THERE is nothing like some last-day drama to set the pulses racing. For the Alnwick family, however, it is becoming a weekly occurrence.

Last Sunday it was the turn of older brother Ben to keep goal for Bolton as they sought to avoid relegation in a nerve-shredding ending to the Championship season. As it happened, the 31-year-old went off with an injury after a goalless first half in their last-day home meeting with Nottingham Forest, and so was not on the pitch when in an amazing last 10 minutes, the home side scored twice for a 3-2 win which saw them survive by the skin of their teeth.

Today it is younger brother Jak’s turn, as Rangers bid for the win – or perhaps even the solitary point – against Hibs at Easter Road which could see them overhaul Aberdeen to claim second place in the Scottish Premiership table behind champions Celtic. Having taken in both matches, their dad Robert may need a lie down at the end of it all.

“Have I been through this last day thing before?” said Jak. “Not so much me but my brother has just been through it with Bolton, so I guess I experienced it through him from a family point of view.

“He’s been at Bolton a couple of years. He played the whole season and the last game just there when they stayed up against Forest. They needed to win and two teams to lose. I watched the first half on Sky Sports then after that I went out the house and didn’t listen to it until I came back and heard the result. I get more nervous watching my brother than I do playing myself.

“It was a case where the team were dead and buried at 2-1 but two goals in the space of a couple of minutes and they end up staying in the Championship. That’s how crazy football is. You can go from devastation to the happiest moment of your career.”

Goalkeeping is a strange profession. You can find yourself kicking your heels all season long through no fault of your own, so it helps to have an older brother for a confidante.

“Ben has had a similar career to me,” said Jak. “He went to a big club in Tottenham, like me with Newcastle, didn’t play a lot of games, went out on loan. Then had to kind of rebuild again and go out and play football, went to Peterborough and out to Bolton. It’s always brilliant to have that experience above me.

“He always comes to games – as does my dad – when they can. My dad was up in Aberdeen from Newcastle the other night, he follows me and my brother everywhere. Ben is 31, he’s been around a long time, because he played Premier League at 18. He’s done some brilliant things, made a lot of mistakes too. So he does pass down a lot of information – even after a game when I’ve done really well, he’ll still tell me I’m wrong!

“My brother was a goalkeeper when we were younger but whenever we were round at the park he didn’t want to play in goal. He just wanted to blast shots at me. And that’s how I ended up being a goalkeeper. We were both quite big lads for our age, weren’t good enough to be strikers so that’s how it worked out.”

Having spent all season as deputy for Wes Foderingham, a late-season opport-unity has arisen for Alnwick to prove his worth – something the Geordie has grabbed with both hands with a decent showing in the 5-0 Old Firm reverse and last week against Kilmarnock. With rumours of a move for Allan McGregor in the summer, Alnwick is doing everything in his power to give himself a future under Steven Gerrard.

“We know as players that we’ve got a new man coming in and it’s down to us to impress,” said Alnwick. “We all want to be here next season and he’s going to have his own twist on things. But I’ve always wanted to stay at this club no matter what and I’d back myself against anyone. Now I’m playing in the team, that’s where I want to remain.

“Obviously the new gaffer’s going to be bringing in new players in every position. He’s going to be strengthening a lot of positions. I’ll just see it as competition and work as hard as I can to still be Rangers No 1.”

Finishing second would mean a lot to all the players, and particularly Jimmy Nicholl – a man with plenty of back pages with Hibs, where he was once briefly assistant manager to Pat Fenlon.

“On a personal note, this game is the bit that I’m looking forward to the most,” said Nicholl. “If I can just leave here with a win, the team second and in Europe, it will at least give them some sort of start for next season.

It means the players won’t be down and they’ve finished on as much of a high as they possibly can.

“I’ve had a wee connection with Hibs over the years, but if we do it there then I’ll leave on a happy note.”