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Steven Davis ready to end Rangers’ long wait for Scottish Cup glory by downing Hearts in Hampden final

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Back in the decider: Steven Davis of Rangers is tackled by Falkirk’s Carl Finnigan during the 2009 Scottish Cup Final. Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Back in the decider: Steven Davis of Rangers is tackled by Falkirk’s Carl Finnigan during the 2009 Scottish Cup Final. Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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David Weir lifts the Scottish Cup for Rangers in 2009. Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

David Weir lifts the Scottish Cup for Rangers in 2009. Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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Back in the decider: Steven Davis of Rangers is tackled by Falkirk’s Carl Finnigan during the 2009 Scottish Cup Final. Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Steven Davis admits it has been way too long since Rangers lifted the Scottish Cup with the Northern Ireland captain hoping that is put right at Hampden Park this afternoon.

How Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side react to the crushing disappointment of losing Wednesday’s Europa League decider to Eintracht Frankfurt in a shoot-out following a 1-1 draw will go a long way to determining the outcome of today’s clash with Hearts.

The experience and knowhow of 37-year-old Davis will help on that score. So too his ability to put Rangers on the front foot which was evident in extra-time in Seville against the Bundesliga side before the pain of penalties.

Davis was a late second substitute in Spain. It will be fascinating to see if he starts this weekend as Rangers attempt to win the Scottish Cup for the first time since 2009 when the Ulsterman was playing for the club first time around.

Back then the Ibrox outfit beat Falkirk 1-0 with a Nacho Novo goal to complete back to back triumphs in the competition after a 3-2 victory over Queen of the South the year before when again Davis was involved.

On Wednesday night Rangers were so close to claiming glory in Europe. Now their only chance of silverware in a season in which Celtic regained the title and won the Scottish League Cup comes down to today.

“It is another great game for us. It’s been too long since the club has held the trophy in our hands,” Davis said.

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“Scottish Cup finals are great days if you win the competition. It will be another huge match against a difficult opponent in Hearts who have been exceptional this season.

“It is great to be involved in big games like this. That’s why people come to the club to have an opportunity to win trophies. That comes with the history of the club. You have to do that on a regular basis.

“Hopefully last season was the start of it winning the league title in the manner that we did. We want to get our hands on more trophies and we have an opportunity to do that,” adds Davis who pinpoints Northern Ireland team-mate Liam Boyce as a man to watch in the Hearts side.

Another compatriot who has impressed the international skipper of late is young midfielder Charlie McCann who switched from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland in March.

The 20-year-old has already made first team appearances for Rangers and will be chuffed to learn how much a legendary figure like Davis rates him.

“Charlie McCann is a good player and very neat and tidy. Every time he has come up with the first team you see him progressing and getting better,” suggests Davis.

“He has done well with the B team this season and came on recently against Dundee United and did well. He’s making good progress and has a good football brain and is mature for his age.”

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if veteran goalkeeper Allan McGregor has already played his last game for the club.

The Gers number one is 40 but out of contract this summer and no decision has been taken on his future.

McGregor will sit out the final against Hearts as deputy Jon McLaughlin - who has played all Scottish Cup games so far - will face Robbie Neilson’s team.

“I’ve started Jon in the Scottish Cup campaign this year and he did well, especially in the semi-final against Celtic, so for me it would be strange to change him,” said Van Bronckhorst.

“He will still have the confidence from me tomorrow.

“It’s a difficult one because Allan is our number one goalkeeper, but he was very thoughtful and totally understands that Jon has been playing in the cup.

“With Allan, we have agreed to speak with (sporting director) Ross Wilson after the season.”

Borna Barisic is out after going off injured in Spain, but Van Bronckhorst is confident the rest of his beleaguered squad can respond positively at Hampden.

“I have a lot of confidence in my team and their ability to regroup and recover from big games.

“The final was a big game for us and we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but overall it was a good experience for my team to play in such a big game.

“When you are in finals and you come so far and are very close to achieving silverware, the disappointment will be very big.

“But we have another very important game tomorrow that can mean we win silverware this season. That is our focus now and I have full confidence my team will be ready when the whistle goes.”


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