Football: Golac feels the beat: James Traynor discusses the radical moves that can decide the Scottish Cup final

WHILE Rangers' approach to the Tennents Scottish Cup final on Saturday is overshadowed by controversy and police inquiries into the behaviour of two of their players, David Robertson and Duncan Ferguson, Dundee United will stroll towards the Hampden finale seemingly without a care in the world.

Having played six times in the Cup final without once leaving with the trophy, United might have been expected to be dogged by apprehension, but a change of manager last close-season has imbued them with fresh hope. After having been wary of Ivan Golac, United's players are now firm believers in the former Yugoslav international's alternative and sometimes radical methods.

This week Golac, who seems oblivious to adversity, will take his squad for a quiet drink and a walk in the park where they will chat about the weather, nature, music or anything else which might come into someone's mind. Eventually they will get around to the final itself.

'Yes, I know it was strange for the players at first, but I believe in doing things differently,' said Golac, who claims that in order to love life, football included, a person must first love nature and music. There are differences in the way the Continentals and British approach football and I want to take the best of both and see that in United. I want to be different and I want my players to be different. They should be distinctive.'

Rangers are only one match away from becoming the first club to win back-to-back trebles. The last time Rangers and the Tannadice side met in the final - in 1981 - the Ibrox side won 4-1 in a replay after a scoreless draw. All of United's failures came under Jim McLean, who is chairman now and responsible for the appointment of Golac. The Scottish Cup was the only trophy to elude McLean and it might be that fate has singled out the new man for glory, though Golac will have to compensate for the considerable loss through suspension of his influential midfield player Billy McKinlay.

Even though the Ibrox treatment room resembles casualty at Glasgow Royal Infirmary on a Saturday night, Rangers' manager, Walter Smith, is relieved to be returning to football matters following police charges made against Robertson, who is alleged to have vandalised a car after a night out, and Ferguson, who has incurred the Draconian wrath of the SFA following an alleged head-butting incident.

Smith has already lost Andy Goram, John Brown, and Gary Stevens to various injuries and the list of those still receiving treatment is lengthy, but the manager retains a strong belief in the ability of those who must fill the gaps. 'We have won the League Cup and the championship, but we want to finish the season in style.'

Smith's problems would have been eased had Ferguson been available, but the pounds 4m striker has been suspended for 12 matches even though police charges have been made. United must be smiling. After all, they sold Ferguson to Rangers.

(Photograph omitted)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...