DCSIMG

Clarke prepared for Cup duty if required

Rangers' Sebastien Faure is tackled by Dunfermline's Alex Whittle

Rangers' Sebastien Faure is tackled by Dunfermline's Alex Whittle

Nicky Clark had run himself into the ground by the time the final whistle sounded on Rangers’ 2-0 home win over nearest challengers Dunfermline Athletic at Ibrox on Saturday – but the exhausted striker was more than happy to get a full ninety minutes under his belt for the first time since returning from injury.

“It was good for me to get the full game today. I played the second-half on Wednesday as well and I feel fine,” he said.

“I felt I made a good start here but was then out for nine weeks injured. I would hope to get more games before the end of the season – and more goals too.”

In all probability Nicky will not play from the start in Monday night’s Scottish Cup replay at Hamilton – at least not from the start – but he was certainly preparing to be ready for action.

“It’ll be tough to get ready for Monday and it’s important that I rest tonight,” he added.

“We’re in tomorrow and we’ll get massages then too. That’ll get the legs going again. It’s important not just for me but for everyone who played today to get plenty of sleep over the next couple of days so that we’re ready.”

“We’re confident but as we saw here at Ibrox, they were right up for it and they will be again.

“We’ll always get criticised if we don’t get a result. It’ll be a hard game but what a chance it is for us to get to a semi-final.

“The last couple of results have put us in the right frame of mind.”

The Light Blues are now under pressure to dispose of the Wee Rovers at the second attempt and book a last-four meeting with Dundee United in the Scottish Cup, after being heavily criticised for their efforts in the initial 1-1 draw.

The stakes may be high but, having had a taste of success already, youngster Calum Gallagher would love to be involved in the crucial clash.

The 19-year-old forward made the most of his first-team bow when he came off the bench to grab the clincher on Saturday.

He said: “You would have to ask the manager but I would like to think I’ve maybe put myself in with a shout. I’m just happy to be around the first team.”

Asked what was going through his mind when he was pitched into the action for the last 15 minutes against the Pars, he admitted: “There was a combination of panic and joy.

“I had tunnel vision and was wide-eyed but I was just really pleased to make my debut. I’m just elated.

“I’ve been on the bench a couple of times but that was my first time on the pitch for the first team so it was a good feeling.

“I think it’s everyone’s dream to score on their debut. The ball just dropped to me and I hit it. It could have gone anywhere but I was lucky it went in the net.

“Any impact you can make in the first team is good so I was pleased to do that.

“It was a complete surprise to get on.

“I’ve been involved with the first team in training and in squads a bit more recently, so it was maybe building up to it, but I still wasn’t expecting it.”

 

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