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    Chasing The Dream 

    Friday, November 02, 2012 7:20:24 PM

    Alloa boss Paul Hartley knows his side are underdogs for their William Hill Scottish Cup 3rd round clash with Rangers at Ibrox but he insists his team can match Rangers at as long as his young squad don't let the occasion get to them. The Wasps boss that because of the scale of the tie for everyone at the club, as long as his players perform to their best then he will be happy no matter the result . "It is a big occasion for everybody. Its a massive game for the club, the players and the fans. We know its going to be a tough game at Ibrox where hopefully its a big crowd. I just want the players to go there, relax and put on a good performance. I don't know how they are going to play, hopefully they can play well but that's never guaranteed as long as they don't go there and freeze that is the big thing for us. As long as we can relax and show that we are a good football team then you never know what can happen." Hartley knows that the experience of the occasion is one to saviour for his young squad and that he will need to look to the experience of the likes of Darren Young and Stephen Simmons to guide his young squad through the game. "If its a big crowd then that will be a new thing for most of the squad. The likes of Simmons and Young have experienced it before and obviously myself and Paddy have as well but for the majority of the players its something new and i don't know how they will react to it. Hopefully it won't faze them at all but i don't know. The main thing is we go there, play well and hopefully show that we are a good team. For games like this its great to have players who have been there and are able to talk to the younger players. Obviously the experiences Paddy and myself have of going there and knowing what its about will certainly help because we don;t want to go there and freeze in front of a big crowd. We can only ask the players to go there and play our normal game." The Recreation Park gaffer is hopeful that his younger players can grab the chance to play and showcase their talent on such a massive stage. Hartley said, "I think its good for the younger players to experience such an occasion and then hopefully the experienced ones can lead by example. I think for our younger players its a chance to go and play on that platform with the crowd and the big stadium to go and show that they can move to another level again. It will be important to keep our concentration for 90 minutes and I will be telling them to go there and not let this chance pass them by. My players go there with no pressure on them, the only pressure they will have is to hopefully play well you can never guarantee the result in football but hopefully we can go and give a strong performance." The wasps boss is hopeful that the open pitch at Ibrox will be ideally suited to his players for them to go and it can hopefully allow them to play their normal passing style. Hartley said, "Im sure the pitch will be good and the big open park will probably suit us but we go into the game as underdogs - that is a fact - but we are a passing team and we will go there and try and pass the ball. we want the players when they get the ball to relax, try to keep possession and hopefully do something with it. Hopefully the surface will suit us, its a good pitch we are used to playing on a good surface of our own." The Alloa players gave the gaffer plenty food for thought last weekend when they fired five past Albion Rovers and Hartley feels it was a real confidence booster heading into the cup tie on Saturday. Hartley said, "We played well last Saturday, scored some good goals and it was a good team performance. I was pleased with the way we played and it was nice to get a few goals because i felt that over the last few weeks we haven't quite got the rewards that our play has deserved at times so it was nice to get the goals. We have spread the goals about the team this season which has been encouraging and hopefully the midfielders can start chipping in with a few more goals. I think that is the pleasing thing for us just now the way we are playing. We have rotated the squad in midfield and attack whilst maintaining the back four and my goalkeeper. It was nice of Aberdeen to give us the go ahead to have Nicky Low involved in the game at Ibrox so thats a plus for us. We have a full strength squad to choose from except for Megginson who is ineligible. It has made it interesting at training this week with everyone one hungry to play and it has made it interesting to pick the personnel who will play in the game." The former Celtic midfielder knows all to well how difficult it is to go to Ibrox and play in front of a capacity crowd but he is relishing the chance to return there as a manager. Hartley added, "We had Rangers watched yesterday and we have studied the DVDs of their games to help us formulate a game plan. McCulloch has been scoring the goals for them this year and I know him well from our Scotland days together. But they have quality right throughout their team and we know it will be a tough ask for us. They are going well in the league so we need to make sure we try and compete with them and thats the main thing for us."

    Paul Hartley



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