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Rangers and Rovers get a perfect draw

RANGERS are two home matches away from a Scottish Cup final.

Rangers will take on Albion Rovers at home in the quarter-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup. Picture: SNS
Rangers will take on Albion Rovers at home in the quarter-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup. Picture: SNS

Albion Rovers are preparing for their biggest pay day since the club was formed in 1882.

The clubs will meet on March 8 or March 9 after being paired in the quarter-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup. Both semi-finals of the tournament will be played at Ibrox, with Celtic Park hosting the final.

Ally McCoist, manager of Rangers, last night conceded it would be a tie his side would be expected to win but added: "We'll have to be guarded and there will be no complacency from us. The fact we've the chance to play for a semi-final at Ibrox is a huge incentive for us.

"That's what we are playing for here, effectively a home tie in which we'd have a chance to get to the final and that's brilliant, but we'll treat Albion with all the respect they deserve."

The draw was a marvellous financial reward for the Coatbridge side, who have defeated both Motherwell and Stenhousemuir en route to the club's first quarter-final in 80 years.

Frank Meade, the chief executive of the club, said: "I suppose you could say it is like a pools win for us but it is one that we deserve. To go to Ibrox is brilliant because usually when we get a good result we invariably end up with subsequently getting the wrong end of the draw."

The clubs will have talks over the pricing policy for the match but Meade, a retired accountant, expects a "six-figure sum" for the Rovers. It could be a substantial one as the game is likely to be chosen for live coverage by Sky or BBC.

If, for example, the match is priced at £20 a ticket with more than 30,000 spectators and a television fee in the region of £85,000, Rovers could pocket more than £300,000 from the game.

"Our normal turnover for a game is about £5000-6000 with about 400 paying spectators, so you can see how much the Rangers game could mean to us in terms of turnover and in terms of the future," explained Meade.

James Ward, manager of Albion Rovers, added: "It is a fantastic draw for us in lots of ways. Going to a top stadium like Ibrox is a great reward after beating Spartans, Deveronvale, Motherwell and now Stenhousemuir."

Aberdeen, who are now favourites to win the cup with the sponsors, have a home draw against Dumbarton and their manager, Derek McInnes, said: "We're delighted to get a home draw, something we haven't had too often in recent times. We'll give Dumbarton every respect, they've been doing well in the Championship and we know it'll be a tough tie. It's a great opportunity for us."

His counterpart Ian Murray said: "Aberdeen may have had a massive result when they beat Celtic at the weekend, but we are already looking forward to this one. Our away form does not worry me and in fact it is probably better than our home form."

Dundee United, who defeated St Mirren 2-1 at Tannadice yesterday, will face the winners of the replay between Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Stranraer, raising the prospect of a repeat of the League Cup tie between the sides in which Nadir Cifti, the United striker, was sent off during a turbulent encounter.

"We went up there earlier in the season but hopefully we don't get the same decisions," said Jackie McNamara, the United manager, of a match his side lost 2-1 after extra time.

In the other quarter-final, SPFL Championship side Raith Rovers will play St Johnstone after knocking out Hibernian. Rovers are managed by Grant Murray who played in Perth between 2001 and 2003 and one of their scorers at Easter Road was former St Johnstone player Kevin Moon.

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