Smith expects Rangers to have a spring in their step
WALTER SMITH, the former Rangers manager, believes Mark Warburton’s side will make a statement of their Premiership intentions if they can clinch the Scottish Cup with victory over Hibernian at Hampden this afternoon.
Having already lifted the Championship title and Petrofac Training Cup this season, Rangers now have their sights set on a third medal of the campaign as they prepare to face Alan Stubbs’s side.
Warburton has admitted himself that Scottish Cup success would be a “bonus” for Rangers this term, with the second tier’s title always their main aspiration following his appointment last summer. The Englishman is now just 90 minutes away from turning a good season into a great one, however, and ensuring his side will play Europa League football later this year.
Rangers have not won the Scottish Cup since Smith guided his side to victory over Falkirk in 2009, and the 68-year-old is pleased to see his former club taking positive strides forward under Warburton after a tumultuous period on and off the park.
“When I left, the staff that I had took over and everyone knows the circumstances the team have been in,” he told rangers.co.uk. “So Mark has been charged with the responsibility of taking the team out of a period of time where the club didn’t have their best spell for a massive number of reasons.
“That gets put aside now, and Mark has taken on the responsibility, as have those others who are now in charge of the club. We have had a great season getting out of the Championship and into the Premiership again, but the Cup Final throws up something different.
“Given the period we have been through, you could never have imagined coming out of this season with a chance of getting into Europe. It would be a tremendous achievement by everyone at the club. Everyone still thinks we have a fair bit to go, but it would be a great achievement to get ourselves back into a European environment.
“Strangely enough, Hibs will feel that as well. It’s the first time two Championship teams have got to the final, and it’s congratulations to both for getting there, but I am desperate for Rangers to win.”
SMITH: ‘Desperate for Rangers to win’