Linfield midfielder Jamie Mulgrew insists Rangers manager Mark Warburton is planning to use his testimonial match as vital preparation for the forthcoming Old Firm clash with Celtic.
The Ibrox club travel to Northern Ireland on Saturday for a match to honour the long-serving Mulgrew.
Rangers supporter Mulgrew is thrilled that Warburton intends to take a strong squad across the Irish Sea for the Windsor Park showdown and insists Linfield plan to make the clash as competitive as possible for the visitors ahead of the September 10 showdown at Celtic Park.
Northern Ireland cap Mulgrew said: “Mark has said to us that he will be treating it like a Scottish Premiership game, they’ve got the Celtic game the week after so he made no secret that he wanted it as competitive as possible.
“Yes it’s a testimonial, a friendly but Mark and his squad are going to be taking it very seriously and I think we can see that with the squad he’s bringing.
“They have a massive task ahead of them the following week against Celtic.
“This is the pinnacle, this is what the testimonial is all about, the match.
“It’s brilliant Rangers are coming over, it’s something that I’m really liking forward to and proud they’re coming over.
“It will definitely be a proud moment, it will be quite surreal but I’ll be very proud.
“We’re expecting a big crowd with the way tickets are going. To walk out with Rangers against ourselves, it will be very exciting.”
Linfield last faced Rangers in a benefit match for the Glasgow club at the height of their financial woes in May 2012 and Mulgrew reckons that was a factor in their Scottish counterparts accepting the invitation.
He added: “I think since we brought Rangers over here and helped them out that time when they were going through financial difficulty, they’ve never forgotten that and have always been very grateful for that.
“I think that’s part of the reason they’ve agreed to come over as well.”