BARRY FERGUSON smiles sheepishly.

Asked about his working day as a player with Rangers, Blackburn Rovers and the rest, he admits it wasn't always the most taxing. Training would usually commence at around 10.30am, finish at around noon and then the rest of the day was usually his own to do as he pleased.

It is a luxury few of his Clyde players will have the pleasure of experiencing. Instead several of his squad will head to Ibrox for tonight's Petrofac Training Cup tie against Ferguson's former club having put in the best part of a 12-hour shift in their day jobs first. A part-time squad that includes joiners, labourers and the starter at a golf club will have little opportunity to put their feet up ahead of a match that, for many of them, will be the biggest of their careers. For Ferguson, it has been an eye-opening experience to see how the other half lives. "It has given me a new respect for these players, 100%," he said. "I take my hat off to every single one of them.

Loading article content

"I've got guys coming in wearing their overalls straight from work into training. They're not doing it for the money, they're doing it for the love of the game.

"You could never accuse these boys of slacking because they give so much just to play football. I've got four of them who are getting away an hour early, which is 4pm, and they start at 6am.

"When I was at Rangers I'd get in about the back of 9am and start training at 10.30am. Training was an hour and a half then in for lunch and away for 1pm. Often I'd do a wee bit in the gym in the afternoon. It's a different world.

"Don't get me wrong, I had to work to get to that level. When I was a young boy as an apprentice I had jobs to do and had to go and prove that I could play at a high level. But you do see how much these guys have to put in and know what a privileged position I was in. You can't train guys for three hours, you've got to gear guys up for 90 minutes on a Saturday or a Tuesday."

A victory for Clyde tonight would rank alongside their Scottish Cup defeat of Celtic in 2006 and could provide the springboard for some to move on to bigger and better things.

"That result is an inspiration but Clyde were in a different league at the time and obviously the budgets were a lot higher," added Ferguson.

"It will be difficult because Rangers are clear favourites but we're not going to go there and sit back with 10 men behind the ball. I've said this to the players that this could be a real opportunity for them.

"Just look at a few of them, like Craig Bryson, who has gone on to do well in his career after beating Celtic before. You never know who is at these games and I'm not the type who would stand in their way of moving on to a good opportunity."