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Legend Gough's advice has fuelled Halliday's desire to soothe Cup woe

By Andy Newport

Andy Halliday hopes he can wipe away the painful memories of Rangers' 2016 Scottish Cup final defeat by leading the Ibrox men up the Hampden steps this year.

The Gers midfielder thought he had bagged the historic winner against Hibernian as the Light Blues sought their first major honour since the club's financial implosion.

But joy turned to despair 18 months ago when Anthony Stokes levelled the game up before David Gray won it for the Easter Road men in stoppage time to end their 114-year wait for cup glory.

The ugly scenes that followed the final whistle as fans clashed on the Hampden turf only added to the bitter disappointment felt by the Gers squad.

Yet Halliday has revealed how a pep talk from former Rangers captain Richard Gough has fired him up to try again.

Now, as Graeme Murty's squad prepare for tomorrow's last-eight showdown with Falkirk, Halliday - back in Glasgow after spending the first half of the season on loan at Azerbaijani outfit Gabala - is eager to grasp his chance at redemption.

"It was a massive low point for me personally," said the versatile Ibrox ace. "We were 12 minutes away from winning a Scottish Cup - a real Rangers trophy -with me scoring the winner.

"You never know how many cup finals you're going to play in so for my first big one to end like that was massively disappointing.

"But hopefully at this club I'll be able to play in a few more.

"Richard Gough actually gave me some really good advice after that game as a man who has played in a lot of cup finals himself. He told me that you remember the cup finals you lose more than the ones you win and I can see where he is coming from after 2016.

"The next time we get to a cup final, we don't want to feel the way we did that day.

"We've got a really good opportunity to reach another final. We're a couple of steps away with Sunday the first hurdle.

"It would be massive for me and mean a lot to everyone if we could win the cup this year. There will be a big, big party in Glasgow if we can bring the trophy home.

"But there is a long way to go. We've got a big hurdle to overcome on Sunday.

"Falkirk are a team who took a few points off us when we were in the Championship a couple of years ago but we are full of confidence right now."

Murty made use of Halliday's flexibility on Tuesday night as the 26-year-old was asked to fill in at left-back during their 4-1 romp at St Johnstone.

With Declan John still out with a groin injury and skipper Lee Wallace still to return from a similar issue, Halliday hopes to retain the slot tomorrow - and hopefully when Celtic visit the weekend after.

"Sometimes that word 'versatile' can be a bit of a burden as you never get a run in one position but I will never complain about wherever I have to play for this club," he said.

"It's up to me to keep the jersey while Dec and Waldo are out and if I manage to play in the Celtic game it will be a massive occasion that I'll certainly relish."

Belfast Telegraph


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