DYLAN McGEOUCH, as a boyhood Celtic supporter and a continued employee of the Glasgow club, concedes he would have loved to be part of the build-up to next weekend's landmark Old Firm clash.

However, he is adamant his focus will not waver ahead of a wonderful opportunity for Hibernian to usurp Rangers in second place in the SPFL Championship.

Hibs took full advantage of Rangers' called-off fixture against Cowdenbeath on Saturday to move within two points of the Glasgow giants, with goals from McGeouch and Scott Robertson securing a 2-0 win over Queen of the South. And, following on from an abandoned home match against Hearts and a postponed fixture at a frost-bitten Central Park, Rangers will have a third consecutive week without a league match due to their obligations at Hampden.

That means Hibs will go above them with a win over Raith Rovers 24 hours earlier. Rangers, of course, will possess three games in hand but, as McGeouch noted pithily: "I'd rather have the points than the games."

Looking ahead to what could prove to be a pivotal week for his parent club and his temporary employers, he said: "I'm a Celtic fan and I am contracted to them, so you want to play in the big games. Growing up, the Old Firm was always the biggest game of the season so you want to be involved in that.

"But I have no influence on Celtic-Rangers, I am just looking forward to our game against Raith Rovers. We want to kick on and get as high up the table as possible. With Rangers playing in the cup, we have a big chance to do that. If we win then the pressure's all on Rangers again."

After a disappointing first-half showing from the visitors - prompting some harsh words at the break from head coach Alan Stubbs - Hibs claimed the lead on 64 minutes. Jason Cummings went down under a challenge from Queens goalkeeper Jim Atkinson and McGeouch stepped up to coolly slotted home his second goal of the campaign. Robertson, who has become an unlikely goal machine in recent weeks, then put the game to bed with a delightful curling effort from 20 yards - his third goal in five games.

With McGeouch finally living up to his undoubted potential, there is little doubt that Alan Stubbs would be keen to bring the playmaker to Easter Road on a permanent basis in the summer. His contract expires at the end of the season, but Celtic do have an option to extend it by a further year.

McGeouch is adamant he has not made a decision on his future but, after struggling to make his mark at Parkhead, he has no intention of spending any more time sitting on the bench. He added: "I'm getting to the age when I need to be playing every week and I am being given opportunities and playing well.

"It's great to finally have that chance to kick on in my career. I wouldn't like to sit on the bench next season after playing week-in, week-out for Hibs. I want to be playing and I believe I am good enough to be playing."

Their defeat, allied with Falkirk's stunning triumph over Hearts, sees Queens slip out of the play-off places. "I don't think dropping out of the top four will adversely affect the players. We know where we want to be at the end of the season," said James Fowler, the Queens player-manager.