MICHAEL BEALE will be keeping a close eye on the Hampden weather forecast as he prays for dry skies to protect the pitch at the National Stadium.

Rangers head to Mount Florida on Sunday for their Scottish Cup semi-final clash with Celtic knowing that a defeat will all-but hand their Old Firm rivals a domestic Treble this term.

Beale is without a win in his three derby fixtures since returning to Ibrox as boss and has seen Ange Postecoglou's side extend their lead in the Premiership title race in recent weeks.

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The state of the Hampden surface was a key talking point in the aftermath of the League Cup semi-finals in December as Rangers overcame Aberdeen the day after Celtic beat Kilmarnock.

The Scottish FA relaid the park ahead of the final in February but the Old Firm showdown will be played just hours after Falkirk and Inverness Caley Thistle meet in the first semi-final.

Hampden hosted both matches at the last four stage of the Women's Scottish Cup last weekend and Beale is hoping the quick turnaround won't ruin the spectacle of the showpiece fixture this Sunday.

Beale said: "There's been quite a lot of games on the pitch in the last few weeks, various cup finals and whatnot.

"I get the scheduling that it has to be the same weekend. It's probably good for the TV as well.

"But when I saw the rain this morning and into the afternoon I was a little bit concerned.

"But you hear the national team players speaking about it after the Spain game but that was a good few weeks ago now so you're hoping that the pitch might have improved.

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"We could do with some good weather overnight before the first semi-final, which I think is a cracking semi-final for the Scottish Cup and for Scottish football as well.

"I think the two teams have earned their right to get to the semi-final the same way that Rangers and sell we have Celtic have and I wish both those clubs well. It's a really important game for those two clubs as well."