Raith Rovers chairman Turnbull Hutton says beating Rangers to lift the Ramsdens Cup is as big as anything the club have achieved in the past.
John Baird stunned Ally McCoist’s side with a dramatic extra-time winner as the Kirkcaldy club – five-time champions of the second tier – got their hands on more silverware 20 years after upsetting Celtic in the League Cup final.
And although the Ramsdens Cup excludes teams from the top-flight, Hutton admits the fact they humbled Rangers in the final makes it all the more special. Hutton said: “We all know it’s the Ramsdens Cup but it was slightly different considering our opponents in the final were Rangers.
“It was superb for the club and the town. We have only won two cups, it seems to happen every 20 years.
“But this is probably up there with anything we’ve achieved before, to get to a final of any description is great. My son is actually one of the lucky ones because he is old enough to have been at the League Cup final in 1994 and was there on Sunday.
“Some people go through their whole lifetime without witnessing that. It was great, hopefully the profile of the club has been raised and we see the spin-offs from that.”
Raith took the celebrations back from Easter Road across the Forth on Sunday evening and partied into the early hours of the morning. Hutton added: “All the players, staff and officials went up to our main shirt sponsors O’Connell’s for drinks in Kirkcaldy on Sunday. There was queuing to get in and it was shoulder to shoulder inside. I stayed until around 11 o’clock but it was a great night. They were still queuing when I left.”
Sunday certainly proved to be a day, and a night, that will live long in the memories of all associated with the club and captain Jason Thomson echoed the sentiments of the Rovers chairman.
“It’s a great feeling. We knew we were capable of getting the win on the day and we showed guts and determination,” said Thomson. “Performance wise, we might not have been great and it might not have been a great game to watch, but at the end of the day, we don’t really care.”
Thomson was quick to praise his fellow Raith heroes, particularly matchwinner John Baird and goalkeeper Lee Robinson. “John was getting a bit emotional, we had a joke with him that he got all the glory just by turning up for the final and scoring the winning goal! But he’s been great for us since he signed and he’s scored a lot of goals and got the vital goal.”
“There was a lot of talk about how Rangers were favourites, but we thought we could put in a performance and get a result, which we did. Lee Robinson’s had a couple of good saves to make, but you would always expect your goalie to make a few decent saves in any cup final and especially against Rangers. So he did great to keep us in the game and we pushed on in the end and got the win. We knew this season going into one-off games, like Hibs (who Raith beat 3-2 in the Scottish Cup at Easter Road in February), that we can do it for games like that. And I think we showed it again.
“They had a couple of chances and we didn’t maybe have as many, but we got the only goal of the game and that’s all that matters.”
The final result is certainly all that matters as far as the history books are concerned and the skipper was in no doubt as to what the achievement means at an individual level too. “Obviously, it will be right up there and personally it’s a great honour to be the captain of this club and win a trophy.
“So it’s right up there with 1994 and some of us will go down in the history books and the likes of me and Gordon Dalziel can say we have lifted a trophy for the club, so I know that’s a great honour.”