Stuart McCall has called on his players to ensure they do not leave Hampden with any regrets on Sunday afternoon.
The Steelmen boss is no stranger to these huge encounters, having won this competition twice as a player, and he insists that if his players give their all, and don’t let the occasion get to them, then they could pull off a shock.
[onlymembers]“If my players come off the pitch having done their best and made their families proud then I’m happy – and hopefully that will be enough to get us a win,” the gaffer insisted
“I’m looking forward to being involved in a semi-final. Obviously more gets made about the fact that I’m up against Rangers, but it’s not about me, it’s about the group of players I’ve got and it’s about the fans who are getting a trip to Hampden for the first time in a while.
“I’m desperate for the lads to do well on the occasion. I don’t want the young boys to freeze; they should grasp the opportunity and enjoy the game, and not worry about the all the things that go along with a big semi-final.
“They shouldn’t come off that pitch with any regrets. I believe that we have players – if they are at the top of their game – that can cause Rangers problems.”
There is certainly a degree of irony about the fact Stuart McCall faces his old gaffer and team-mate in one of the defining moments of his short management career so far.
The 46-year old played under Walter Smith for seven years after the veteran Ibrox gaffer paid £1.2M for his services, and he was a close friend of Gers’ current assistant Ally McCoist during a hugely successful period for the blue half of Glasgow.
Now the current ‘Well boss is fully committed to bringing silverware to Fir Park, although he acknowledges that the Rangers duo are favourites to reach the final.
“It would be an unbelievable achievement to get to a final. The record is that we haven’t beaten Rangers in about eight years, so that’s not ideal,” McCall was honest enough to acknowledge.
“I respect Walter as a manager and as a man. He is undoubtedly the best manager I ever worked under, and whatever happens at the weekend won’t change that.
“I remember facing Walter Smith when I was caretaker boss at Bradford and he was in charge at Everton. They robbed us that day with a last-minute Naysmith goal, so I’m hoping for some role-reversal on Sunday.”[/onlymembers]