Raith Rovers target unique treble as cup bid stirs memories of Hibs v Celtic final for Ian Murray
The Kirkcaldy side are the current holders of the SPFL Trust Trophy courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Queen of the South in last season's final having shared the silverware with Inverness two seasons prior when the final, and the following year's tournament, were scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Remarkably, Rovers have not lost a match in the competition for 1,660 days stretching back to September 8, 2018 with Championship rivals Hamilton standing in their way of extending that record further.
Raith were also winners in 2014 - famously upsetting the odds to defeat Rangers in the final at Easter Road - but for boss Ian Murray, who took over in the summer, you have to rewind 22 years for his one and only cup final appearance, with his Hibs team under Alex McLeish going down 3-0 to a rampant treble-winning Celtic in 2001.
“Being 19 and playing in your first Scottish Cup final, you think your next one will be three or four years away,” Murray said. “And then it doesn’t come. You think it will come eventually and it doesn’t. You can’t have regrets. I was only young, I didn’t expect to be playing, to be honest.
“So I don’t have regrets, we had a good Hibs side but we were playing against a really good Celtic side. As good as we were, we couldn’t handle them, not a lot of teams could at that stage of the season.
“I was injured for the 2012 final with Hearts, we missed out in a couple of semi-finals which we should have won, the Dundee United one in particular where we were 1-0 up. So you have to grab opportunities when they come.”
Accies manager John Rankin believes a cup victory would boost his side's second-tier survival hopes – they currently sit bottom of the Championship with eight games remaining.
He said: “100 per cent it can galvanise our league campaign. To win a trophy, then the togetherness and spirit that comes along with that helps enormously.
“We have to concentrate on the game ahead of us but it’s a huge league campaign as well and if we are not successful, then we’ve been able to pick ourselves up before.”
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