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Former Ranger Scott Chaplain is unfazed by the ministry of sound provided by a full house at Ibrox

SCOTT Chaplain will spend this summer at a state-of-the-art sporting facility, surrounded by world-class sportsmen and athletes.

The rest of the time he is based at Cliftonhill and is an Albion Rovers player. The 30-year-old, now into his third spell at the Lanarkshire club, is pursuing a career in sports administration and management as his career in senior football ticks down, and after graduating with first-class honours from a sports management degree, is now gainfully employed as the co-ordinator for the badminton competition at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Football still affords him intriguing opportunities to take central stage, however. Today, he will run out at Ibrox attempting to shock Rangers in the William Hill Scottish Cup and propel the wee Rovers, currently 39th of Scotland's 42 senior teams, into the last four. Even defeat would generate enough cash to pay for a fair old refit of their ramshackle little Lanarkshire ground.

It must be said that the noticeably more luxurious environs of Ibrox aren't exactly new to Chaplain. He spent six of his teenage years on the payroll at Rangers, where he played alongside the likes of Chris Burke and Charlie Adam, leaving the very summer that training moved to Murray Park. The big time came along soon enough in any case with Gordon Dalziel's ambitious Ayr United side, where within 18 months he was a late substitute in the club's 4-0 League Cup final defeat against Rangers.

"I was only 18 and came off the bench," said Chaplain. "It was only 3-0 at the time and I think I got a few touches. But I was only a young player, I wasn't established and they had great names like Tore Andre Flo, Ronald De Boer, Claudio Caniggia and Barry Ferguson."

His previous with Rangers doesn't end there either. As a Partick Thistle player under Ian McCall, he helped give Uefa Cup final-era Rangers a Scottish Cup quarter-final sweat, Thistle going one-nil up courtesy of Damon Gray, before eventually going out in a replay. Then, last March, there was the best of the lot, a man- of-the-match showing in a 2-1 in a victory in Govan with lowly Annan Athletic.

"Winning at Ibrox was a great achievement," he said. "We had a great night there with Thistle getting a draw, but winning there is something to remember. That is a positive experience I can take into Sunday."

While the Scottish Cup presents Rangers with an incredible opportunity to lift silverware, it is worth noting that Albion Rovers have already disposed of Motherwell and have yet to concede a single goal in the competion.

"There's no real secret," admits Chaplain, who is also doing his coaching badges with the SFA, "just a number of factors you need to go for you. For starters, you need a wee bit of luck in cup football, that wee bit of fortune - a corner, a penalty, a free kick, something that goes your way and can turn a game, and before you know it you have something to hold on to. Against Stenhousemuir, for example, we got an own goal - that type of thing.

"Another thing will be belief and your ability to express it. And I don't just mean telling each other "we can win" - that's cheap. It's false.

"Belief is about going out and playing your normal game, whether it's a Cliftonhill, New Douglas Park or Ibrox. It's about taking the ball in a pressure situation, making a mistake but still wanting it back.

"That's the key for us on Sunday. Play your game. Forget the three-tiered stands, the 50,000 crowd, just play and you never know. We're major underdogs, we know that, and Rangers are a force. They're unbeaten this season, which says it all."

Whether or not they get the Hollywood ending or not, 1,000 punters from Coatbridge will savour their big moment.

"It's the people within it that make the club what it is," said Chaplain. "They don't overspend or kid on they're something they're not. They're humble and honest. That's why, when I've left, I've come back. We're not the most glamorous club, but we've earned our day in the sun."

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