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Wilde now busy living the dream at Rangers

By Ronnie Esplin

Gregg Wylde completed his conversion from fan to player in Rangers' Co-operative Insurance Cup final win over Celtic at the national stadium on Sunday.

The 19-year-old made only his second start for the Light Blues under Walter Smith in last week's Europa League clash with PSV Eindhoven at Ibrox.

With Vladimir Weiss still not fully fit Wylde kept his place wide on the left of midfield and picked up his first medal for the Govan club following the 2-1 extra-time win over the Parkhead side.

“Before the game I was a wee bit nervous,” said the former Celtic and Rangers youth player.

“But I was over the moon to get my first medal and to beat Celtic was a massive achievement for me.

“I was at Hampden watching Rangers a few years ago as a fan and then there I was, playing against Celtic. What a jump that is. My mum, Evelyn, and dad Gordon, are Rangers fans as well and they have helped me throughout my career.

“I spoke to them down at the tunnel and they were a bit upset to be honest as I haven't won a medal in years. It was an emotional moment and I hope I made them proud of me.”

Wylde, who had to pull out of the Scotland under-21 squad ahead of their friendly in Belgium on Thursday with a hamstring complaint, believes he will get help from his fellow youngsters as Rangers look to build on their cup win and retain the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title.

“Young ones have come through from Murray Park like me, Kyle Hutton, Jamie Ness and Darren Cole and the gaffer has a lot of belief in us,” he said.

“I don't think Celtic can easily shrug us off in the league, we are only two points behind and we have a game in hand. We know if we win it we will go top.”

It was Rangers' first Old Firm win in five meetings but Steven Naismith, who had to withdraw from the Scotland squad ahead of Sunday's friendly against Brazil with a hamstring and groin complaint, insists the Ibrox men will not be found wanting in the battle for the title. “The spirit in this team has never been in question since the manager came in,” he said.

“One of the first things he instilled into his squad was a desire to fight for each other.

“It showed on the park on Sunday and over the last two or three years. We are confident in our own abilities and we know that circumstances played a part in the past Old Firm games.

“That cup win will definitely give us a bit of confidence.

“It is the first trophy of the season and we managed to win it and hopefully we can go and win the league now.”

Meanwhile, Steven Whittaker admitted the need to beat Celtic for the first time in five meetings drove Rangers to victory at Hampden.

Whittaker said: “There was an edge that we had. We knew we had to win. We hadn't done ourselves justice in a couple of the other Old Firm games plus things didn't go for us.”

Belfast Telegraph


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