Cup glory won't top promotion, says Rangers boss

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Rangers won the Championship title last season, meaning they will now compete in the Scottish top flight for the first time in four years (AFP Photo/Ian MacNicol)
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Glasgow (AFP) - Rangers manager Mark Warburton says winning the Scottish Cup final against Hibernian on Saturday wouldn't compare to the euphoria of securing promotion back to the top flight.

Warburton's side clinched the Championship title to claim a place in the Scottish Premiership for the first time since they were forced to start life again in the country's bottom tier following liquidation in June 2012.

The Glasgow giants, who have also won the Challenge Cup this season, now have the chance to win the Scottish Cup for the first time since 2009 when they face second tier Hibs at Hampden Park.

However, Warburton, whose side defeated Old Firm rivals Celtic in the semi-final, says victory against the side they pipped to the Championship would simply be a bonus.

"There's nothing more important than achieving promotion," he said. "There's no doubt that was our main priority.

"This has to be a bonus -- the focus for us was always the league this season. We had to win the league and win it in style, and we delivered.

"The boys' work ethic was outstanding and the cups have been bonuses for us. To win the semi-final gave us great belief and we want to get the job done now."

A win for Rangers would see them earn a spot in the Europa League qualifiers and end their four-year exile from continental competition.

And Warburton admitted the prospect of European football could help him recruit potential signing targets to the club.

- Bigger picture -

"It'd be a fantastic achievement," he said. "There's a place in European competition at stake.

"The winners on Saturday will have that access to Europe and there's no doubt that will help us.

"We need our potential players to buy into the bigger picture, but there's no doubt European football is an incentive.

"For us it would be a great end to what's been a good season. Now we have to focus on finishing on a high."

Hibernian manager Alan Stubbs says clinching the Scottish Cup would help ease the pain of a disappointing season.

The Edinburgh club face a third consecutive season in the Championship after their promotion hopes were ended last week following a 5-4 aggregate defeat to Falkirk in the play-off semi-final.

Stubbs and his players also suffered the heartache of losing the League Cup final to Ross County back in March at the national stadium.

However, Stubbs says leading Hibs to a first Scottish Cup victory since 1902 would go some way to easing the pain and he urged his players to grab the opportunity to become part of the Easter Road side's history.

"They may never have another opportunity to play in a cup final," Stubbs said.

"I hope they do, I would love them to play in two, three or four cup finals but the likelihood is they may not.

"That's why on Saturday they have to crawl off that pitch in the end. Give everything they have got in order to try to win it.

"I know a lot of fans would take a Scottish Cup win over promotion this season.

"It's such a momentous occasion on Saturday and what the events of it could possibly lead to - that makes it, for our fans certainly, such a unique game.

"It's 114 years now and a lot of them, on Saturday, may get an opportunity to see something that they probably thought they may never see."