Terry Butcher will never forget the lift he and his Rangers team-mates got when they won the League Cup in 1986.
They beat Celtic 2-1 at Hampden to give the Graeme Souness revolution its first piece of silverware.
And the Ibrox legend feels it can do the same for Michael Beale and the current squad if they beat Ange Postecoglou’s men next weekend.
The former England skipper told The Sunday Post: “That 1986 game was my first ever domestic Cup Final. I absolutely loved it.
“I had played in a Uefa Cup Final for Ipswich but never in an FA Cup or League Cup in England. I always wondered what it would be like.
“So, to emerge victorious that day still means a helluva lot to me. It did at the time and still does, believe me.
“I can remember quite a lot of the game very clearly. I was involved in one or two bits of controversy, just the usual for an Old Firm game.
“It was a tight call before the game. Celtic were the League Champions and were the team to beat.
“I’m not saying we were the underdogs but I think David Hay’s men went into the game feeling confident.
“We had lost our opening League game to Hibs and had player-manager Graeme Souness sent off. I think many people thought the bubble had burst early.
“We were also trying to bed in several new players. Graeme made many changes, whereas Celtic kept a steady squad from the previous campaign.
“It took a few of us a wee while to settle, some players longer than others.
“I had just moved up from England. That was a new way of life for me, a completely new world, to be honest.
“That Final at Hampden was something else altogether. I had played in a Scotland v England game at Hampden and thought that had it all.
“But this was just another level. It was incredible.
“Even the build-up was totally different. I remember doing an interview with Roy Aitken and our wives.
“There were some strange requests and you just went along with them. But we couldn’t wait for the action to start.
“I was up against Brian McClair and Mo Johnston. They were both quality and both lively. I knew I had to play really well to keep them at bay.
“Brian gave Celtic the lead, but we scored a great equaliser from Ian Durrant. The winning goal came from a penalty and Davie Cooper scored it.
“I won us the spot-kick after Roy grabbed my jersey and pulled me to the ground. It was a WWE challenge. I felt the tug and fell. I couldn’t keep my feet.
“My main tussle with Brian McClair came right after that when he accused me of being a ‘diving and cheating so and so’. I told him he was wrong.
“For the penalty, I turned and looked away, towards the Celtic fans. There was just silence as they all stood still.
“Then the wall of noise hit as Coop scored. It was a whirlwind, the noise level, and it overtook me. What a feeling it was, it gave me goosebumps.
“Winning is everything. We kicked on from there and won the League.
“I know Celtic have a commanding lead in the Premiership just now but you need to let them know they have serious competition.
“Moving forward, winning next week can help sway a lot of things.”
Celtic are the holders of the trophy and have a comfortable lead at the top of the SPFL Premiership.
But Butcher feels there are match-winners in the Gers team and solid defenders at the back.
He said: “I think next weekend’s Final has the makings of a classic, I really do.
“It will be noisy, it will be intense and there will be plenty of tackles. There will also be lots of quality on show from both teams.
“Right now, Celtic are flying. They play very attacking football and are entertaining. But they can be beaten.
“If Rangers produce the same level of performance as they did in the second half in last month’s 2-2 Old Firm draw then they can win the Cup.
“I’m not sure what Michel Beale said at half-time but it worked. They came out and frightened Celtic.
“However, if they produce the first-half performance, they will lose the game.
“They will need Connor Goldson to defend very well, be a proper player and leader on the day. I also like Ben Davies. He reads the game well.
“Calvin Bassey was a great player for Rangers last season and there were some games I thought he had three lungs! He was a massive void to fill.
“But Goldson and Davies are doing well together.
“Ryan Kent will also need to be right on it. He is a lovely player to watch when he produces his magic.
“Middle to front will be a key area for Rangers. The manager has six or seven very good options for three or four positions.
“Overall, they certainly have a fighting spirit and a togetherness, that’s for sure. They will need it all next Sunday.”
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