A spectacular strike from Spanish striker Nacho Novo, less than 30 seconds after coming on as a substitute, proved to be enough as Rangers FC clinched a double with a 1-0 Scottish Cup final victory against Falkirk FC at Hampden Park.
Having replaced the prolific Kris Boyd, the 30-year-old Novo justified manager Walter Smith's faith, receiving the ball from a Steven Whittaker throw-in just after half-time and unleashing a venomous long-range shot which beat fellow countryman Dani Mallo in the Falkirk goal. Rangers also won the cup last season, but victory against Falkirk saw them complete their first double since 2002/03.
Falkirk, who barely avoided relegation, looked willing throughout, and Neil McCann twice went close in the first half, though Steve Lovell had to head off the line from Rangers defender David Weir just before the break. After going behind, Bairns substitute Michael Higdon had a goal disallowed for offside and Lovell hit the post late on, though Kyle Lafferty and Novo both had chances to seal Rangers' success.
"It's a great feeling," said the 39-year-old Rangers captain David Weir, who held aloft the Scottish championship six days ago. "We've had a great week and today just adds to that. Falkirk played very well and deserved more. Times like this make it very special – you cannot beat this."
"It means a lot to come back and make a difference," said manager Walter Smith, who has now won four doubles in two spells with the Glasgow club. "We had to dig deep as it's been an enormous effort to win the championship. It was going to take something like that goal to win the cup. We knew it would be a difficult day."
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