LEE WALLACE will get the chance to lift his first major trophy as a Rangers player on Saturday but the Ibrox skipper insists it is better late than never.
Wallace joined the Glasgow giants in the summer of 2011 with expectations of regularly competing for top domestic honours and playing at the top level of European club competition.
But his dreams were shattered 12 months later when the club entered administration and were forced to fight their way back up from the bottom of the Scottish league ladder.
So far, all the former Hearts defender has to show for his Ibrox career are three lower-league winners’ medals as well as the keepsake he picked up after last month’s Petrofac Training Cup triumph.
Now, however, he can claim one of Scottish football’s most sought-after prizes if he leads Rangers to William Hill Scottish Cup glory at Hampden this weekend.
Having missed out on so many opportunities, Wallace confessed he is determined not to let another pass him by again.
“When I came here I thought I was coming to a place where I could win a lot of medals,” admitted the Rangers captain.
“I remember saying in my first press conference that I was joining a dressing room full of winners, top internationals and top pros.
“I felt really fortunate at that point – but who could have seen what was coming our way a few months later?
“But now finally I’ve got the opportunity with a unique group of players at a unique club to bring our first Rangers-type piece of silverware back to the club.
“Yes we’ve come up through the leagues as we’ve been expected to do but this is a good chance for a lot of us to take some top-level recognition and the things that will come with that if we can get a result on Saturday.”
Rangers completed their journey through the divisions to reclaim their place in the top flight with this season’s stylish march to the Ladbrokes Championship title.
But Wallace admits the shine would be taken off the Light Blues’ campaign if they fall to Hibs on Saturday.
He said: “I don’t think many people would have expected us to go on and win the Scottish Cup. We were expected to win the Petrofac Cup and the Championship and do it in an eye-catching way and we’ve been dominant on that front.
“So if we can go on and win our version of a treble it would make a good season into a great one.
“But we also know it could go from good to not so good if we don’t do the business on Saturday.”
Hibs will not be joining Rangers in the Premiership next term after their play-off collapse against Falkirk.
But Wallace reckons that late heart-breaker – combined with a desire to end the Edinburgh club’s 114-year wait for the trophy – will ensure Hibs are fired up for the final showdown.
“We’ll be up against a team hungry to rectify the fact they won’t be getting promoted to the top flight,” he said.
“I think it will be easy for them to get themselves up for Saturday as they are playing us. We’re the champions and it’s a cup final, so there will be 11 highly motivated Hibs players out there.
“They will definitely be hurting. We’re also aware of how long it’s been since they won this competition. That run and last week’s result will be their motivation.
“However, we’re not focusing on the hoodoo or any of their statistics.
“We just need to focus on what we do and never deviate from the mentality and mindset we’ve had from day one.
“We’re aware of their issues but we know if we do what we do, prepare well and deliver our normal performance then we should be fine.”
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