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
England vs Lithuania: Wayne Rooney rules out repeat of boxing celebration after son Kai repeats it at school and focuses on goalscoring record
Marco Reus becomes Arsenal transfer target to replace Theo Walcott
Paul Scholes: It's amazing Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has so few caps for England
New kits for 2015/16: Have the Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Barcelona strips been leaked?
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Zab Judah denies flooring Mayweather during sparring as he prepares for 2 May
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest