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Ramsdens Cup: Easter Road to host Raith v Rangers

Rangers and Raith Rovers will contest the Ramsdens Cup final at Easter Road. Picture: SNS

Rangers and Raith Rovers will contest the Ramsdens Cup final at Easter Road. Picture: SNS

  • by ALASDAIR LAWRIE AND DARREN JOHNSTONE
 

Easter Road has been named as the venue for the Ramsdens Cup final between Rangers and Raith Rovers.

Hibernian’s 20,421-capacity stadium will host the game on 6 April, with the match being screened live by BBC ALBA.

With Hampden being unavailable because of redevelopment work for the Commonwealth Games, there had been much debate about where the game should be played.

Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray last night expressed his delight that the club will be returning to the scene of one of the most memorable nights in their history.

The Kirkcaldy side took on European football super-power Bayern Munich in Leith in their home leg Uefa Cup second round clash in 1995 – 11 months after shocking Celtic in the League Cup final. The game was switched from Stark’s Park due to the Hibs’ greater capacity.

Despite a 2-0 defeat – Jurgen Klinsmann notched a brace – that evening is still fondly remembered by the club’s supporters. Raith – who lost the second leg 2-1 after leading at the break – emerged with their pride intact from that clash in Edinburgh but Murray hopes they will be leaving with the Ramsdens Cup in April.

He said: “The club has history with Easter Road, they played a big European game there, a massive game for the club and this is one the players will enjoy. It’s a fantastic stadium with the new stand in place.

“It was out of our control where it was going to be. You reach a cup final and they don’t come along very often, so you’re not too fussed where it’s going to be, you’re just delighted to be there.

“We are just happy that we are in it and we obviously found out on Tuesday night that it’s going to be against Rangers.

“It’s great, it’s a big cup final to look forward to. It’s a great venue to play at, it’s a really nice stadium and hopefully it will be a full stadium in April.

“The lads are looking forward to it but we understand now it’s going to be a very difficult final.

“Rangers have made a fantastic start to the season. The run they have put together, in any league, is a great achievement and they’re a quality side.”

Rangers reached the final after Jon Daly’s goal secured a 1-0 victory over Stenhousemuir in Tuesday night’s semi-final at Ochilview.

And skipper Lee McCulloch believes reaching their first final since Rangers went into administration and liquidation last year shows they are on the right track on their road to recovery.

Rangers fans last savoured a final in more high-profile fashion as their team won the League Cup against Celtic at Hampden in 2011.

This competition may be contested by Scottish football’s lower league sides but McCulloch was keen to emphasise the importance of the cup to Rangers. He said: “It means the world to us. This is the first final this group of players has got to. It means so much to us.

“It’s a chance to go and lift a cup and to show everybody that the club is progressing and getting back to where we should be.”

The last-four clash against Stenhousemuir was not quite as convincing as the 8-0 thrashing handed out by Rangers when the sides met in the league at Ibrox last month.

McCulloch said: “I thought we dominated the game. We hit the bar twice in the first half, created a few other chances, and I didn’t think they really looked like scoring. We just had to be patient and, finally, we got there in the end with big Jon’s brave header and we saw the game out.”

And the Rangers skipper was delighted to make amends for last year’s exit on penalties to eventual winners Queen of the South. He said: “We spoke about that before the game. We remembered how we felt last season when we got put out on penalties.

“We are just delighted to have pushed on from last season and got to a final. The final is six months away, which is a bit of a strange one, so it’s just all about getting points on the board in the league just now and looking forward to the final.”

 

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