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By ESPN Staff

Rangers' Boyd tells Mendes to toughen up for SPL

Kris Boyd has told Rangers team-mate Pedro Mendes to get used to the kind of tackle he suffered in the Homecoming Scottish Cup semi-final - because it happens all the time in Scotland.

Portuguese midfielder Mendes claims his leg could have been broken in a knee-high challenge from Saints defender Will Haining in Saturday's 3-0 win at Hampden.

The prognosis looked bad for summer signing Mendes after he was carried from the field before half-time but a scan later revealed the injury was not serious.

That did not stop Mendes, 30, branding the Scottish game rougher than even the Barclays Premier League, where he spent four years before moving to Ibrox.

But Boyd said: ''I don't think anybody sets out to hurt anybody and you'll get your tackles at least once or twice in a game in the Scottish league that you'll maybe not get elsewhere.

''It's maybe (more physical) from a foreign point of view, but from a Scottish point of view, it happens week in, week out.

''The tackles in Scotland are maybe a bit harder than in other leagues and that's maybe where Pedro's taken the action he's done after the game.''

Mendes should be fit for Sunday's Premier League clash with Hearts, the first of five post-split fixtures that will decide the destiny of the title.

Boyd will be hoping to have the playmaker supplying him with the type of service that last week allowed him to net his 100th goal for the club.

The striker celebrated reaching that landmark this week but was more interested in adding to his tally than dwelling on his favourite strikes from his three years at Ibrox.

He said: ''A tap-in from two yards is the same as putting it in from 30 yards.

''You don't get two goals for putting it in from 30 yards, so they're all special to me and they've helped the team in those matches I've scored in.

''So as long as the team's winning, I'm not really bothered.''

Rangers' Scottish Cup involvement means there will be no respite for them before the end of the season, while Celtic have returned refreshed from a sunshine break in La Manga.

But Boyd countered: ''I think if you were to ask them, they'd rather be playing in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup.

''We're exactly the same. We want to be playing in cup finals and semi-finals. We've done that and we'll be ready for Hearts on Sunday.''

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