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Lee Wallace busy plotting a way for Rangers to shake up for Premiership

By Andy Newport

Published 09/04/2016

On the up: Lee Wallace has his eyes on backing up Rangers’ promotion with Cup glory
On the up: Lee Wallace has his eyes on backing up Rangers’ promotion with Cup glory

Lee Wallace insists Rangers have already replaced the champagne with protein shakes after putting their promotion party on ice while they chase a trophy treble.

The Ibrox club wrapped up the Scottish Championship crown on Tuesday to seal their return to the top flight after four years in the lower leagues.

The Gers squad enjoyed the celebrations with a lap of honour after beating Dumbarton 1-0, while midfielder and boyhood bluenose Andy Halliday leapt into the Broomloan Road stand to join in the cheers with jubilant fans.

Corks were also sent popping after the squad returned to the dressing room, but skipper Wallace insists the players were soon supping something more sensible as they returned their focus to tomorrow's Petrofac Training Cup final with Peterhead and next weekend's Old Firm showdown in the last four of the Scottish Cup.

The left-back said: "It was great to get the lap round the pitch and celebrate with the fans. They thoroughly deserve the fact we have got ourselves back to top-flight football.

"They have been exceptional since day one of the journey.

"It was great to celebrate promotion with them, but we've got to remain professional and the mindset for us won't change now we've won the league.

"There was obviously champagne in the dressing room for the celebrations, but it was soon on to the protein shakes to get ourselves ready for training the next day."

Gers have finally completed what has been a emotionally testing journey through the lower leagues since their 2012 financial implosion.

They started that long road back to the Premiership with a 2-2 draw at Peterhead's tiny Balmoor home and Wallace admits it will be fitting if they can land their first cup success since their 2011 League Cup win over Celtic if they beat Jim McInally's men at Hampden.

"It's funny that we are facing Peterhead in our first game after clinching promotion when they were the first team we played in the Third Division," said the Ibrox captain.

"I was speaking to Barrie McKay. He scored the equaliser and that was his first goal for the club all those years ago. It's hard to remember the game, but the result wasn't great. It didn't get us off to the best of starts.

"When I walk out there on Sunday I'll take a moment to think about how much the club has moved on since then, but there's more to come too."

Gers boss Mark Warburton admits it will be an "honour" to lead out his team for the first final of his managerial career and he also reckons the match will offer his team a handy dress rehearsal for their looming cup clash with Celtic a week later.

The Englishman said: "It's very helpful to have this game ahead of the Old Firm match. It's a big cup final on Sunday so it prepares the team really well.

"Everything will be identical to how we do it next week."

Petrofac Cup Final: Hampden Park, Sunday 3.00pm

Rangers

Peterhead

Belfast Telegraph

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