Rangers manager Walter Smith has revealed that Barry Ferguson almost made his long-awaited comeback sooner than anticipated in Tuesday's Co-operative Insurance Cup win over Hamilton.
The club captain was named on the bench for the quarter-final tie after spending the last five months out of action with an ankle injury but was never likely to be involved in the match which Rangers won 2-0. But he was almost thrown into the action for the entire second half when Pedro Mendes complained of a knock at half-time, before deciding he was able to carry on.
"We thought we were going to have to put him on at half-time because Pedro Mendes took a knock," said Smith. "He would have been okay, he was ready for it. But he will play in a reserve game on Wednesday and should be ready for Saturday's game (against Inverness)."
Goals from Kris Boyd and Kyle Lafferty sealed Rangers' progression to the last four of the competition on a night when Hamilton barely carved out a chance on goal.
The win for Rangers was far more convincing than on their visit to Partick in the previous round, when Smith's side required extra-time to see off the Irn-Bru First Division side.
"We're pleased to be in the semi-final," added Smith. "Hamilton made us work hard, they restricted space and creating opportunities was difficult.
"I felt all the players played well. It wasn't easy for the forward players, there wasn't a lot of space and we had to work hard for what we got."
Hamilton manager Billy Reid admits his side were simply outclassed on the night against a far better team, singling out Pedro Mendes and the sponsors' man of the match Steven Davis for praise.
"I've got a group of players in that dressing room who are exhausted," he said.
"We had to chase the ball all night and couldn't get near Mendes and Davis. It was a huge learning curve for our players. I've no complaints about the scoreline - this was a huge step up in class and we knew that, we're not silly."
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