BUDDIES gaffer Gus MacPherson will get his players fired up for the Co-operative Insurance Cup Final tomorrow by telling them: “Win this game and you’ll become St Mirren LEGENDS.”
MacPherson insists the Saints stars who take to the Hampden turf to play Rangers will be talked about in Paisley for years to come if they can upset the odds and win the club’s first major trophy in 23 years.
He told Express Sports: “We’ll be reminding the players just how close they are to achieving legendary status in this town.
“It would be one hell of an achievement for them to win the cup and, if it takes extra time and penalty kicks, then so be it.”
MacPherson has revealed he has not even entertained the thought of how it will feel to lead out his troops at the national stadium tomorrow and is focusing all of his energies on preparing the players for the game.
He said: “The idea of leading the team out at Hampden isn’t something I’ve paid a great deal of attention to.
“We’ve had our crack at it, Andy Millen and myself and the rest of the backroom staff. All of our attention goes on the players. They are the most important factor and I’ll be as proud of them as their families will be.
“It has taken us six years to get here but this club has a proud history in cup competitions and this group of players will be talked about for a long time if they win it.
“We’ll try to stick to our normal preparations as much as possible but players aren’t daft – they understand this is a major cup final and, mentally, that’s another challenge to them.”
MacPherson will use previous clashes with Rangers as the inspiration to draw upon as St Mirren look to cause an upset tomorrow.
He added: “Last season, we beat Rangers in the league and we’ve already drawn with them in the Scottish Cup this season, so it’s our job to instil that confidence in the players because they’re certainly capable of winning this trophy.
“That belief is there, even though we’ve been disappointed with our league form. We have as good an opportunity as Rangers but we know how tough it will be. There will be 50,000 people there and that will be new for some of my players but they should thrive on it and enjoy it.”
Last season, Saints reached the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup at Hampden before Rangers ended their hopes with a 3-0 win.
However, MacPherson insists the Hampden experience of last year will stand his Buddies in good stead.
He said: “When we lost the semi-final last year, it had an effect on us as we lost our next two home games but you can’t feel sorry for yourself.
“These occasions don’t come along too often for provincial clubs and I just hope that the lads who were here last year are stronger for the experience of reaching that stage and then letting it slip so easily.”
MacPherson is determined to make life as difficult as possible for Rangers and will leave rival boss Walter Smith to play the guessing game over what his team will be for tomorrow.
He said: “I need to get the balance right. We’ll sit down and see who we have and then make those decisions.
“We haven’t been too far away from Rangers in our previous meetings.”