Smith ex­pects Rangers to have a spring in their step

The Herald - Herald Sport - - SCOTTISH CUP FINAL - CHRIS JACK

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’

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