Falkirk captain Aaron Muirhead, pictured, insists victory over Rangers in today’s Scottish Cup quarter-final can help atone for an underwhelming league season, and make up for the hurt of his 2015 cup final snub.
A slow start to the campaign has left the eighth-placed Championship side with a mountain to climb if they are to reach the play-offs.
Paul Hartley’s arrival as manager in October did trigger an upturn in fortunes, Falkirk having won seven ot of their past ten matches in all competitions, but they remain ten points adrift of the top four.
Former Partick Thistle player Muirhead is also keen to reach Hampden once more after being overlooked for the final three years ago when Inverness won 2-1.
More than 1,200 Falkirk fans will travel to Ibrox for the tie and Muirhead admits a win would give the club a timely lift. He said: “We’ve not had a great season in the league but maybe a cup run would help the fans forgive us. It’s a one-off and hopefully we can give a good account of ourselves and come away with something.
“The manager said he wants to have a go and hopefully we can go with a game plan that will allow us to stamp our authority on the game.
“Even a draw to take them back to the Falkirk stadium wouldn’t be a disaster. Everyone is relishing the challenge.”
Muirhead is one of six survivors from the squad that endured Hampden heartache against Inverness.
The 27-year-old’s disappointment was compounded by the fact he was left on the bench by then manager Peter Houston.
He added: “I was part of the team that got to the Scottish Cup final but I only joined in the January window and I came on in both the quarter and semi-final and I was on the bench for the final.
“It was horrible watching. They went down to ten men and you think you’re going to win; you’re getting ready in case you’re needed, then Inverness scored. It was unfortunate on the day but it was a good experience to be involved in that. I’m sure it will be a highlight in a lot of the players’ careers and I’m sure going to Ibrox will be a similar feeling.
“It’s only the quarter-final but it will give us the same buzz and you don’t need any motivation when you’re going there.It has to be channelled in the right way; hopefully the boys don’t get too excited and we can get something to hold on to.”
Falkirk manager Hartley wants his team to go toe-to-toe with Rangers but Muirhead is also wary of trying to contain an attack that is firing on all cylinders.
He added: “I saw a stat the other day that they’ve scored 17 goals in four games so they’re obviously doing something right at that end of the park – so it will be tough to try to nullify them. Hopefully our game plan helps us do that.”