STEVEN GERRARD insists Rangers will ‘respect’ Cowdenbeath and head to Central Park tonight expecting a tough Scottish Cup tie.

The Gers will make their first visit to the Fife town in four years as they look to begin the road to Hampden with victory over the Blue Brazil.

Speaking at yesterday’s press conference, boss Gerrard explained: “We are expecting a tough game and a team that will be desperate to knock us out and provide that heroic performance.

“We are not really sure what to expect in terms of the pitch condition and we will analyse that when we arrive. We are expecting a lot of Rangers fans to turn up and we are hoping it becomes a very exciting cup tie.

“First and foremost, you show your opposition respect. I am sure they will have a game-plan for us and I am sure they will be working very, very hard to do everything they can to knock us out.

“For us, we focus on our game-plan and we have been preparing for Cowdenbeath as if it is going to be a tough cup tie, so first and foremost in these situations, you show your opposition manager and players respect.”

This will be the first match Gers have played since beating Celtic on December 29, with the winter shutdown coming in-between times.

Gerrard was happy to have a winter break for the first time in both his playing or managerial career, and added: “I think the break came at a very good time for us. We had played 38 games and the schedule was brutal at times, so I felt as if the players needed that rest physically and mentally.

“It was the same for myself – games were smacking us in the face every three or four days, so the winter break has been ideal. We got some family time to freshen up from a mental point of view and then we pushed them quite hard in Tenerife.

“That was the idea behind it – yes we had warm weather and nice facilities – but we pushed the players from a physical point of view to have them ready for this Cowdenbeath game.”

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