Rangers survived a fight back by Queen of the South to win the Scottish FA Cup final 3-2 on Saturday and earn some consolation for missing out on the league championship and UEFA Cup.
Kris Boyd and DaMarcus Beasley put Rangers 2-0 ahead at half-time at Hampden Park, but Steve Tosh and Jim Thomson scored within the first eight minutes of the second half to draw the lowly second-tier team level.
But Boyd struck his second goal of the game and 24th of the season in the 72nd minute to win the cup for Rangers for the 32nd time.
The result means Rangers have won Scotland’s FA Cup and League Cup in the same season for the first time since 2003, but the club still ends the campaign disappointed after being in contention for a quadruple triumph just two weeks ago.
But a loss of form and tiredness from a fixture pileup meant Rangers let slip a seven-point lead over Celtic to lose out on the league title and lost the UEFA Cup final to Zenit St Petersburg.
Rangers manager Walter Smith was happy his players had finished their marathon season on a high.
“It’s a bit of a relief after the amount of football we’ve had to play in the last couple of months,” he said.
“I always thought fatigue might have been a problem but it was slackness that led to us losing the two goals,” Smith said.
“At that stage I wondered if we had it in us to come back again but I’m delighted for each and every one of them after their efforts this season,” he said.
Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist said: “I would have been bitterly disappointed if we had not won the cup today. But we have won it and I’m thrilled for the players and the fans.”
Boyd put Rangers ahead in the 33rd with a fierce shot into the top corner after Barry Ferguson had touched a free kick into his path.
Rangers survived calls for a penalty for a push by full-back Steven Whittaker on Sean O’Connor, and Beasley put Rangers 2-0 up with a shot under goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald, following a collision between defenders Jim Thomson and Ryan McCann while trying to deal with Carlos Cuellar’s header.
Tosh scored from close range after a cutback pass by O’Connor, and Thomson equalized with a header from a free kick, but Boyd won the match with a header from Beasley’s corner.
Queen of the South boss Gordon Chisholm was disappointed with his team’s first half performance.
“We looked rusty in the first half. Having a four week break since our league season ended affected us,” he said.
“It’s the poorest we’ve played in a long time but we were better in the second half and it was a great effort to get back on level terms,” Chisholm said.