time in Govan, feels those disappointments will be irrelevant this weekend. He is adamant Rangers can end a challenging season on a high by lifting their second cup in six months if they believe in themselves and exhibit certain attributes.

Attributes which Sterling, who has excelled in a number of positions both domestically and in Europe in the time that Clement has spent in charge, possesses in abundance.

READ MORERangers can't turn to Lundstram for Celtic midfield battle

“Celtic will be favourites because of the form,” said McCulloch. “But Rangers just need to forget about that and get on with it. If you are back to basics, working harder than the opposition, running further, winning your tackles and your individual duels then you should have a chance against anybody.

“Rangers still have a lot of very good players, a lot of match winners, in their team and I think it would be foolish to write them off. Anything can happen in a cup final, a one-off hit.

Glasgow Times: “Okay, Celtic have been dominant in this year’s Old Firm games, but if I was in the dressing room I’d be thinking this is the perfect way to change that. That’s what the mindset should be.

“It’s got to come from the manager and from the leaders in the dressing room. It will certainly come from the fans on cup final day, who will make it a tremendous atmosphere.

“Obviously it’s disappointing that the team didn’t get over the line and win the league. But I think this is a great opportunity for it to be a double-winning season and send the team into the summer with a positive mindset.”

Many Rangers supporters would like to see Clement select Sterling ahead of John Lundstram, who has served a two match suspension for the red card which he received in the Premiership match against Celtic at Parkhead earlier this month, in central midfield on Saturday.

McCulloch, who was deployed in defence, midfield and up front during his own playing career, believes the Belgian may be restricted in what he can do by the limited personnel he has available to him. Still, he is confident the former Chelsea kid will be hugely influential wherever he features and hopeful his attitude will rub off on his team mates as well.

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“I have been really impressed with him,” he said. “He played centre midfield against Aberdeen in the cup final and got Man of the Match. He can play on the right, he can play left-back. He is effective anywhere in the team.

“Arguably, the manager would be wanting two or three of him. I don’t know what his best position is. I really like him in the middle of the pitch. But it doesn’t matter where on the pitch he plays, he will play well.

“It is just about tyring to get the best out of him. He has got energy, he has got pace, he has got a work ethic, he has got desire. It looks as if he loves playing for the club. There is a massive connection between the fans and him. I think he is becoming a fans’ favourite. It will be interesting to see where the manager plays him.

“Look at the performances he has produce in the middle of the pitch, out wide. He got the penalty against St Johnstone away because he had the desire to get forward and win it and help the team win the game. I don’t think it matters where he plays. But I think the manager’s hand might be forced with some injuries.

“The big thing going into the cup final is that the Rangers players concentrate on themselves, show that hard work ethic and give the fans a bit of desire back, show they want to be here, want to stay here. If they do that, I don’t think they will be far away in that cup final.

“There’s still positives there. Sometimes it can be easy to forget about those positives. But the manager will no doubt be reminding the squad just how good they can be.”

Glasgow Times: McCulloch, who met pupils from Ibrox Primary School who were attending the Rangers Charity Foundation’s Scottish FA Extra Time after school programme at the Ibrox Community Complex along with Rangers great John Brown yesterday, confessed that he feared his old club would finish the 2023/24 campaign trophyless at one stage last year.

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He thinks winning the Viaplay Cup and Scottish Cup in the same season would be a fine achievement and would give Clement and his players a platform to build on next season.

“If you go right back to the start of the season and the defeat to Kilmarnock under a previous regime,” he said. “The fans really weren’t happy and there was a massive disconnect from the pitch to the stands and probably to the management staff.

“But the new manager has come in and given a bit of hope. Okay, they’ve fallen a little bit short with injuries and a little bit of a dip in form from one or two. But I think this is the perfect opportunity to go lift another cup for the club and make sure they go into the summer on a high.

“It would be big, I know it would be big for the fans. If you are going in to the summer on the back of winning the Scottish Cup and a double for the season then, wherever you are going to end up next, it has given the fans a little bit of hope for the following season.”