Falkirk can hurt Rangers in final to remember, says Drinkell

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The Independent Online

The former Rangers and Falkirk striker Kevin Drinkell has predicted a cup final classic after Rangers' and Falkirk's Scottish Premier League seasons ended on a high.

Rangers are aiming to clinch the double after Sunday's 3-0 victory over Dundee United earned them their first SPL title in four years. Falkirk are also going into The Homecoming Scottish Cup final on a high after escaping the drop with a 1-0 victory at Inverness last weekend. And Drinkell believes the release of pressure could make for an exciting afternoon at Hampden.

"Both teams have accomplished a lot this year so the shackles should be off and we should get a good game," Drinkell said. "It's difficult playing under the tension and pressures but the bounce back from that is that everybody should be relaxed. Rangers were under a lot of pressure to stop Celtic winning four championships in a row. They have managed so they should be relaxed. And it's the same for the Falkirk boys. There are some great players on both teams and I hope they will show their true qualities."

Drinkell suspects Falkirk may cause Rangers some problems after escaping the drop, despite trailing at the bottom of the SPL for most of the final three months of the season. "They have had a fantastic season now," the Englishman said. "With staving off relegation last week, they should be relaxed. I think they will give Rangers a couple of frights early doors."

Former Grimsby and Norwich forward Drinkell knows the management teams well, having played alongside Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist when current manager Walter Smith worked under Graeme Souness. Drinkell is also a former team-mate of Falkirk management pair John Hughes and Brian Rice.

"Walter has the experience," Drinkell said. "He has a calming influence and can help people through that. John is relatively young for a manager but he is more driven. He leads by example and does a great job."

* Mixu Paatelainen resigned as manager of Hibernian last night. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as manager of Hibernian,” he said, “however, there comes a time when a change of direction is best for both parties. Paatelainen was appointed in January 2008 but Hibs only finished sixth in the SPL this season and missed out on a place in Europe.

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