Victory in today’s Scottish Cup final would see Mark Warburton return European football to Rangers after less than a year in the job, something the club’s former midfielder Alex Rae believes would be a phenomenal achievement.
However, the St Mirren boss has warned Warburton that while securing Rangers’ long-awaited return to the top flight and winning the Scottish Cup would have been beyond everybody’s wildest dreams when the former currency trader showed up at Ibrox in June, the hard work will really begin this summer.
Rae, speaking at The Bank of Scotland Midnight League final at Clyde FC, said: “If people had said to Mark Warburton that he would have secured promotion, won the Scottish Cup and got the team back into Europe in a year then they would think you were off your head.
“But I think the major work for Rangers is still to be done. They still need to add several players to their squad before next season to add the quality needed to make a concerted effort to compete with Celtic.
“The work Mark has done has been phenomenal in such a short space of time and I am going to watch with interest where they go from here because I would be interested to see how far he can take them next year – although football is a precarious industry where people come and go and get headhunted. I am interested to see how he gets on because the pressure will crank up a notch when Celtic come into the equation.”
Rae added: “I think this game will decide how the season is perceived for both managers. Whoever wins it will have managed a major success but it shows how 90 minutes can determine a season as being a major disappointment.
“They have recently re-laid the playing surface at Hampden Park and it will be a full house so it has the making of a great final.”
l Bank of Scotland Midnight League is a free national network of diversionary 5-a-side football activity, targeting male and females between 12 to 16 year olds across the country. For more information please visit: www.scottishfa.co.uk/midnightleague.