Mark Warburton ready to test Rangers against Premiership opposition in Scottish League Cup

Rangers Martyn Waghorn celebrates scoring his sides third goal during the second round of the Scottish Communities League Cup at the Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
Rangers Martyn Waghorn celebrates scoring his sides third goal during the second round of the Scottish Communities League Cup at the Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie

Rangers boss Mark Warburton said he is looking forward to testing his side against Ladbrokes Premiership opposition – even it means taking on champions Celtic.

The Gers boss watched his side cruise into the third round of the League Cup with a rampant 5-0 demolition job on Airdrie at the Excelsior Stadium.

The Ibrox outfit now go into Thursday’s draw but will not be seeded – meaning they are destined to land top-flight opposition.

That could throw up the possibility of a clash with the club’s bitter Old Firm rivals just seven months after the team lost 2-0 to the Hoops at the semi-final stage of the same tournament under caretaker boss Kenny McDowall.

But Warburton said: “I think we’re in good shape. There’s a lot of work to be done and it’s still early days. When you’ve got a team playing with the work ethic that you saw then you’ll be okay.

“Very respectfully, we look forward to the draw but we don’t mind who we play.

“We want to test ourselves [against a top-flight side] and I think we’ll pose a good challenge to a lot of people.

“I don’t mind who we draw. It’s about us learning as a group.

“We will be exposed in certain areas but you have seen for yourselves we can handle ourselves on a football pitch and we look forward to whoever we get.”

Nicky Clark, Andy Halliday and Martyn Waghorn all netted inside the first quarter-hour as the Diamonds were blown away before Dean Shiels and James Tavernier rapped up the win late on.

On-loan Arsenal youngster Gedion Zelalem also made his Gers debut and shone in midfield.

But Warburton confirmed defender Marius Zaliukas’ days with the club were now “limited”, with discussions to rip-up the last year of his contract now on-going.

And the Light Blues manager also insisted there was no hard feelings after defender Darren McGregor quit the club on Monday - only to then immediately sign for Championship title rivals Hibs.

“It’s fine, good luck to him,” said the Englishman.

“I hope Darren does well. With the greatest respect and Darren will know what I mean by this, it’s about us.

“I’m happy with what we’ve got and I wish him well.”