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Page last updated at 16:01 GMT, Saturday, 30 May 2009 17:01 UK

Rangers 1-0 Falkirk

By Colin Moffat

Rangers assistant Ally McCoist joins in the celebrations
Rangers improved after the interval to win the Scottish Cup

Rangers added the Scottish Cup to the Scottish Premier League title thanks to a wonderful strike from Nacho Novo.

The substitute lashed in a dipping shot from long range right at the start of the second half at Hampden.

A shot from Neil McCann skimmed the top of the crossbar and the same player skewed a volley inches wide as Falkirk enjoyed the bulk of first half play.

Falkirk's Steve Lovell hit the post with a late shot as Rangers held on to retain the trophy.

It was a far from vintage display from Rangers as they lifted the Scottish Cup for a 33rd time but the strike from Novo must be added to the list of the great goals seen at the national stadium.

Winning trophies is Rangers' demand

Falkirk can feel hard done by since they dominated possession during a tame first half, stringing together patient passing sequences under the glorious Glasgow sunshine.

However, neither goalkeeper got their gloves dirty during that period as Rangers, missing Pedro Mendes and Maurice Edu in the middle of the park, looked heavy-legged and failed to supply forwards Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller with any meaningful ammunition.

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Bairns midfielder Burton O'Brien screwed an early shot over the top before team-mate McCann twice came close to punishing his former club.

With the Rangers defence backing off, the veteran winger surged forward and let fly with a dipping 20-yard strike that clipped the top of the crossbar as goalkeeper Neil Alexander stood motionless.

Centre-half Darren Barr then galloped down the right flank and whipped in a great cross only for the unmarked McCann to send a volley narrowly wide from near the penalty spot.

O'Brien and Scott Arfield both ballooned efforts over when given a glimpse of goal from distance as the traffic continued to flow, albeit slowly, in the direction of Alexander.

Rangers threatened briefly when Boyd broke from the halfway line but he lacked the pace to escape and Barr had time to get back and block the striker's shot.

There was a minor rally from the Ibrox side at the close of the first 45 minutes and Lovell did well to deflect a David Weir header over his own crossbar.

Novo and Bougherra savour Cup success

Rangers replaced top-scorer Boyd with Novo at the break and the little Spaniard made his mark with an amazing goal within 28 seconds of the restart.

The substitute turned on a short thrown-in from Sasa Papac, let the ball bounce, and looped an audacious, angled shot over the stunned Dani Mallo from 30 yards.

Kyle Lafferty troubled the Falkirk defence with a strong, direct run but Kevin McBride matched the Northern Ireland international stride-for-stride and made a vital block inside the penalty area.

Having fallen behind to a goal out of the blue, Falkirk lost their way for a spell but got a second wind with a triple substitution 15 minutes from time.

Hughes looks to Bairns board for resources

Carl Finnigan had the ball in the net but fellow replacement Mark Stewart had strayed marginally offside before his cross found the striker inside the six yard box.

And there was an almighty scare for Rangers when a Higdon knockdown was diverted to Lovell by a clumsy touch from Steven Davis and the Falkirk forward's deflected shot crept across goal and rebounded away to safety off the base of the post.

Rangers were a threat on the break throughout the second half but, with Madjid Bougherra in imperious form at the heart of their defence, they did not need the cushion of a second goal to retain the trophy.


Rangers: Alexander, Whittaker, Bougherra, Weir, Papac, Davis, Ferguson, McCulloch, Lafferty (Dailly 88), Boyd (Novo 46), Miller (Naismith 85). Subs Not Used: McGregor, Wilson.

Booked: Whittaker, Dailly, Novo.

Goal: Novo 46.

Falkirk: Dani Mallo, McNamara, Barr, Aafjes, Scobbie, Arfield, Cregg (Finnigan 74), McBride (Higdon 74), O'Brien, McCann (Stewart 74), Lovell. Subs Not Used: Olejnik, Pressley.

Booked: McNamara, Barr, Finnigan.

Att: 50,956

Ref: Craig Thompson



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see also
Smith crowned Homecoming king
30 May 09 |  Scottish Cups
Smith hails Novo's winning strike
30 May 09 |  Rangers
Hughes proud of beaten finalists
30 May 09 |  Falkirk
Christie quits as Bairns chairman
30 May 09 |  Falkirk
Scottish Cup photo gallery
30 May 09 |  Scottish Cups
Scottish Cup final as it happened
30 May 09 |  Scottish Cups



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