Dundee manager Paul Hartley refused to get drawn on Gary Harkins’ comments on Rangers being a new club but will “have a chat” with his midfielder.
The Dens Park club are preparing for their William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round replay against Championship side Dumbarton on Tuesday night with the winners facing a trip to Ibrox.
Rangers re-emerged at the bottom tier of Scottish football following liquidation in 2012 and since then a debate as to whether the Light Blues’ are the same club has ensued.
When asked about the prospect of facing the Championship leaders, Harkins said: “They’re just a new club. I’ve not played them before, so I’m looking forward to that. It should be good.”
The player later stated on his Twitter account that it was: “Just a wee joke took too far.”
Asked his thoughts on his captain’s comments, Hartley said: “I don’t have any thoughts on it. I haven’t see them.
“I have been told about the headlines but it is not something that I like to get into or want to get into it.”
Asked if Harkins was ill-advised to talk about one of the most sensitive issues in Scottish football, the former Celtic, Hearts and Scotland midfielder said: “I didn’t even know he had said anything until this morning so we will have a chat with Gary.”
Dundee and Championship side Sons drew a blank in the first game and Hartley believes patience on and off the field will be the key to victory for the top-flight side at the second time of asking.
He said: “I think of because of where we are in the league and where Dumbarton are, leagues apart, sometimes people think it is going to be an easy game for us but these games are difficult.
“We have to make sure that we are patient in terms of our play, we have to set the tone and hopefully the crowd will be right behind us, given that it is a massive game.
“I went to watch them last week and had someone watch them on Saturday.
“We have paid them all the respect they deserve.
“They had a strong performance against us the last time. I thought we dominated the game, we just couldn’t get that goal.
“We found them hard to break down and I am probably anticipating the same situation tomorrow night.
“So everyone has to be patient, the crowd also. It is a tough game for us, one that we want to win.
“All the pressure is on us and we have to make sure we handle it.”
While admitting that a lucrative tie against the Championship leaders in the next round offers a massive incentive to Dundee, Hartley insists “Dumbarton will feel like that also.”
“If we can win the match we know who we face in the next round and that is a big incentive for the players and the club,” he said.
“But we must make sure we are at it in terms of the tempo, how we start the match and not get complacent throughout it.
“We have said all along the cups are really important to this club and if we get through this tie we have a quarter-final place.
“But we have to make sure we do the business tomorrow night.”