Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray says his preparations for Sunday’s Scottish Cup tie against Rangers have not been affected by the influx of Newcastle United players at the Ibrox club.
Rovers could face a completely new-look Rangers team after five Newcastle players were loaned to the club on transfer deadline day, including Northern Ireland cap Shane Ferguson and Slovenia international Haris Vuckic.
Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is a Rangers shareholder and has loaned the Govan club funds to stay in business, but Murray shrugged off any suggestions that the link between the two clubs has given Sunday’s opponents an unfair advantage.
“They are able to do it, so there is nothing we can do to stop them,” Murray said. “If I could do it, then I would. It’s not our place to say whether it is fair or not – we have to prepare in exactly the same manner with the new players there as if they were not.
“They are a massive club, with a good group of players, and they have added to that.
“I don’t know whether the new players will be selected on Sunday, but it will not affect the way we prepare.
“It’s just one of these things that the transfer window can bring.”
While Rangers continue to attract headlines for their issues on and off the field, Murray urged his players to concentrate on themselves ahead of the big tie.
“I wouldn’t say the situation at Rangers takes the pressure off us – it’s still a massive game for us,” he said.
“People might say there are problems, but we need to focus on the tie itself, not Rangers Football Club. We are going there as total underdogs and it’s good chance for us to cause an upset.”
Rovers will go into Sunday’s tie, which is being screen live on the BBC, in high spirits after an injury-time equaliser at Easter Road last Saturday preserved a five-game unbeaten run.
“After going to somewhere like Easter Road – which was a difficult game – and coming away with a point, the players are in good spirits,” he said.
“We are on a good run at the moment but we know that counts for nothing in a cup tie against Rangers.
“It is a huge game, and a very difficult game, and everything we have done in the league in the last couple of weeks has to be put to one side.”
For Rovers to progress, they will need to perform considerably better than on their last visit to Ibrox in the league in October, which ended in a 6-1 hammering.
“The players will be keen to put things right, because we have come up against Rangers when they have been at their best,” Murray added.
“That is unfortunate for us. We need to remember that at Ibrox – they can score goals every time we make a mistake. They punished us at every turn and won the games convincingly.
“However, we need to go there with a belief that – no matter the size of the game or the opposition – we can win.
“We are up against a team who are used to winning silverware every year and they will be disappointed to have lost against Celtic last weekend.
“They will be focused and determined to put their club in the next round of the Scottish Cup.”
Calum Elliot will again miss out with a knee injury, while on-loan Hearts striker Dale Carrick could be in line for a start after a substitute appearance at Easter Road.
“Dale coming in gives us a fresh face and something different,” Murray said. “He has good experience of playing in big games and has already been in a team that has beaten Rangers at Ibrox on the first day of the season.
“We only have him for a month, but it is a month of big games and he will be desperate to do well.”