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Gers boss hails players after Cup win

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 25 May 2008

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Walter Smith hailed his weary Rangers players after their Scottish Cup triumph on Saturday put some gloss on a disappointing end to their season.

The Ibrox side won 3-2 against First Division side Queen of the South at Hampden to complete a domestic cup double – after their League Cup success in March.

Only 10 days previously Rangers had been bidding for an historic quadruple trophy haul but, after losing the UEFA Cup Final to Zenit St Petersburg on May 14, Celtic pipped them to the Scottish Premier League title on Thursday.

And after a hectic end to the season – which saw them play five games in 10 days – Smith was relieved his players' efforts were rewarded with some more silverware.

The Rangers boss said: “After the disappointments of the last 10 days I always knew it was going to be a hard game on Saturday.

“I'm delighted for each and everyone of the players after their efforts this season.

“They deserved something at the end of the campaign, although I'm sure Gordon Strachan will believe his Celtic team deserved to win the league.

“But after what we've been through we had a lot to overcome to achieve a victory on Saturday and I'm pleased we managed to do that.”

After taking a two goal lead into the break on Saturday, through goals from Kris Boyd and US winger DaMarcus Beasley, Rangers had made hard work of winning their second trophy of the season.

Queen of the South looked dead and buried but Steve Tosh and Jim Thomson stunned Smith's side and levelled the game within 10 minutes of the restart.

However, Rangers battled back to win the Cup with Boyd scoring the winner.

Smith was proud of the way his players had overcome yet another setback to finish the season on a high.

He said: “When it went to 2-2 I did wonder if the players would have it in them to come back again.

“It was a big ask for them and the fact they managed to achieve that says it all about them.

“There was a bit of slackness in the goals we lost but it would have been a shame if we had lost the cup because of that as we've had a really tough spell recently.”

Smith continued: “I'm very pleased for everyone at the club and we can be a little bit more pleased with the season than we were a few days ago.

“It's great to have won two cups this season and it's something tangible for the players. They have had an extremely good season and it's great to have won the two domestic cups.

“Although it doesn't take away from the disappointment of losing the SPL and the UEFA Cup we can be a bit happier with ourselves than we were a few days ago.”

Rangers had opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when Boyd smashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 25-yards.

The game looked as good in the 43rd minute Beasley fired home from 12-yards.

To their enormous credit the Dumfries side refused to concede defeat and halved the deficit in the 50th minute when Tosh chested the ball over the line from Sean O'Connor's cross.

Only three minutes later Queen of the South's captain Thomson sent a looping header over Rangers goalkeeper Neil Alexander and into the net to score a sensational equaliser.

One of the biggest shocks in Scottish Cup history looked to be on the cards but in the 72nd minute Rangers secured the Cup when Boyd headed Beasley's corner into the roof of the net.

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