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Co-op Cup final as it happened

GOALFLASHES AND MAJOR INCIDENTS (all times GMT)

MY SPORT: DEBATE

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By Thomas McGuigan

1725: So, the dust settles on another Co-operative Insurance Cup final and nine-man Rangers defy the odds to beat shell-shocked St Mirren. Remember, there'll be highlights of yesterday's SPL games on this website from 1800 GMT. Thanks for your company this afternoon, enjoy the rest of your weekend.

1705:
My Sport
From Establishment under siege On My Sport: "Walter Smith is an absolute legend." Smith is delivering trophy after trophy in his second managerial spell at the club. And the 62-year-old insists he has no plans to retire any time soon!

1703: "It was a fantastic opportunity. Our players walked off the pitch totally dejected; that will live with them for a long, long time. The way we played and dominated the match, it's a sore one but we have to take it on the chin." St Mirren manager Gus MacPherson

1701: David Weir leads the Rangers players up those famous steps and he raises the cup aloft; the 26th time the Ibrox club have secured the trophy. It's the first prize of a potential domestic treble for Walter Smith's men. What kind of momentum could this give his side and how will it affect St Mirren's bid to avoid relegation?

1700: Referee Craig Thomson and his assistants are booed as they climb the Hampden steps to collect their medals.

1659: "We've managed to get to the last five or six league cup finals but you can see what it means to my players today." Rangers manager Walter Smith

1658: Talk about contrasting emotions: Rangers players and officials hug and exchange smiles and high-fives; St Mirren striker Billy Mehmet is in tears in the centre circle.

1657: "Sometimes I wonder why I support St Mirren and Scotland. St Mirren will never, ever get a better chance to win a cup against a nine-man Rangers side." BBC Radio Scotland pundit Chick Young

1655: A dejected St Mirren boss Gus MacPherson trudges onto the pitch to shake the hands of both sets of players.

1654: Rangers manager Walter Smith leads his backroom staff and Nacho Novo in a victory huddle; they can't believe they've won this and surely, neither can St Mirren.

Full time
1653: ST MIRREN 0-1 RANGERS

1652: We're deep into injury-time and it looks like nine-man Rangers are going to win the Co-operative Insurance Cup.

1651:
My Sport
From steve On My Sport: "This will haunt St Mirren for a long time. They just don't know how to kill a game, that is why they are second bottom , played well today but lacked quality, shame for Scottish football this."

1649: Rangers goalkeeper Neil Alexander easily gathers St Mirren substitute Stephen O'Donnell's cross and the Buddies look beaten.

1648: "Chants of 'we shall not be moved' cascade around three-quarters of Hampden." BBC Scotland's Keir Murray

1647: Rangers have won the league cup 25 times in their history and, with four minutes remaining, look good bets to make it 26 - and they've only got nine men!

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Rangers exultant and St Mirren look shattered. Kenny Miller rises unchallenged in the penalty area to bullet home a header past Paul Gallacher from Steven Naismith's cross.

1644: GOAL! ST MIRREN 0-1 RANGERS (KENNY MILLER)

1641: We've got 10 minutes of the 90 to play and we're still goalless in a pulsating cup final.

1639: Kris Boyd is replaced by Steven Naismith as Rangers boss Walter Smith - doing a great human windmill impression on the touchline - looks to shore up his nine-man side.

1637:
My Sport
From Ibrox_Via_Bristol_1985 On My Sport: "Thomson's was a red, Wilson's should have been a yellow at most. We'll be lucky to win this."

1636: Maurice Edu drags a shot wide from about 25 yards, amid a chorus of boos from the Rangers fans who are still giving referee Craig Thomson stick!

1635: Rangers defender Steven Whittaker blocks a couple of shots in the face of some furious St Mirren attacks but it remains goalless.

Yellow card
1633: Rangers midfielder Lee McCulloch is booked for diving after tumbling under the close attention of Lee Mair. The Rangers fans are far from happy with whistler Craig Thomson.

Red card
1631: Rangers defender Danny Wilson is shown a red card for a jersey tug on St Mirren substitute Craig Dargo. That looked harsh! Rangers down to nine men, Gers boss Walter Smith looks on, ashen-faced.

1630: Craig Dargo replaces Billy Mehmet as St Mirren boss Gus MacPherson injects a bit of pace to his St Mirren attack.

1628: Steven Thomson finds Michael Higdon but the big striker fires a shot just wide under the close attention of David Weir.

1626: "Brown brogues on green grass... Walter Smith has come down to the edge of the pitch to restore a sense of calm to the Rangers team." BBC Scotland's Keir Murray

1625: St Mirren goalkeeper Paul Gallacher fluffs an attempted punch and Kenny Miller sees his shot from about six yards deflected wide for a corner. The Buddies survive and they are rocking against 10-man Rangers at the moment.

1624: "The atmosphere has changed dramatically with Kevin Thomson's red card. For starters, it's a lot noisier! The din is incredible." BBC Scotland's Keir Murray at Hampden

1622: Thomson's sending off appears to have shaken Rangers into life and this fascinating final continues to surprise.

1621: St Mirren look to profit from their numerical advantage with Andy Dorman coming on for Hugh Murray.

1619:
My Sport
From Few But Ripe On My Sport: "Kevin Thomson is a poor, poor football player. He can have no complaints over the red card."

Yellow card
1617: St Mirren defender Lee Mair goes into the book for dissent - time for cool heads in the Hampden sun!

1616: Thomson's sliding challenge on his namesake followed a clash between Kenny Miller and Lee Mair in the centre circle. The atmosphere is beginning to crackle at the national stadium.

1615: Tempers are threatening to boil over under the Hampden sun. Referee Craig Thomson has a quiet word with St Mirren boss Gus MacPherson and Rangers assistant Kenny McDowell.

Red card
1613: Rangers midfielder Kevin Thomson is given his marching orders for a poor challenge on Steven Thomson.

1612: St Mirren earn their sixth corner of the afternoon but again a poor set-piece is easily dealt with.

1610: Play rages up the other end and Kenny Miller has a sight of goal but his effort has more chance of taking out a fan's cup of bovril in the stand than hitting the net. Ouch!

1609: An impressive move from St Mirren involving Michael Higdon and Hugh Murray gives Billy Mehmet a great chance inside the box but the striker's effort is easily dealt with by Neil Alexander.

1608: Novo drills a low free-kick into the box, it's deflected and Kevin Thomson's follow up is off target and St Mirren survive.

1607: Nacho Novo is fouled on the edge of the area by Lee Mair and Rangers have a great chance to pressure Paul Gallacher's goal.

1605: The second half gets under way at Hampden.

1600: Our mole deep within the Hampden nerve centre is telling us that Rangers midfielder Maurice Edu will replace Steven Davis for the second half.

1555: "I don't know if this is worse than St Mirren getting a doing!" BBC Radio Scotland's Chick Young is biting his nails at Hampden

1549: But how often have Rangers been able to absorb pressure before a Miller, Novo or Boyd strike has cleared the storm clouds over Walter Smith's dugout?

1548: St Mirren may be down near the relegation zone and their final preparations hit by a row over bonuses, but they have might impressive in the opening 45 minutes and are unlucky not to be leading.

Half time
1547: ST MIRREN 0-0 RANGERS

1545: St Mirren come agonizingly close to a goal again. This time Michael Higdon's snap shot hits the side netting. Gus MacPherson wears the expression of a man who has pitched up at an exclusive restaurant for a sumptuous dinner but suddenly realises he's left his wallet in the house!

1544: Stung into action by St Mirren's increasing pressure, Rangers come forward but Lee McCulloch's shot drifts wide of Paul Gallcher's right-hand post.

1542: Thomson's low shot through a ruck of players is the first time Alexander has had to swat away a St Mirren attack. Three minutes until the break and the Buddies are pressing for the opener...

1540: St Mirren's Steven Thomson is denied by a wonderful Neil Alexander save, that looked a certain goal after a great Buddies move. David Barron then rattles the crossbar with a howitzer from about 30 yards. Gus MacPherson dances a jig of frustration on the touchline.

1538: Rangers goalkeeper Neil Alexander receives treatment after trying an ill-advised Pro Evolution Soccer backheel inside the penalty area as Jack Ross bore down on goal. The keeper gets up gingerly and is okay to continue.

1537: "Spare a thought for fourth official Brian Winter, patrolling the technical area like a referee trying to restore order at a tag-team wrestling event. Kenny McDowall and Gus MacPherson are skipping round him with ease to bark instructions to their players." BBC Scotland's Keir Murray at Hampden

1535: David Barron nurses a sore one after a crunching tackle by Rangers midfielder Kevin Thomson, but the game is being played in a cracking spirit.

1534: What a chance. Kenny Miller is fed by Steven Whittaker but the Scotland striker lacks composure as he blazes high over the bar.

1533: Another corner for St Mirren. A long ball finds Billy Mehmet and his header is cleared for a corner. But, once again, Carey's delivery is far too deep and it drifts out for another goal-kick.

1531: St Mirren manager Gus MacPherson cuts a fairly relaxed figure in the St Mirren dugout. Sharing a joke with his backroom staff, the bold Gus, in his pristine suit, looks like an extra from the film Goodfellas. He'll be hoping his strikers whack a few in the net...

Yellow card
1529: A flurry of St Mirren attacks is halted by Steven Whittaker, as the Rangers defender is booked for a foul on left-back Graham Carey. The Buddies have been impressive but their final ball is letting them down.

1527: Kenny Miller and Kris Boyd have been unusually subdued up front for Rangers in the opening half hour.

1526:
My Sport
From Shetland_James On My Sport: "Very impressive start by St Mirren, looks like we have an exciting final on our hands!"

1524: Hurrah! The first effort on target comes from Rangers full-back Steven Whittaker but Buddies keeper Paul Gallacher is equal to it.

1523: "The Rangers fans are making up about three-quarters of Hampden today. The Buddies are occupying the traditional Celtic end, but there are about 1,000 empty seats." BBC Scotland's Keir Murray at Hampden

1522: Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist urges his players to up the tempo.

1521: Nacho Novo scampers away on the right but takes the ball goes out for a goal-kick before the Spaniard's boot could inflict any damage on the St Mirren goal.

Yellow card
1519: St Mirren's Hugh Murray is the first player to go into the book for a tackle on Lee McCulloch. Replays show the veteran may have been harshly dealt with there as he appeared to get the ball.

1517: Jack Ross finds himself in space wide on the right but his heavy cross evades St Mirren's two strikers and, despite getting into some great positions, the Buddies are failing to test Neil Alexander.

1516: St Mirren striker Billy Mehmet tries to find team-mate Michael Higdon with a headed flick but David Weir is there to hoover up the danger. The veteran really has been a superb buy since his move from Everton.

1514:
My Sport
From mem On My Sport: "Come on the blue & white army, let's have an emphatic win today and send a message to the rest of Scottish football that we are on top and intend to stay there - first step to the treble!"

1513: "Rangers are taking Nacho Novo and Steven Davis into the centre of the pitch because St Mirren have an extra man in there." BBC Radio Scotland pundit Billy Stark

1511: Steven Whittaker embarks on a lung-bursting run down the right, but the Rangers full-back can't get a decent cross in. Entertaining stuff, despite neither goalkeeper being called into action.

1509: "Rangers will just be happy to get the ball up the park." BBC Radio Scotland commentator Richard Gordon

1507: Rangers repel the corner kick and the blue half of Hampden breathe a collective sigh of relief as Neil Alexander's goal remains intact despite early St Mirren pressure.

1506: Kevin Thomson chops down Graham Carey as St Mirren swarm forward again. A free-kick about 25 yards out wide on the left and David Weir heads it clear for a corner. The Buddies fans inside Hampden are in fine voice...

1505: Rangers defender Sasa Papac heads clear from under his own bar after Billy Mehmet's strike was deflected. The Buddies have come roaring out of the traps, a great start by Gus MacPherson's men!

1504: In their first foray forward St Mirren force a corner, but Graham Carey's delivery is too deep and the ball trundles out for a goal-kick.

1503: "It's going to be a whirlwind start. The ball will go from back to front. The pitch looks in magnificent condition." BBC Scotland Sportsound pundit Craig Paterson

1502: Rangers midfielder Steven Davis, who passed a late fitness test to feature today, gets his first touch of the final as Walter Smith's men enjoy some early possession.

1501: We're under way!

1500: "If St Mirren win this then the champagne is on me!" BBC Radio Scotland pundit and resident Buddy Chick Young

1457: This will be compelling viewing this afternoon: St Mirren, hovering above the relegation zone, have been written off in most quarters. Can they cause an upset? Rangers have the ability to play some great stuff and grind out domestic victories when the occasion demands. The stage is set and the players are out on the Hampden turf.

1453:
My Sport
From Guntbuster On My Sport: "The bookies were offering pretty kind odds on St Mirren to win today. Unfortunately for those who backed them, I can't see anything other than a convincing Rangers win."

1445: "The pitch looks in tremendous condition. There is that rare thing - grass, and lots of it. The PA system is in overdrive ahead of kick-off. Both teams are out on the pitch going through their warm-up routines." BBC Scotland's Keir Murray at Hampden

1442:
My Sport
From Jordan On My Sport: "Come on St Mirren!"

1440: TEAMS ST MIRREN v RANGERS
St Mirren: Gallacher, Ross, Potter, Mair, Barron, Brady, Murray, Thomson, Carey, Mehmet, Higdon. Subs: Howard, O'Donnell, Dargo, Robb, Dorman.
Rangers: Alexander, Whittaker, Weir, Wilson, Papac, Davis, McCulloch, Thomson, Novo, Boyd, Miller. Subs: McGregor, Edu, Naismith, Beasley, Smith.

1438: The sun is beating down over Hampden at the moment, with the national stadium filling up nicely.

1436: These two sides are facing each other for the sixth time this season. Earlier this week, Rangers striker Kenny Miller quipped that it was akin to a baseball World Series! The Gers have the upper hand: winning four of the previous five games, with one draw.

1430: St Mirren boss Gus MacPherson, preparing his side for the Buddies' first cup final for 23 years, has urged his players to "seize the moment". The Paisley outfit will be cheered on by a host of former players who starred in the 1987 Scottish Cup final win over Dundee United. Can they do it?

1424: Some early team news from Hampden. Neil Alexander will start in goal for Rangers, with regular number one Allan McGregor named on the bench. Gers boss Walter Smith has banished all talk of the treble in the days leading up to this afternoon's final and is focusing solely on winning the cup.
1420: Good afternoon and a very warm welcome to our live text coverage of the Co-operative Insurance Cup final between Rangers and St Mirren.



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Co-op Cup results

21 Mar 2010 23:59 UK

  • St Mirren0-1Rangers
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