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Second XI fail to seize chance to impress

IT is not unusual for Manchester United, Arsenal or Chelsea to make wholesale changes from game to game, such is the wealth of talent at these clubs.

It must be close to unprecedented, though, for Albion Rovers to alter an entire starting line-up as they did ahead of tonight's William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final replay with Rangers.

The Coatbridge club must be hoping that the tactic pays greater dividends tonight than when it back-fired in spectacular style on Saturday as Queen's Park, the bottom side of SPFL League 2, secured an easy 4-0 win at the Excelsior Stadium.

It is safe to assume it will be all-change again at New Douglas Park this evening, though David Crawford - a substitute in the original tie at Ibrox - is hopeful of retaining his place. Certainly few of the other ­Cliftonhill fringe players enhanced their prospects of claiming a jersey and many of them will simply be relieved that manager James Ward missed the horror show because of a long-standing family commitment.

Crawford believes the new boys missed a golden opportunity to stake their claims to face Rangers but is equally convinced that Rovers, with normal personnel restored, can carve their niche in cup folklore.

He said: "You could say it was always going to be difficult today as the team had changed so much but everyone felt that they had a point to prove. That could have worked in our favour and people could have worked their way into the team. We need a much better start against Rangers."

The 21-year-old fitness trainer added: "We have gone from a real high to low. Saturday's dressing room was very different to the changing room at Ibrox, and you have to remember we were quite gutted at the end of that game as we had not won. It is a sore one but the players will be lifted for Monday in the same way that we were last Sunday.

"If we win it will be the first time in 93 years that Albion Rovers have made it to a Scottish Cup semi-final. We have got the chance to write ourselves into history. We may never get it again so hopefully we can take it. I don't know what the gaffer's plans are but I would love to be in them. New Douglas Park was a great venue for us earlier in the competition as we beat Motherwell there."

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