Cardle hopes Raith can shine like Diamonds

Joe Cardle.
Joe Cardle.

Joe Cardle has already experienced winning the Challenge Cup - but he admits this Sunday will be on another level.

Cardle was a member of the Airdrie side that won the cup in 2008, beating Ross County on penalties after a 2-2 draw at McDiarmid Park.

It was Cardle’s first taste of silverware in his first season in Scotland, but the English winger expects this Sunday’s game against Rangers to be an even bigger occasion.

“Don’t get me wrong, it was a big occasion at the time, but compared to what we’ve got at Easter Road, it’s chalk and cheese,” Cardle said.

“This is Rangers’ first cup final since everything’s gone wrong, and there will be something like 20,000 people at the game.

“It’s going to be a great occasion for the boys and it’s one we’ve all been looking forward to for months.”

Cardle has fond memories of lifting the trophy with Airdrie.

“It was my first season up from England and I had a winners medal before Christmas, so it was pretty special,” he said.

“We were struggling down near the bottom of the league but we went on a good run in the cup and managed to get to the final.

“It was a good game against Ross County and it was great personally to win the man of the match award.

“It went to penalties, although I didn’t get the chance to take one.”

Cardle, however, would regard a victory over Rangers this Sunday as an even bigger accomplishment.

“It was a great achievement, but beating Rangers would top that,” he said.

“They might be a league below us but that doesn’t mean anything - they have top quality players on big wages.

“There’s more pressure on Rangers - they are just expected to turn up and win a cup final - but we know ourselves that we’ve got a great team.

“We’ve got to be positive. We can’t be defending all game, and for me, Rangers’ back four are there to be got at.

“If we play the way we can, we will always create chances.

“We’ve already won at Easter Road in the Scottish Cup so we’ve experienced the whole atmosphere, the pitch, and everything that comes with the stadium.

“We can go back there with a lot of confidence.”