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Daly: Last year I put Rangers out of the cup.. this time I want to help them win


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on Daly: Last year I put Rangers out of the cup.. this time I want to help them win it

5 Feb 2014 03:00

THE Irishman helped dump Rangers out of the Scottish Cup last season with Dundee United as the Arabs thrashed Ally McCoist's men 3-0, but fast-forward 12 months and Daly is hoping to fire the Ibrox side to cup glory.

REUTERS JS13750725-3112247.jpg Jon Daly scored against Rangers in last season's Scottish Cup

THIS time last year Jon Daly was helping dump Rangers out of the Scottish Cup.

Fast-forward 12 months and the big Dubliner is now hoping to fire the Ibrox side to glory in the same tournament.

Daly was on the scoresheet for Dundee United as the Arabs hammered Ally McCoist’s men 3-0 to book their place in the quarter-finals.

However, Daly believes the current Rangers team are a completely different beast from the side that was outclassed at Tannadice last February.

The League One leaders host Dunfermline on Friday night hoping to move another step closer to ending a three-year trophy drought in major knockout competitions.

And while the Ibrox outfit have endured a miserable run of cup setbacks under McCoist recently, Daly – a Scottish Cup winner with United in 2010 – insists they are capable of going all the way.

He said: “It’s amazing that a year in football can change so much. This time last season I was getting ready to face Rangers in the fifth round, now I’m obviously playing for them.

“Every player wants to do well in this Cup because it’s a fantastic competition to be involved in.

“To win it was fantastic and last year United were also unlucky at the semi-final stage not to go through.

“Winning the Cup meant a hell of lot to me before – and we had a young squad then. Winning trophies is massive and you live in the here and now.

“What I have done in the past is in the past so I look forward to winning more medals. As long as we are in the Cup, we have a chance of winning it.

“It’s all about how you perform on the day, so it’s a massive game for us on Friday night and a great opportunity to get to a quarter-final.”

SNS Group JS13750600-3112249.jpg Daly, centre, celebrates with his old pals after scoring against Rangers

At the same stage of the competition last season, Rangers got off to the worst possible start when Daly combined with Jonny Russell as United scored the opener inside 20 seconds.

He said: “I remember it well. We kicked off and it went back to Gavin Gunning.

“He put a ball up between me and Lee Wallace and I managed to win it. I think Ross Perry might then have slipped and Johnny took a great touch before firing it under the keeper.

“It’s the kind of the start everyone is after when you are playing at home in a cup tie. I’ve definitely not mentioned it to Waldo, though.”

Daly feels there were genuine reasons why Rangers struggled for much of the previous campaign despite winning the Third Division at a canter. The goal machine said: “I wasn’t aware last year that the boys here hadn’t had a proper pre-season. Any footballer will tell you that is a massive thing.

“A proper pre-season under your belt gives you a level playing field against the rest because that fitness helps you keep going through the season.

“For the boys not to have had that last year, I think what they went on to achieve was remarkable. That is the main difference, I’d say.

“All the young boys at the club are excellent professionals and they’re all eager to learn and develop – and in my eyes there’s no better club to do that at than here. The facilities are fantastic, the coaches are excellent and I think there’s probably been a massive improvement in the boys from last year, having experienced first-team football for the first time last season.

“Hopefully now they can kick on again next term and keep getting better.”

With Daly amongst a host of big name summer signings with proven top-flight experience, the Irishman knows there can be no excuses this time around.

McCoist made that perfectly clear to his players at the start of the season and while they have dropped just two points out of a possible 69 in the league and lost just once in the League Cup to Forfar, they have still not been immune from criticism from supporters. Daly said: “That’s what the manager said to all the new boys when they came in the summer – nothing less than winning will do. It’s trying to get that winning mentality among the players.

SNS Group JS30670044-3112246.jpg Daly has been terrorising defences for Rangers this season

“The game on Boxing Day when we dropped two points still haunts us. I don’t want to experience that again. We want to keep winning games.

“Personally I try not to focus on what’s happening off the park. I try not to let it affect me but it might affect younger boys. Fans are entitled to vent their frustrations, they’re paying customers.

“The level of expectation is so high that if we don’t reach the highest level they will show their frustration.”

Yet, while Daly is optimistic about what the future holds and the possibility of Rangers winning the Scottish Cup for the first time since 2009, he was also reluctant not to get to far ahead of himself. He added: “If you start looking too far ahead, that’s when you can slip up. If we start thinking about who we might get in the next round, we might slip up on Friday and go out.

“So it’s imperative we concentrate fully on the game and make sure we execute our game plan, win the tie and get through.”

* Jon Daly was speaking at the launch of a new partnership between SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and the Rangers Charity Foundation.

The year-long partnership is aimed at promoting mental health and

well-being across Scotland to football fans, encouraging people to open up and talk about their mental health and tackle the stigma surrounding the issue. Daly said: “I am very proud the Rangers Charity Foundation and the fact that the club are supporting such an important cause.”

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