I hope Raith do it for the fans and the manager

Gordon Dalziel in his Raith Rovers days.
Gordon Dalziel in his Raith Rovers days.
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Gordon Dalziel captained Raith Rovers to a glorious, and historic, League Cup final win over Celtic 20 years ago.

Now the former striker is hoping the club’s current crop of stars can emulate that legendary side by defeating Rangers in the Ramsdens Cup final on Sunday.

Dalziel played for both clubs during his career, but it was at Stark’s Park that he became a hero, scoring a club record 154 league goals in 308 appearances, including a famous header in the 1994 cup final.

Dalziel’s relationship with the club turned sour after he was sacked following a difficult two-year spell as manager in 2006, however his rapport with the Rovers fans, and his respect for current boss Grant Murray, will see him rooting for the Kirkcaldy side this Sunday.

“I hope they go out and do it - for the fans and for the manager,” Dalziel said.

“He’s a good young manager who is very level headed and comes across well. I like the way he goes about his business.

“He was a top professional and he brings that over to his players as well.

“I like the way he speaks - he doesn’t get too carried away, or too low - and he believes in his players.

“Rovers will always have a special place in my heart so I wish them all the best and hope they do it for the town.”

Like 1994, Raith go into the cup final as major underdogs, but Dalziel believes that the current Ibrox side present less of an obstacle than Celtic did 20 years ago.

“I don’t think it’s the same challenge,” Dalziel said.

“That Celtic side was full of top notch players - the likes of Charlie Nicholas, John Collins and Tom Boyd.

“I look at this Rangers side and there’s not a lot that I would worry about. The main concern for Rovers will be stopping Lee Wallace coming down the left.

“He’s the one that can get forward and hurt you.

“If Raith go on and win it people will compare it and question if it’s the same achievement.

“One thing is for sure, it will be the same enjoyment for the players and fans if they lift the cup.”

Dalziel currently works as a pundit for Radio Clyde and has watched Rangers and Rovers in action this season.

“On current league form you would imagine Rangers would win it easily,” he said.

“Of course you would like to go in with some confidence from the league but cups are different - they’re a one-off.

“There will be 20,000 fans there, and for some of the Raith boys they won’t have played in that environment before.

“We had Crawford, Dair and Cameron, young boys who could’ve froze - but they went the opposite way and they revelled in it.

“The Raith guys have got to rise to the occasion - be big and brave and take responsibility - they can’t be afraid to make a mistake or let the atmosphere get to them.

“If Rangers turn up and perform the way they can they will win it - they have better players - but Raith have players who can hurt Rangers.

“Middle to front Rangers are strong, but I think you can get at them at the back. You can score goals against them. It will be an interesting game.”