CIS Cup Final: Smith to get past best of Buddies
Sunday 21 March 2010
If a final can come to feel a little routine for Rangers, the competitive values of Walter Smith will rebuke any sense of complacency. Since he returned to Ibrox in January 2007, Smith has led the club to five consecutive cup finals at Hampden, but the occasion will never seem mundane to a man so driven by the faith that it is results, the victories accumulated over time, that provide the truest measure of success.
Rangers will be appearing in their 33rd League Cup final today in Glasgow, where they face St Mirren, and they have lost only seven of them. With a 13-point gap ahead of Celtic in the Premier League, before yesterday, and a replay against Dundee United in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals to come, a domestic treble remains well within reach. Smith, in his second spell in charge of the club, will consider such an aim an imperative.
"If anything, the desire gets greater as you go on," he says. "When you take over at first as manager you always know that to keep your job you have to keep winning. But the desire to win trophies is still there – I mean, one of the reasons I left the Scotland job to come back to Rangers was to get back into the situation when you can win things again."
St Mirren will not be intimidated. This will be their fifth encounter with Rangers since the turn of the year (they took them to a replay in the Scottish Cup) and they have never been overwhelmed. There is a doggedness to Gus MacPherson's Buddies, something hard and obstinate, and they will continue in a 3-5-2 formation that can seem a little quaint to contemporary eyes but provides a staunch defence.
The Paisley side last won a major competition in 1987, when they lifted the Scottish Cup, and there is a nostalgia to their return to such prominence. They work to a limited budget, but they will seek to restrain Rangers and hope that good fortune allows for a moment of intrepidness.
"We're no different from the rest of Scottish football," MacPherson says. "We are debt free but there are still other bills and financial restrictions within the club. We just have to work with what we've got."
"I don't think you can question the players' effort or commitment, which is something we have to get the most out of," he added.
Latest in Sport
David De Gea to Real Madrid: Spanish club resume £28m pursuit after fending Manchester United off Sergio Ramos
Karim Benzema to Arsenal: Transfer news live - Angel Di Maria to leave Manchester United, Emmanuel Adebayor to Aston Villa
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015 Third Test Day One report: England skittle Australia for 136, James Anderson takes six wickets, Ian Bell hits half-century
Nicolas Otamendi to Manchester United: Sergio Ramos is only defender of interest to Louis van Gaal
- 1 Australia to impose 24-hour curfew on all cats to protect endangered species
- 2 Model's video shoot on the beach interrupted by sudden landing of a group of illegal migrants
- 3 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 4 MH370: Boeing 777 wing that could match missing plane found on the French island of Reunion
- 5 'Killer robots' with AI must be banned, urge Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky and thousands of others in open letter
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Labour leadership contest: I would never quit the party, says Liz Kendall