Alex McLeish embraced the sixth trophy of his managerial reign at Rangers yesterday as his side destroyed Motherwell in a one-sided CIS Insurance Cup final at Hampden Park, and then revealed that too much success had almost produced his downfall.
The Ibrox manager admitted that he had contemplated walking away from Ibrox after taking the club to the Treble in 2003. McLeish felt that glory would only lead to intense disenchantment when he could not produce a follow-up.
That happened last season, as Rangers failed to land a single piece of silverware. "I know how fickle football is," he said. "I thought about going after the Treble because I was losing six players and we did not have the money to replace them.
"However, walking away is not my style. The chairman remained patient and gave me money and I knew we would have a decent side again. That's why this trophy delights me."
There was no doubt from the fifth minute yesterday that this cup was heading to the Ibrox boardroom. Maurice Ross put Rangers in front when he was released by Fernando Ricksen's pass and lobbed the on-rushing goalkeeper, Gordon Marshall, from 14 yards. Just four minutes later, Sotiros Kyrgiakos doubled that lead. The Greek defender pounced at the back post after Barry Ferguson's cross had been misheaded across goal.
Motherwell responded with a goal of their own on 13 minutes. David Partridge rose higher than Kyrgiakos to meet Steven Hammell's free-kick and thump a header past Ronald Waterreus.
However, Motherwell had any notion of a fightback dispelled after 33 minutes when Ricksen restored Rangers' advantage, curling a free-kick around the wall from 25 yards.
Nacho Novo then killed the game stone dead just three minutes into the second half. Gregory Vignal's clever ball over the top let the Spaniard elude Partridge and conjured up another lob over Marshall from 20 yards. Motherwell tried to stem the tide after that but Kyrgiakos headed his second goal from Ricksen's corner with four minutes remaining.
"We simply never turned up," the Motherwell manager, Terry Butcher said. "I have to apologise to our fans."
Goals: Ross (5) 1-0; Kyrgiakos (9) 2-0; Partridge (13) 2-1; Ricksen (33) 3-1; Novo (48) 4-1; Kyrgiakos (86) 5-1.
Rangers (4-4-2): Waterreus; Ross, Kyrgiakos, Malcolm, Ball; Buffel, Ricksen, Ferguson, Vignal (Rae, 78); Prso, Novo (Thompson, 83). Substitutes not used: Smith (gk), Lovenkrands, Khizanishvili.
Motherwell (4-4-2): Marshall; Corrigan, Craigan, Partridge, Hammell; McBride (Quinn, 82), Leitch, O'Donnell, Foran (Clarkson, 64); Paterson (Fitzpatrick, 64), McDonald. Substitutes not used: Corr (gk), Fagan.
Booked: Rangers Ferguson; Motherwell Corrigan, Craigan, Fitzpatrick.
Referee: M McCurry.
Man of the match: Kyrgiakos.