Ally McCoist striving to lead Rangers to Scottish Cup glory

Rangers' Manager Ally McCoist
Rangers' Manager Ally McCoist

Celtic may well be homing in on a third consecutive Championship but in the Cups it has been a vastly different story in recent years and Rangers now have the opportunity to make their mark in a domestic tournament for the first time since 2011.

The Scottish Cup has not adorned the Ibrox trophy room for five long years since a spectacular Nacho Novo strike secured a 1-0 win over Falkirk but this weekend Rangers stand on the cusp of a first semi-final appearance in that period.

A home tie with League Two side Albion Rovers offers the Light Blues a golden opportunity to progress to the last four, not that Ally McCoist will be underestimating the challenge of the Coatbridge side who have already eliminated Premiership outfit Motherwell and Stenhousemuir of League One - a side Rangers have struggled to overcome on more than one occasion this season.

Rangers have already crossed swords with Rovers of course, earning a 4-0 win at Livingston on the opening day of the season with Nicky Law on his competitive debut netting twice in a Challenge Cup-tie.

Ibrox manager Ally McCoist has acknowledged the importance of Sunday afternoon’s fixture and the expectations attached to it.

“It’s a massive game on Sunday. It’s difficult to gauge how important it is but it’s a cup game and it’s very, very important,” he said.

“This match is an opportunity to get to a semi-final. It would be a real boost to the supporters and I’d actively encourage them to come out on Sunday to support us.

“They’ve done that all season and it would be great if they made Ibrox as hostile and noisy as they possibly can. They’ve been fantastic.”

Without question anything other than a comfortable home win would be a real eye-opener but McCoist was keen to convey the impression that the outcome is far from a formality.

“The favourites tag doesn’t really matter an awful lot, particularly in cup games. With the game being at our place and with us having beaten them before then we’re expected to win,” he added.

“They’re from the division below as well so that all points us being favourites on Sunday. We just have to make sure we win.

“You need luck to go on a cup run. We’ve had some tough games, particularly at Falkirk.”

Lewis MacLeod remains unavailable due to a virus whilst McCoist may opt to leave David Templeton out given that a yellow card tomorrow afternoon would see him suspended for the semi-final, which in all probability will be against a Premiership club.

McCoist won just one Scottish Cup Winners Medal as a player – in 1992 – and would arguably secure his greatest achievement in football were he to lead Rangers to victory in this season’s Scottish Cup.