Chance Should Be Taken No Matter Who You Are Playing

21 March 2010 10:03
St Mirren and Rangers are taking nothing for granted as they play for the Co-operative Cup. St Mirren manager Gus MacPherson has no plans for a heartfelt and inspirational speech before the club's first cup final for 23 years. He is well aware that his squad fully appreciate the importance of the occasion. MacPherson will simply encourage his players to seize the day when they take on Rangers. A similar approach paid dividends in the tousey Fir Park semi-final when St Mirren quickly took control against Hearts and sealed their place in the final with a glorious curling effort from Billy Mehmet. MacPherson is confident enough in the application and attitude shown by his players in the lead up to the game to let them steel themselves for the Hampden contest. He said: "There is very little you say to the players that close to a game. There is criticism of players at all levels that they're daft, but they understand the importance of it. They will be focused on how they want to start the game, how they want to go about it and seize that opportunity. The experienced ones know they don't come around too often.'' Players such as John Potter and Jack Ross are preparing for their first major final in their 30s and know they may not get another chance to play in a Hampden final. MacPherson went on: "Players, if they are worth anything at all, don't need motivation. The professionalism within a group or an individual should be enough to motivate any individual, especially when you're at this level of football and playing in cup finals. Even the semi-final was the perfect case, the players just went there and showed what they are capable of. When you play for a provincial club these opportunities don't come around too often - history tells you that at St Mirren, it's our first final in 23 years and only the second in 50 years. You've got to enjoy it, but the pride you have within yourself to compete in that arena, you have to thrive on it and show the courage on the day.'' MacPherson could be without defender Chris Innes for the game. Innes tore an abductor muscle in the game against Rangers on 6 March but stepped up his rehabilitation early in the week. On-loan Rangers forward Rory Loy is unable to face his employers while Tom Brighton remains on the long-term absentee list.                                       Rangers manager Walter Smith dismissed all "arrogant'' talk of a treble as Rangers prepared for Sunday's game. With Rangers' lead over Celtic in the SPL now cut to 10 points, and Raith Rovers lying in wait should they overcome Dundee United in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals, a domestic clean sweep is very much on the cards.  But, despite enjoying cup final appearances as a coach and manager stretching over 30 years, Smith insists there is no danger of him becoming blasé about the occasions. The Rangers manager will prepare for the Hampden game on its own merits and enjoy it without looking ahead to the bigger picture in May. Smith said: "When someone says you are going to go for trebles, there is an amount of arrogance in that statement. There is an expectation that we get to these cup finals and are attempting to win these trophies. That's what I stress it is, it's an attempt to win. For me, it's not the first leg of a treble, it's a cup final. If we do win it, we'll be delighted for that reason and that reason alone. You always feel very fortunate going into cup finals. I've been lucky enough over my time to be involved in quite a number of them both at Dundee United and Rangers, and you still get the same feeling. It doesn't matter how often you go, you still get that great desire to win. Our squad have shown that, since we came back, they have featured in every cup final in the last three years and that's a big thing. We've shown a desire to do well in each of them. We lost out to Celtic in the League Cup last year, hopefully we can make up for that on Sunday.''Rangers defenders Madjid Bougherra and Kirk Broadfoot will miss the game as both have failed to recover from torn hamstrings. Editor Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)Admin Team (admin@scottishfitba net)This is Scottish-Fitba Net