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Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Saturday, 30 May 2009 17:26 UK

Smith hails Novo's winning strike

Walter Smith
Smith celebrated with his granddaughter on the pitch at full-time

Rangers manager Walter Smith singled out Nacho Novo's solitary goal in the Scottish Cup final win over Falkirk as inspirational to his tired side.

"It was always going to be a difficult match for us," Smith told BBC Scotland.

"We never reached the levels of last week - I suppose that's to be expected.

"A goal from Nacho Novo just after half-time was terrific for us - I always say to people, if I was that inspired, I would have had him on at the start."

John Hughes' team looked the more dangerous side in the final at a sun-drenched Hampden as Rangers found themselves continually forced back and out-played in the middle of the pitch.

Winning trophies is Rangers' demand

However, the Scottish champions overcame a challenging Falkirk side thanks to Novo's superb second-half strike to lift the trophy for the 33rd time in their history.

"Like a lot of teams that we play against, they play five and six players in midfield and they're good at it," said Smith of Falkirk.

"John's team have played good football - not just now - but over the past five or six years and he's got to be praised for that.

"It was always going to be a big thing for us today.

"It was going to be a bit of a struggle to get everybody back up, but I think you could see that it took its toll."

Smith normally delegates much of his authority to assistant Ally McCoist for cup ties and the former Rangers striker was quick to commend Falkirk's efforts on the day.

"I think they made difficult for us throughout the game," commented McCoist.

"They didn't have a lot of chances at our goal and they only hit the post at the end there. I think Neil McCann hit the bar in the first half.

"I think overall we're just delighted to get the win. I'm chuffed to bits for the team."

I think overall we're just delighted to get the win. I'm chuffed to bits for the team

Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist

Meanwhile, captain David Weir acknowledged Falkirk's first-half superiority after lifting the cup as Rangers captain following the deposition of Barry Ferguson.

"We were poor, they were very good," the defender told BBC Scotland.

"What we were doing wasn't working so the manager made a decision and that's what he's good at.

"It's a dream come true, it really is and I'm going to enjoy every minute."

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see also
Smith crowned Homecoming king
30 May 09 |  Scottish Cups
Hughes proud of beaten finalists
30 May 09 |  Falkirk
Rangers 1-0 Falkirk
30 May 09 |  Scottish Cups
Ferguson wants to stay at Rangers
24 May 09 |  Rangers

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