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Queens eye Scottish Cup surprise

SCOTTISH CUP FINAL
Venue: Hampden Park Date: Saturday, 24 May Kick-off: 1500 BST
Coverage: This website & BBC One Scotland, BBC Sport website, BBC Radio Scotland & BBC Radio 5 Live

Queen of the South chairman David Rae
Chairman David Rae helped turn Queens full-time this season

Queen of the South aim to cause a major upset in Saturday's Scottish Cup final as they entertain Rangers at Hampden.

The First Division side from Dumfries are competing in their first-ever major final, while Rangers have lifted the trophy on 31 occasions.

In 122 previous finals, only one team outside the Scottish top flight has ever prevailed - East Fife in 1938.

The Ibrox club won the CIS Cup in March but have since lost out in the Uefa Cup final and in the Premier League.

Thursday's league finale saw Walter Smith's Glasgow outfit slip up at Aberdeen while Celtic beat Dundee United to win the championship by three points.

A few weeks ago, Rangers had high hopes of an historic quadruple, but an exhausting campaign, which will see them play their 68th game of the season against Queens, has taken its toll.

Having once enjoyed a commanding lead in the title race, Rangers picked up just 12 points from their last nine league outings.

"We would like to finish the season on a brighter note than we have done over the last week or so," said Smith after the defeat at Pittodrie.

By contrast, Queen of the South will be well rested ahead of their big day at Hampden.

The First Division campaign ended four weeks ago, with Gordon Chisholm's side finishing in fourth place - way off the promotion pace.

Since then, the Doonhamers have enjoyed a sunshine break in Spain and kept ticking over with bounce games against SPL reserve sides.

Preparation has been far from ideal for both sides, but Rangers will be determined to end a season that promised so much with more silverware.

And the chance to make history should lift any Queens players lacking match sharpness.


MY SPORT: DEBATE
Can Queens upset Rangers at Hampden?

Chisholm's team certainly displayed boundless energy when dispatching Aberdeen 4-3 in a thrilling semi-final.

Queen of the South chairman David Rae, a retired farmer, made the decision to turn the club full-time last summer.

"At the moment, Queen of the South is the greatest brand name in the south west of Scotland," he said.

"I've brought in what I'd like to think was a steady growth in the club."

A run to Hampden, which has already guaranteed a Uefa Cup place next season, should lighten the financial burden on Rae.

And he will be hoping some more of the 15,500 fans travelling up to Glasgow turn up at Palmerston Park on a regular basis.

Victory at Hampden would go a long way to swelling future crowds for the Doonhamers.

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