Wallace insists Rangers still mean business despite promotion party

Lee Wallace insists Rangers have already replaced the champagne with protein shakes after putting their promotion party on ice while they chase a trophy treble.

Lee Wallace Rangers

Rangers captain Lee Wallace Source: AAP

The Ibrox club wrapped up the Championship crown in midweek to seal their return to the top flight after four years in the lower leagues.

The Gers squad enjoyed the celebrations with a lap of honour after beating Dumbarton 1-0, while midfielder and boyhood bluenose Andy Halliday leapt into the Broomloan Road stand to join in the cheers with jubilant fans.

Corks were also sent popping after the squad returned to the home dressing room.

But skipper Wallace insists the players soon supping something more sensible as they returned their focus to this weekend's Scottish Challenge Cup final with Peterhead and next weekend's Old Firm showdown in the last four of the Scottish Cup.

The left-back said: "It was great to get the wee lap round the pitch and celebrate with the fans. They thoroughly deserve the fact we have got ourselves back to top-flight football.

"They have been exceptional since day one of the journey.

"It was great to celebrate promotion with them on Tuesday night, but we've got to remain professional and the mindset for us won't change now we've won the league.

"There was obviously the bottles of champagne in the dressing room for the celebrations and to get some pictures, but it was soon on to the protein shakes to get ourselves ready for training the next day."

Gers have finally completed what has been a emotionally testing journey through the lower leagues since their 2012 financial implosion.

They started that long road back to the Premiership with a 2-2 draw at Peterhead's tiny Balmoor home and Wallace admits it will be fitting if they can land their first cup success since their 2011 League Cup win over Celtic if they beat Jim McInally's men at Hampden.

"It's funny that we are facing Peterhead in our first game after clinching promotion when they were the first team we played in the Third Division," said the Ibrox captain.

"I was just speaking to wee Barrie McKay there. He scored the equaliser and that was his first goal for the club all those years ago. It's hard to remember the game, but the result wasn't great. It didn't get us off to the best of starts.

"When I walk out there on Sunday I'll take a moment to think about how much the club has moved on since then. But there's more to come too.

"That's our mindset. We've prepared well and approach the game thinking that if we can hit our normal levels, we've got a good chance of winning.

"We'll have a huge support on Sunday but we've been getting these sorts of crowds since day one of the journey. I don't think any other club in the world could manage that."

Light Blues boss Mark Warburton admits it will be an 'honour' to lead out his team for the first final of his managerial career.

And he also reckons the match will offer his team a handy dress rehearsal for their looming cup clash with Celtic a week later.

The Englishman said: "It's very helpful to have this game ahead of the Old Firm match. It's a big cup final on Sunday so it prepares the team really well.

"In terms of coming here, playing here, the build-up work, the hotel - everything will be identical to how we do it next week.

"It's a fantastic experience for us on Sunday. Right now the focus is the Petrofac Training Cup. Let's get that trophy and move forward.

"But there's no doubt it will help us."

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4 min read
Published 9 April 2016 at 1:51am
By Andy Newport
Source: PA Sport