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Davis is in blue heaven after cup final strike

Northern Ireland star Steven Davis was back to his brilliant best to help Rangers to their Co-Operative Insurance Cup final victory over Celtic yesterday.

The Cullybackey-man openly admits he hasn't hit the heights of last season's title-winning campaign when he was named Player of the Year.

Goals have also been hard to come by for the midfielder, but he put that right to extinguish Celtic's treble ambitions and give Light Blues boss Walter Smith a trophy in his last final as Ibrox chief before handing the reins to sidekick Ally McCoist.

Davis, who was named Man-of-the-Match, opened the scoring in the first-half with only his third strike of the season before Nikica Jelavic bagged an extra-time winner to send the blue half of Glasgow into ecstasy at Hampden Park.

“Winning was all that mattered, but to play well and contribute a goal was extra special for me,” said Davis, who meets up with the Northern Ireland squad this afternoon ahead of their Euro 2012 qualifiers against Serbia and Slovenia.

“I've had a dip in form recently and it does get to you, but hopefully I can build on this. We were delighted with the performance because it was chalk and cheese from the last two times we faced Celtic.

“When I got the chance to run with the ball, I saw the opening to shoot, but I rarely score with my left foot.

“That certainly is the most memorable one, not least because it seemed to take an eternity to cross the line.”

Davis has also backed the SPL champions new-look attacking formation to succeed between now and the end of the campaign.

He added: “We had to work harder because we were pressing the ball a lot higher up the pitch.

“We played with freedom too and thankfully scored the goals we needed to win the trophy.

“The players would be happy to play like that every week, but our other style of playing has been successful for a long time.

“No matter what way we line up, we will fight to the finish and hopefully that will be good enough to see us retain our title.”

Meanwhile Celtic winger Kris Commons blasted his team-mates for the manner in which they lost the final.

“We have let down ourselves, the fans, the coaching staff and especially Neil (Lennon),” admitted Commons.

“There was six or seven lads who didn't turn up. I don't think we did enough to win the game or lose it.

“There were some okay performances, a few of us didn't play to our abilities and we switched off certainly for the second goal.

“We felt confident and sharp but there was no evidence of that.”

Belfast Telegraph


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