Hartley relishing Rangers test

PA Sport
Paul Hartley's Alloa face Rangers in the William Hill Scottish Cup
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Paul Hartley's Alloa face Rangers in the William Hill Scottish Cup

Alloa boss Paul Hartley is relishing the prospect of pitting his wits against Rangers in what he described as the biggest challenge of his managerial career so far.

The Ibrox side will host the Irn-Bru Second Division outfit in the third round of the William Hill Scottish Cup after the two clubs were paired together in Monday's draw at Hamilton Racecourse.

Rangers secured their progression with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Highland League champions Forres Mechanics on Saturday and were rewarded with a home tie, which means a bumper pay day for the Wasps.

Hartley said: "I'm happy with the draw and I think my chairman is even happier. It's great for the club and it's great for the players. You want to go there and pit your wits against a very good team.

"It's the draw you want away from home and hopefully there will be a big crowd and we will go there and enjoy it and have a go."

The former Celtic midfielder took over as player/manager at Alloa in May 2011.

Asked if this was his biggest challenge as a boss to date, he replied: "I think it is. When you become a manager, you want to come up against the bigger teams and go to the bigger venues."

Rangers have struggled on the road this season and, although results at Ibrox have been more convincing, they did suffer a shock Ramsdens Cup exit at home to Queen of the South last month.

On his side's chances of emulating that feat, Hartley said: "A lot of things will need to go in our favour. We'll need to play well, work hard and we'll need a bit of luck and they might need to have an off-day."

The draw was conducted by former Rangers striker Derek Johnstone, who said: "Alloa are a good side. Rangers have got to realise they are in the Third Division now so they are playing a team above them. But Rangers will be favourites - I don't think there is any doubt about that."

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