The wait is almost over for Peterhead as the Blue Toon get ready for the biggest game in their history tomorrow.
Jim McInally’s players head for Hampden to face Championship champions Rangers in the final of the Petrofac Training Cup and the Peterhead manager has urged them to go for the jugular against Mark Warburton’s team.
McInally believes the cup final does not figure high on the list of priorities at Ibrox and has challenged his side to go out on to the pitch at the national stadium tomorrow believing they can cause an upset.
He said: “We are playing a team under a lot of pressure and also thinking about a massive Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic next week
“They won’t be as motivated as we will be and we have to use it to our advantage. We have to be in their faces, tackling them hard and really put on a good show.”
The Blue Toon’s focus has been firmly on this game for weeks, with the club’s 19-game unbeaten run in the league coming to an end with back-to-back defeats, while Rangers have been focusing on clinching promotion to the Premiership.
The Gers’ season-long aim was achieved on Tuesday with a 1-0 win against Dumbarton at Ibrox and, with an Old Firm Scottish Cup semi-final looming next weekend, McInally is counting on his cup final opponents’ focus being on facing Celtic rather than his team this weekend.
He said: “Psychologically, we haven’t had an edge for a few weeks but it will be back on Sunday and, if Rangers have lost theirs for the day, we can push them all the way.
“Rangers won the league this week and I am sure they have gone out and enjoyed themselves.
“A lot of the focus they have now is on the semi-final against Celtic next week but they are going into a final of a competition which in the previous three seasons they haven’t done, which is pretty embarrassing for them.
“They know they are playing a game they really ought to win but are they going to be totally focused on it? I’m not so sure and I’ll be drumming it into my players to make sure we are at it just in case they’re not as, if that scenario happens, I know we can give them a game.”
Whatever the outcome of tomorrow’s final McInally wants his players to enjoy the occasion. The Blue Toon have earned the right to play at Hampden by beating Brechin City, Falkirk, Stenhousemuir and Queen’s Park to get to this stage and the Peterhead manager does not want his side to leave Hampden with any regrets.
He said: “I hope the players, the club and the supporters have enjoyed the build-up and I really hope when the game starts the team does itself justice.
“I would say to the players ‘don’t let these 90 minutes pass you by or approach it as a damage-limitation exercise. Go and enjoy it and express yourselves’.”