Football / Scottish up Final: Rangers continue to reign supreme

Aberdeen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Rangers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

IN THE words of the Tina Turner song which became an unofficial anthem at Ibrox this season, Rangers are simply the best. There can be no doubts, no arguments following their win over Aberdeen in the Tennents Scottish Cup Final, a win which completed a domestic treble of honours this season and means the Glasgow giants have won 10 of the 15 trophies on offer over the last five years.

Their successes have restricted others to the odd cup win and on Saturday they kept Aberdeen in their place as runners-up. The Dons have trailed Rangers in the Skol Cup, the League championship and now the Scottish Cup. If winning has become a habit with the blue and white army, finishing second is Aberdeen's speciality.

On Saturday the Rangers supporters gleefully unfurled the giant red, white and blue flags at the home of their historic rivals, Celtic, as they witnessed goals from Neil Murray and Mark Hateley winning the final, and confirming Rangers' superiority in the Scottish game.

Although they finished second in the three competitions, Aberdeen have a way to go yet, having recorded just one win over Rangers in six games this season. Celtic have been trophy-less for four years and face the prospect of losing John Collins, their influential midfielder, during the summer, while Hearts and Dundee United do not seem to have the strength to challenge over the course of a season.

As a business and as a football team Rangers have left the rest standing still, and if domestic victories have been achieved so readily it is to the European game they look to provide real competition on a regular basis. Playing resources were stretched to the limit this season in a campaign which took them to within 90 minutes of the European Cup final and the resilience they demonstrated when seemingly down and out on several occasions became a 12th player.

Their will to win has been exemplified by John Brown and Stuart McCall. Brown, uncompromising at the heart of the defence, moaning the face off anyone within earshot, and McCall, of the tireless legs and indefatigable energy. At times when the skill factor was diminished, these two drove the team to greater effort.

Rangers' biggest problem is trying to better this season; for many supporters that will mean lifting the European Cup. The squad will be strengthened and the availability of Duncan Ferguson, the Dundee United striker, will not have gone unnoticed by Walter Smith. Rangers expressed an interest in him during the season and it would cost around pounds 2.5m to take Ferguson to Ibrox.

That is for the future, at present Smith and his players will have thoughts only for the summer beaches, their places in the history books assured.

Goals: Murray (23) 0-1; Hateley (43) 0-2; Richardson (77) 1-2.

Aberdeen: Snelders; McKimmie, Wright (Smith, 63), Grant, Irvine, McLeish, Richardson, Mason, Booth, Shearer (Jess, 75), Paatelainen.

Rangers: Goram; McCall, D Robertson, Gough, McPherson, Brown, Murray, Ferguson, Durrant, Hateley, Huistra (Pressley, 88). Substitute not used: McSwegan.

Referee: J McCluskey (Stewarton).

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