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Scottish Cup vindication is well in hand at Rangers for David Templeton after Hearts disappointment

IT could have been his big day, but in the end it proved only to be his biggest disappointment.

David Templeton's omission from the Hearts team that won the scottish Cup in 2012 has given him fresh motivation to lift the famous trophy with Rangers Photograph: SNS
David Templeton's omission from the Hearts team that won the scottish Cup in 2012 has given him fresh motivation to lift the famous trophy with Rangers Photograph: SNS

Most people associated with Hearts will bask for the rest of their lives in the Gorgie club's 5-1 Scottish Cup final victory over Hibs in 2012, yet for David Templeton the overriding emotion will always be one of regret.

The images of the moment - the heady celebrations at Hampden, the bus tour which the next day snaked through the streets of Edinburgh, the man-by-man introductions over the tannoy at Tynecastle - all are viewed through the prism of the player's disappointment at his non-involvement, Portuguese coach Paulo Sergio omitting him from the match squad despite the fact he had featured in every other round of the tournament.

While the player had returned from injury only a few weeks earlier, he was convinced he had sufficient match fitness to merit a place on the bench, and his mood about it all probably wasn't helped by the fact that he was entirely unaware that he would be a non-participant until the team sheet was read out pre-match.

His tale of woe, however, only increases his appetite for some genuine Scottish Cup glory in this year's competition, with Rangers facing Albion Rovers today as they attempt to book what would effectively be a home semi-final.

"I wasn't told, that's the thing that annoyed me, to be honest," said Templeton. "It was a case of just before the match the team sheet got read and that was it. It's true that the following day back at Tynecastle you don't really feel a part of it because you weren't involved.

"Even though I'd been in every round up until then, it's totally different to being part of the final. You don't feel as if you've helped the team at all. It's hard to be happy when you've not got a medal.

"I had been out injured for about eight weeks, then I came back and there were four games left," added a player who has given more consistent notice of his abilities after a first season at the club which reached its nadir in the 3-0 cup loss at Tannadice. "I got to play in two of them so I don't know if the manager didn't see me as match fit.

"It's his choice so you can't really argue, but I thought I was fit enough to at least be involved on the bench. I played there for five years and although it was hard not being involved I was still happy for everyone who was.

"Of course, it gives me determination now to play a part hopefully in Rangers being there. I saw what it meant to everyone involved at Hearts. It made me want to win stuff and if we could do that it would vindicate why I came here. I wanted to win things and help take the club back to where we should be."

Templeton's personal narrative highlights the capricious nature of the cup competitions, but then again his manager could tell him a thing or two about that as well. Considering Rangers' dominance during his time at the club - not to mention his multiple League Cup winners' medals - McCoist could really have expected a better return than just one Scottish Cup victory during his playing days, against Airdrie in 1992.

There were three final defeats - to Celtic in 1989, Dundee United in 1994 and Hearts in 1998 - and he had the misfortune to be recovering from a broken leg sustained on Scotland duty when Rangers won 2-1 against Aberdeen at Parkhead in 1993. "It's wrong of me to complain because there are thousands of players who would love to play in four finals and win one," said McCoist. "Let's just say it wasn't as lucky as the other cup. But it would be wrong, selfish and out of order for me to start moaning about that because I ain't moaning at all."

Having said that, to date his time in management hasn't been all that much better. He was defeated by Dundee United in this competition for the last two seasons, and while he nominally was in charge for the club's Scottish Cup wins against Queen of the South (2008) and Falkirk (2009), it was a rather complicated arrangement and he can't, and wouldn't, claim all the credit for what essentially was Walter Smith's team.

"Walter handed me the reins for both cup successes but, in a phone call last night, he told me he's taking them back!" joked the Rangers boss. "He's not getting the two medals back, but he's pulled rank on me. He could always over-rule you, in fact he could still over-rule you now, don't worry about that. That man is capable of over-ruling from the grave…

"In all seriousness, he [Smith] was great," McCoist added. "Effectively, I took the team meeting, the training, the tactics, everything really. There is no doubt it was a great learning curve, certainly it was a great thing to have prior to getting into management. But I just looked on those cup wins as being part of a team and a squad which won the cup, no more than that.

"Obviously wee Nacho [Novo] gets the winner against Falkirk and the boys were on their knees in the Queen of the South game. That was a real squad effort to get through that, as crazy as it may sound. But this one would be completely different in that we were definitely expected to win cups and leagues with that particular team."

McCoist is far too well versed in the etiquette of football to place a value on what winning the Scottish Cup would mean to him and his team. But undeniably those same fates which conspired against McCoist in this competition now seem to be handing him a manageable route to the biggest coaching success of his career, all against the hugely challenging backdrop of financial uncertainty in the boardroom.

A number of SPFL Premiership sides have at least equal chances of ending up with the trophy, but second guessing this competition to date has proved problematic. Albion Rovers have yet to concede a goal and took care of Motherwell earlier in the competition, but home advantage both in this round and next could be a powerful advantage.

"I am crying out for the supporters to come along and make it as noisy and hostile an environment as they can," said McCoist.

"Looking back, whenever there has been a bigger game, our level of performance has been better. I would hope our performance level would fit the importance of the game, but the most important thing is the result."

With Dave King set to jet in from Johannesburg, and fiscal question marks still everywhere, huge issues at Rangers remain unresolved. But for 90 minutes at least this afternoon everything else will take second billing to the football.

o There will be a pay at the gate option for today's game which is a 3:30 kick off. Copland Rear Stand: Tickets: £17 adult, £12 concession and £5 for kids.

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