Weir: Old Firm clashes special

05 February 2011 12:00

Rangers captain David Weir has rejected claims the Old Firm derby is being devalued by over-familiarity.

The Light Blues host Celtic in the Scottish Cup on Sunday just over a month after a Georgios Samaras double handed the visitors three Clydesdale Bank Premier League points at Ibrox. The Glasgow rivals meet again two weeks later in the SPL and also face each other in the Co-operative Insurance Cup final on March 20.

"I think we could play them every day and there would be an edge to it," said Weir. "That's just the way it is, whether it's the under-19s or the full fixture. It's just a special game and a special relationship between the clubs. I don't think you can dilute that at all at any time."

Whether the fifth-round tie needs an extra edge or not, it certainly has one in the shape of El-Hadji Diouf.

New Rangers signing Diouf faces Celtic for the first time since spitting at a Hoops fan while playing for Liverpool in the UEFA Cup in 2003, an act that earned him a conviction for assault with provocation and a £5,000 fine. But Weir is confident the on-loan Blackburn player will handle any abuse that comes his way.

"He's an experienced player, he has experienced a lot," Weir said. "It will be another new experience for him but I'm sure he is more than capable of handling it.

"The bottom line is he's a good player. That's the overriding thing we are focusing on."

After Diouf's debut in a 1-0 win over Hearts on Wednesday, Rangers boss Walter Smith claimed his new arrival had received worse treatment than a serial killer.

But Weir said: "I've not paid too much attention to (the media attention). It goes with the territory up here, everything is magnified and blown out of proportion.

"Since he's been here, he has been a lovely lad. I don't see a problem. Footballers are footballers, like any walk of life there are different characters."

Source: PA