From cup final sponsors lounge to directors box

Turnbull Hutton.
Turnbull Hutton.
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Turnbull Hutton is no stranger to a Challenge Cup final, but this Sunday’s game will mean a lot more to the Raith Rovers chairman.

Hutton attended numerous finals when the competition was known as the Bells Cup, through his role as managing director of whisky makers Diageos.

However, he will swap the sponsors lounge for the directors’ box this Sunday as his beloved Rovers go head-to-head with Rangers for the silverware.

“It’s great for this club to get to a cup final of any description,” Hutton said.

“We’ve never done all that much in the Challenge Cup before, but it was always a competition we thought we could do well in.

“We’ve now managed to get into our first final, and it’s perhaps just unfortunate that we’ve done so in the same year as Rangers.

“I was involved in a few cup finals when it was the Bells Cup, and I’ve been to some great finals.

“They were all enjoyable family occasions but whether that’s the case with this game, with all the surrounding issues, who knows.”

Hutton was one of 10,000 Rovers fans in the Govan Stand at Ibrox in 1994 when Rovers shocked Celtic to win the League Cup, and he is dreaming of a repeat scenario at Easter Road on Sunday.

“It was a memorable day,” Hutton said.

“We went into that one with the expectation that we would be plucky losers, but they did what Rovers tend to do – they surprise you.

“They surprise you the other way as well and we’ve had a few of them over the years!

“If we turn up – and believe we can do it – then we can do it.

“We’ve seen Rangers struggle against lower division teams this season – it all depends on how much they want it.

“They could probably run over a Premiership team if they play to their potential but, who knows, it may well be an open game.”

Hutton admitted the build-up to the Ramsdens Cup final has been spoiled somewhat by the team’s poor league form.

He would have also preferred the final to have taken place earlier in the season.

“It would be nice going into the game sitting comfortably in a top four position and be able to really enjoy the day,” Hutton said.

“But there’s a lot of pressure on us in the league just now, so the element of enjoyment I’d hoped for has been replaced a wee bit.

“When we reached the semi-final, we were second or third in the league at that point.

“Back then, all the talk was about a top four finish at worst.

“I would’ve preferred the final to have been played sooner, like it was in the past, when the tournament was done and dusted by the end of October.

“This game has been in the back of everyone’s mind for a long time and you don’t know what effect that’s had on the players.

“Their league form has been a major disappointment, but I’m sure they are all up for it.

“With the players we have, and some of the performances they’ve produced, we know how good they can be.

“It’s a great platform for them to show what they can do.”