The Betfred Cup’s history is full of scrutiny and insults. Now, however, it’s an essential piece of silverware for Rangers to go and grab.

It used to be that when you didn’t win the League Cup up here it was because it was a Mickey Mouse Cup. Your team weren’t trying or weren’t overly bothered about winning it. Yet, when your team does win it, it’s good for momentum and another piece of success.

I, for one, have always loved the League Cup, and never understood why managers played highly weakened teams. It seems as though Steven Gerrard also holds the competition in high regard with his team selections in the tournament. And he’s absolutely right to do so, even if he wasn’t too impressed with the original scheduling.

Rangers great John Brown holds up a trophy that means so much this season (Jeff Holmes/Getty Images)

This season more than most, the Betfred Cup represents so much for Rangers and their supporters. Winning it would signal a return to proper relevance and only further boost the Gers’ title challenge. This isn’t a competition that Rangers shouldn’t be bothered about anymore, it deserves more respect than that.

Losing isn’t an option

For example, if Celtic beat Rangers in the final, would you really satisfy yourself by saying “ack well it was the League Cup so who cares?”. Of course not. Brendan Rodgers would be taking his seventh straight trophy in Scotland, and that would be a concern.

Gerrard said when he walked in the door that Celtic have had it their own way for far too long. Amending that is his priority, and that has to start with the Betfred Cup.

If Rangers can overcome Aberdeen and then either Celtic or Hearts in the final, it’ll be a huge boost. It won’t be the “Mickey Mouse Cup” it was always perceived to be years ago.

Steven Gerrard sent a strong Rangers team out to beat Ayr United in the quarter-finals (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

We’re now at a delicate stage in Rangers’ history. Every competition has to mean everything for a club who’ve given their support nothing over the last several years. Now, Rangers are finally in a position to challenge for trophies in Scotland’s top flight once more.

Winning the Betfred Cup would signal to supporters that Rangers are back and competing for trophies once more. More importantly, it would send out a big message to domestic rivals that Gerrard is truly building something special.

So many special managerial reigns in Scotland have been built upon winning the League Cup. Gerrard and Rangers should now give it their all to make sure this new era does the same this season.