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Scottish Football - Football: Rangers eyeing Hampden reprieve

Saturday marks the Scottish Cup final and Rangers will be keen to put their Europa League heartbreak behind them as they take on Hearts.

The Gers have had a superb campaign in Europe and got to the final in Seville where a win would have guaranteed Champions League football for next season.

They took the lead against Eintracht Frankfurt thanks to Joe Aribo's strike early in the second half but Rafael Borre slid home from close range to equalise and the tie eventually went to penalties.

Loanee Aaron Ramsey was the villain of the piece as the Welshmen's saved spot-kick was followed by Borre's successful penalty sealed a 5-4 win for the German side and Rangers were left to rue another European final loss after Zenit St Petersburg beat them in 2008.

Saturday presents the ideal chance to get back to winning ways and they can be backed at 1/4 while Hearts are currently available at 5/2 to pile the misery further.

Big test of character

The outcome of Saturday's game will go a long way to determining the spirit and bouncebackability of the Rangers players following the heartbreak of Wednesday evening.

It was a dogged performance from the blue side of Glasgow but ultimately they could not get over the line despite many excellent performances.

Calvin Bassey was colossal at the back while Joe Aribo and Ryan Kent provided the spark going forward for Giovanni van Bronckhorst's men.

If Rangers play to their best then there is no question they will beat Hearts but they must put midweek behind them and focus on winning the Scottish Cup - a trophy they have not won since 2009.

A goal from Nacho Novo was enough to seal a 1-0 win against Falkirk 13 years ago and they would accept a similar result at this stage.

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Celtic hurdle already overcome

What should give Rangers confidence is the way they defeated Celtic in the semi-final of the competition last month.

The Hoops have reclaimed their Scottish Premiership title at the first attempt after Ange Postecoglou's men finished four points clear of Rangers at the end of the 38-game season.

Celtic were the better of the two sides in the league with two wins from four but Rangers snatched the semi-final in extra-time at Hampden with Carl Starfelt's goal proving decisive.

With Celtic claiming the title, it's important for Rangers to get the win almost to salvage a trophy from their season, otherwise it will be looked upon as a year of glorious failure.

Hearts to play with freedom

Whenever any team faces either Celtic or Rangers, there are always few expectations and that might suit Robbie Neilson's Hearts who have had an excellent return to top-flight football.

After securing promotion last season, the Edinburgh club have finished the season third, miles ahead of their nearest rivals Dundee United and they will be partaking in the qualifiers for the Europa League during the summer.

Hearts have actually won the competition since Rangers last did, thumping local rivals Hibs 5-1 in the final in 2012.

The match will also be an interesting one for Scottish international centre-back John Souttar, who is playing his final game for the club.

He has a pre-contract agreement to join Rangers in the summer and he could deny their future employers a trophy this season.

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