Bankies plotting Rangers' downfall

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Clydebank's full-time footballers - both of them - were yesterday plotting one of the Scottish Coca-Cola Cup's biggest upsets from a portable dressing-room outside a Glasgow rugby club.

The cash-strapped First Division club that reared the late Davie Cooper are now homeless and struggling for survival in the post-Bosman era. Tonight they face the millionaires of Rangers at Firhill, seeking only their second competitive victory over the Ibrox giants.

April 12 1986 was the red letter day for the Bankies as they recorded a 2-1 Premier League win over Rangers at their then home, New Kilbowie Park.

Clydebank are waiting to hear the result of a planning inquiry into the sale of their stadium to a supermarket, with the club sharing with Dumbarton for the new season and training at West of Scotland Rugby Club. A playing staff that once had around 16 full-timers has been cut to just two.

"We had to go back part-time and would have been doing that even if we'd received the money for the stadium," said Clydebank secretary, Ian Steedman. "It is getting harder and harder to operate clubs below the top flight."

Clydebank's chances of cashing in on tonight's tie have even been cut with capacity at Partick Thistle's Firhill ground reduced from 21,000 to 14,000.

For the coach, Brian Wright, who has also been forced to go part-time, the only solace on offer is that Rangers will be without some pounds 20m worth of talent as a full team of players are unavailable to Walter Smith for various reasons - fitness, suspension and international duty.

The absentees include Paul Gascoigne, Brian Laudrup, Joachim Bjorklund, Alex Cleland, Alan McLaren, David Robertson, Erik Bo Andersen, Craig Moore, Gordon Durie, Ian Ferguson and Stephen Wright.

Elsewhere, Celtic make the short trip to Clyde's Broadwood home in Cumbernauld for their second round tie minus two key defenders. Alan Stubbs is banned after his red card in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Aberdeen. Likewise Tosh McKinlay, who was punished after the match had ended.

Hearts will play in front of a three-sided Tynecastle when cup experts Stenhousemuir come to Edinburgh. The Scottish Cup runners-up could include recent signing Neil McCann.

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