FORMER Rangers goalkeeper Peter McCloy believes Walter Smith's players will treat Sunday's CIS Insurance Cup final against Dundee United at Hampden with the same respect and importance given to the competition when he was at Ibrox.
McCloy, nicknamed the 'Girvan Lighthouse', began his trophy haul at Ibrox with a 1-0 League Cup final victory over Celtic in 1970 and ended it with a 1-0 final win against Dundee United in the same competition in 1984. The 1970 final triumph at Hampden was particularly significant for Rangers, given it was their first trophy since the 1966 Scottish Cup and came when Jock Stein's Celtic were dominating Scottish football.
The current Rangers side will return from the second leg of their UEFA Cup last-16 clash with Werder Bremen today looking to win their first trophy in three years.
McCloy said: "I played in 12 cup finals and luckily I won nine of them. But we had a perfect record in the league cup finals, we never lost one. The very first final was in 1970, after I signed from Motherwell, and that was the game in which 16-year-old Derek Johnstone scored in a 1-0 win.
"Rangers hadn't won anything for four and half years, it was a barren time. Celtic were right in the middle of winning their nine titles in a row.
"Some people have decried the League Cup over the years. At that time it was a passport to Europe. But it is still important and it is still a magical thing to play in a cup final. I didn't realise that it is three years since Rangers have been at Hampden (in a final] so it is important for the players, especially the new players, to win a cup."
McCloy tipped his old club to take the trophy back to Ibrox.
He said: "My forecast is a 3-1 win for Rangers. Hampden is a big, open pitch and I think that will suit Rangers better than United."