3 - 2Full Time
Alloa Athletic reached the Challenge Cup final for the 3rd time after an amazing victory over Rangers at the Indodrill Stadium, Alloa. After a goalless first half, when “The Wasps” might have taken the lead, after having the best chances, Greig Spence and Liam Buchanan on this occasion hoping not to regret not opening the scoring. Rangers started the second half far more positively and went 2 – 0 ahead through goals by Kenny Miller and Dean Shiels. The Wasps with seven first team players missing, could easily have given in and look to damage limitation. That would not be in this teams make up, two goals inside two minutes dramatically changed the game back in “The Wasps” favour, and with extra time looming, Alloa striker Greig Spence scored his 2nd goal of the evening and his 7th of the tournament to send the Indodrill Stadium into raptures. Alloa Athletic will now have the chance to add to their 1999 Challenge Cup success, when the now meet Livingston in the Petrofac Training Cup final on Sunday 5th April, 2015.
barry smith after historic rangers victory
Alloa boss Barry Smith heaped praise on his heroes after their miraculous comeback saw them advance to the Petrofac Cup final with a historic 3-2 win over Rangers.
It was the first time in the Clackmannanshire club’s history that they had beaten either half of the Old Firm and the gaffer reckons it is on a par with the best moments of his career.
The Wasps boss believes the key to their stunning win against all the odds was the team’s ‘never say die’ attitude and the amazing bond in the dressing room, but admitted they even surpassed his expectations.
“The spirit we showed to come from 2-0 down was top class and I don’t think anyone gave us a chance at that stage, but the players always kept believing. It’s a massive achievement for the club and myself, but most importantly for the players. I thought we were excellent in the first half, but to come from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against Rangers was exceptional. It shows great character. They gave me everything and they do that every single week. It’s massive for the club to get to a cup final – an outstanding achievement – and to put Rangers out on the way there makes it even more special. This is right up there in my career alongside my achievements at Dundee when we overturned a 25-point deficit to stay up, but this is definitely up there. I don’t look into a lot of facts, but it’s great to be the first Alloa manager to beat Rangers.”
Smith warned his players not to let the occasion get to them, but he thinks they actually revelled in the atmosphere.
The former Dundee boss was full of admiration for his squad after coming to the game straight from their day jobs to pull off the result of their lives and he also revealed that some were even almost late for kick off.
He said: “We had nine players missing, but the boys who came in were excellent and as a team we were outstanding. Many of them worked a full day’s shift at work before coming to the game and a few of them were even late because they were caught in traffic getting into the ground so that just proves their unbelievable commitment. I told them to go out and enjoy the occasion and not be fazed by it because if you over think these things then they can get the better of you. But they relished it and I think that showed with the win.”
The 40-year-old says his side must now get back to reality quickly and focus on the battle for survival in the SPFL Championship this season before they can think about April’s final.
Smith added: “The final is a good bit away now, but it is something to look forward to and will be a great occasion. For now though, we must focus on the league – that is our top priority and we must try to secure our place in this league first.”