PART of Gordon Dalziel wanted to applaud when Andrei Kanchelskis stood on the ball and saluted midway through Rangers’ 7-0 Scottish Cup semi-final victory against Ayr United in 2000.

The other half wanted to stiffen him. Eighteen long years may have elapsed since then, but the Ukrainian winger’s famous piece of Scottish football showboating lives on in the former Ayr United manager’s memory, even if his attempt to upbraid full back John Robertson for affording him too much respect on the day was undermined somewhat afterwards.

“That will stick in my mind for a long, long time,” said the former Rangers striker, speaking on behalf of sponsors William Hill. “Part of me wanted to applaud him and say what a magnificent piece of skill it was – and I don’t think he was being disrespectful. At that stage they were so comfortable he just wanted to entertain and sometimes you need a bit of showboating.

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“It’s not nice to be on the other end of it, though, and that’s what the other part of me was feeling at the time,” he added. “After the game, I concentrated on full back John Robertson, giving him both barrels in the dressing room, asking him why he didn’t put Kanchelskis into the stand and telling him I’d have thought more of him if he had battered him.

“Then there was a knock at our door and, by this time, steam was coming out of my ears – and who was standing there but your man Kanchelskis, who’s come to swap shirts with my full-back. You can imagine my reaction. I gave Robertson more pelters, saying how unprofessional it was and that we’d only come to take part and get souvenirs.

“I’d been caught up in the occasion and the atmosphere and everything else and my emotions were still running high. Unfortunately, there was then another knock on the door and it was our kit man, who said: ‘Gaffer, I’ve got that Barry Ferguson top that you asked for’. I was a bit embarrassed, to be honest with you. I’d forgotten that I’d arranged that a while before the game and was slaughtering the players for doing the same thing! At which point I told the team to have their showers and I’d see them the next day.”

Rather than attempting to shackle Dick Advocaat’s multi-million pound Rangers squad on the vast expanses of Hampden Park, or doing likewise in the 2002 League Cup final against Alex McLeish’s vintage in 2002 when they went down 4-0 – still Ayr’s only national final appearance - Ian McCall’s League One outfit will be hoping to make Graeme Murty’s side feel uncomfortable on the spartan surroundings of Somerset Park. Dalziel, whose squad was bankrolled by housing tycoon Bill Barr, reckons the Ayr United players will know as soon as the Ibrox side get off the team coach on Sunday whether they are up for what could yet be a fraught afternoon. Another factor could work in Ayr’s favour is the fact this is the one-match Graeme Murty cannot lose if he wants to retain any hopes of remaining in the Rangers manager’s job beyond the end of the season.

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“I think to push himself over the line I don’t think he [Murty] can afford to lose against Ayr, and that can maybe add a little bit more pressure. It is about how his players turn up. He was very disappointed against Fraserburgh and I can totally understand that. When we played Kilmarnock in the cup that year, I watched them come off the bus and they had a real swagger about them. I said to my staff in the room that ‘we have a fantastic chance today’ because they weren’t on the ball. So you need to come in with that mental approach straightaway.

“Somerset is Ayr’s biggest weapon. And Ayr are a good team, I’ve seen them,” said Dalziel. “Ian’s got them well-organised and it’ll be interesting to see how he goes into it. I was very attacking-minded, that was how I went into management.

“I had a massive decision to make that day [just six days after a League Cup final defeat to Celtic] and I played a very attacking team, with Gary Teale and Micky Reynolds out wide and two up top. We were going up against a Rangers side which could have exposed us on the wide pitch at Hampden. That was my big concern and that’s what happened.

“Looking back, was that a mistake? Well, the team Rangers had then went on to beat Aberdeen 4-0 in the final. With that quality, would it have made any difference if I’d put an extra man in midfield? Would it have got me a result at Hampden that day, probably not, because the cream always comes to the top.

But if Ayr can score first, the lift it gives them, because they have something to hang on to. If you lose the first goal, you can see your players’ heads go down. As much as Rangers have been good on the road, Ayr will feel they’ve an opportunity here. But if they don’t score first I don’t think they’ve much chance of doing anything on Sunday.”

*Gordon Dalziel was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is the proud sponsor of the Scottish Cup