MARK Warburton led Rangers to the William Hill Scottish Cup final – then admitted he had been “irritated” by those who insisted his team would be overwhelmed by Celtic.

The Ibrox team will face Hibernian for the silverware on May 21 after beating Ronny Deila’s men 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out following a 2-2 draw after extra time at Hampden.

Celtic, on their way to a fifth consecutive Premiership title, were heavy favourites going into the game, having also comfortably beaten Rangers 2-0 in last season’s League Cup semi-final.

In addition, short-handed Warburton could only name five substitutes for yesterday’s last-four clash.

The Rangers manager said: “The favourites had to be Celtic. Anyone who understands football will say they have the stronger squad, they have the experience and they were the favourites and I can understand this. I was irritated by people underestimating Rangers.

“I read reports about them [his team] getting battered by Celtic today. Well they showed they’ve got quality, they’ve got the commitment and the work ethic and that gap is a lot, lot narrower than people are talking about.

“We’ve been good this season. We’re not clear in the league by 17 points by chance. We deserve to be and the young squad has come together quickly so all credit to the players. I think they deserved a little more respect. I’m just delighted for the fans. The level of support they’ve given us again was magnificent.

“They’ve been in some dark places over the last four or five years, so it’s tremendous that they can enjoy days like today and last week.

“We were down to the bare minimum with 16 players and young Liam Burt on the bench, but I thought to a man they were outstanding today. I thought we deserved to win. That’s the mostpleasing thing. Our message before the game was do what you’ve done all season just do it better against the number one team in the country and I think we did that today.”

Naturally, Miller was also delighted with the result, but he reckons Rangers’ victory will not offer clues as to who will come out on top in next year’s Ladbrokes Premiership league title joust.

“It was extra special,” the 36-year-old striker said. “A lot of people outside of Rangers never gave us a chance, but we were completely confident.

“The fact it went to penalties as well made it emotional. You’re standing there watching it with your heart pounding.

“You’re hoping your keeper makes a save, that your guys score. It was hard to watch. But we had full belief and I really felt it would be our day. We were the dominant side – there’s no getting away from that. We’re delighted.

“But I said before the game that no matter if we won, lost or drew, it didn’t mean we would or would not win the league next year. The gap has definitely closed, but I don’t think this result will have any bearing on next year.”

Gers winger McKay was voted man of the match after his sensational extra-time strike, and Miller reckons his 21-year-old team-mate is on his way to a Scotland call-up.

“Barrie was outstanding,” he said. “The little man was great all day. He was a constant threat with his driving runs and what a great strike for his goal.

“He will want to go and play at the highest level. A lot has been said about him and the national team this year.

“He’s going through the steps to becoming an international player. He’s playing with the under-21s and his next step is the full team. There is no doubt he’ll get his chance because there aren’t too many players have his quality.”