St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright has told his players to take extra confidence from their draw with Rangers in light of the Ibrox side’s European exploits as they bid to reverse their fortunes against Celtic.
Saints host the holders in the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-finals on Sunday with recent history stacked against them.
Celtic have won 33 domestic cup ties in a row and have beaten Saints seven times in succession, scoring 26 goals without reply in the process.
The most recent win was a 3-0 triumph in Perth in January which saw Saints blown away in the first half, but that was a blip in the home team’s recent transformation – they have only lost two of their last 15 matches.
And Wright put his team’s 2-2 draw against Rangers last Sunday into perspective when Steven Gerrard’s men progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League with a 1-0 victory over Braga in Portugal three days later.
Wright said: “We have to take a lot of positives from the Rangers game and also the form we are in. The players have done remarkably well.
“It just shows you, Rangers go to Braga and get a tremendous result and we were able to hold them to a draw last Sunday.
“We should take a lot of confidence off it, but Celtic are playing some great football and are the strongest team in the country at the moment, so it will be another challenge for us, but one we will meet head on.
“They very much have the upper hand over us, but the form we are in should give us confidence. It’s a one-off game.
“They are on a great run in the cups, but my take on that is that at some time somebody has got to beat them and hopefully it will be us.
“In cup competitions, who knows what can happen on the day and we really have to be focused and concentrated throughout the 90-odd minutes.”
Wright led Saints to the trophy in 2014 and has encouraged his players to aim high.
“We are all in the game to win things and grab that piece of glory,” he said. “Cup competitions give you that chance.
“It’s a famous trophy, a famous cup competition, so it adds that bit of nostalgia and magic.
“When you win it, it is special. I know from experience that you are always reminded of it. The number of people who tell you that was the best day of their lives in terms of St Johnstone supporters.”