SUNDAY will be the first time Darren Young manages against Rangers and so nothing has been left to chance in terms of preparation.

“I was just getting by big game haircut there,” the East Fife boss tells me early on Friday morning. Well, he is going to be on the telly when the club he supported as a kid comes to Bayview for a much-anticipated Betfred Cup tie.

It’s another kind of scalp the 40-year-old is interested in taking come Sunday afternoon, and while a realist - his team are part-time and in the third tier of Scottish football after all - Young will shake Steven Gerrard’s hand before a game he honestly believes his players can make difficult for their guests.

“We have beaten Dundee United and Hearts so that’s tells you what kind of team we are,” said Young who has managed Methil’s finest for two years now.

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“We get the ball down and pass it. We have a few who would quite fancy getting back to full-time football and I am sure if we keep our shape and stick to the plan then we’ll cause Rangers problems.

“It’s going to be great. A fantastic test for the boys. Look, it’s Rangers and a Rangers team that happens to be playing really well right now. They are scoring goals for fun. They have guys who out of nothing can run past three of our lads and put the ball in the top corner.

“I heard Gerrard saying that he was going to give some of the fringe players a game, guys who have been drawing him daggers because they’ve not been in the team. These are players with something to prove to their manager. When I heard that I thought to myself ‘oh great.’

“If we get chances, we need to take them. It’s as simple as that but not so simple to do. We need to be careful about daft mistakes, stick to the basics, then we’ll have chances. I know that.”

Young always fancied being a manager. Even early on a career in which he excelled at Aberdeen and Dunfermline as a classy central midfielder – there is an argument he was under-rated as a player – and the hope is that a bigger club will take a chance on him.

To be fair to the Glaswegian, he’s been a success in his five years in management, which began at Albion Rovers - a club which allowed him to leave after he brought tangible success to a team not used to anything other than failure.

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“We won the league with Albion and then spent two years in League One which had never happened before,” Young proudly boasted. “With East Fife, we won eight games in a row last season, that was a first, and beat Raith Rovers for the first time in over 50 years.

“We have made records wherever we have been. I worked with Billy Stark and Sandy Clarke and gained so much experience from them. I won the league in first season at Albion Rovers which was brilliant.

“I would like to get back to full-time football where I spent most of my career. There has been a few discussions with clubs but nothing happened. Ach, that’s football. I like where I am. East Fife is a good club and on Sunday we will enjoy a big day for us and the supporters.”

Young is smart. And honest.

He knows that for all the good his team have done so far, the defeat of Hearts on penalties was a particular highlight, that Rangers are more than likely to win.

But Methil will be a culture shock for Gerrard’s team. It will be cold, windy and the artificial pitch is not the best, and the East Fife manager hopes this other side of football is going to help his team who have nothing to lose.

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“The players deserve this,” Young said. “They have bought into what I want them to do in terms of training and the way we set-up for games.

“We beat three teams in a week to get us out of a group which nobody gave us a hope of doing anything given who were up against.

“I just hope they don’t freeze on the day. We scored twice against Dundee United and one in the Hearts game. There are goals in this team and I have confidence that they will put themselves in the shop window.”

Young is ambitious and does have an impressive record. He is one who deserves a crack at a full-time club. Sunday could work out t be an ideal and public job application. Rangers have been warned.