MUCH can change in a year.

The last time Falkirk were preparing for the visit of Rangers it was a Scottish Communities League Cup tie and their eventual victory was greeted with a sense of surprise and further lauding of their feted youngsters. This time it is the more modest milieu of the Ramsdens Cup and Falkirk are no longer the team from the lower league.

They are still not expected to win tonight, of course. The strength of this Rangers side is diluted by their descent to the third division but it is far from ravaged. Falkirk have also lost a few big names – most notably the prolific Farid El Alagui and Mark Millar, who scored the winner in their meeting last season – but the majority of their exciting youngsters remain.

It is not that reason that Steven Pressley, the Falkirk manager, will view another success over Rangers as just a big a deal as the one secured last season.

"The reality is that one Rangers player will earn more than my entire squad – and they're a third division squad," said Pressley, whose club have suspended their stadium announcer after he referred to Rangers as 'Sevco franchise' while reading out the half-time results at the weekend. "But that was the reality last year when we played them in the League Cup, and in the end we managed to produce an incredible performance and result. It's going to take something similar this time to win the game, but we're more than capable of doing that."

Never averse to talking about matters away from his own team, Pressley also saw fit to deliver fulsome praise of Rangers manager Ally McCoist for how he has conducted himself during his club's demise. "Alastair has had to cope with a great deal over the last three or four months there and it's taken time for him to put together a squad, because for a long period he didn't have the luxury of being able to sign players," he said.

"I think he's handled things brilliantly. He could never have envisaged what he's had to experience – I don't think any manager has had to experience what Alastair has had to experience over the last four months. He will be delighted he's back concentrating more on football."

David Weatherston, meanwhile, is also focusing on the football, or more specifically ensuring his side are in the next round. "There's no reason why we can't beat them," the Falkirk forward said. "But they'll maybe be more up for it than last year because we beat them and they've been put down the divisions."