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Our bosses will be rubbing their hands in glee at the cash .. but they don't have to line up in goals!; SAYS EAST FIFE KEEPER LINDSAY HAMILTON.

East Fife were last night still celebrating the Scottish Cup draw that could set them up financially for life.

The First Division bottom dogs should pull in at least pounds 100,000 from their big day out at Ibrox next month.

But for keeper Lindsay Hamilton, the money- spinning trip to face Rangers is the tie from HELL.

The keeper with the worst goals against record in British football - East Fife have lost 66 in the league alone - faces a multi- million pound firing squad on February 15.

And while his shoestring mates revel in the glory of a day out at the playground of the rich, the game will only open old wounds for ex-Ger Hamilton.

Six years on, he still refuses to talk about the slap in the face delivered to him an hour before he was due to make his top- team Rangers debut.

He was lined up to face Arbroath in a Skol Cup tie - only for then-boss Graeme Souness to sign Bonni Ginsburg hours before kick- off and throw him in instead.

Sickened Hamilton, now 34, was soon on his way out of Ibrox and had a successful stint at St Johnstone before joining East Fife via Portadown in Northern Ireland.

And while the rest of his young team-mates are licking their lips at the thought of a crack at Walter Smith's superstars, Hamilton is already having nightmares.

He said: "I can't believe the draw - it's the worst possible tie for me.

"WE LOSE 15 GAMES ON THE TROT, THEN WIN ONE IN THE CUP AND OUR REWARD IS TO GO THERE AND POSSIBLY GET HAMMERED.

"I've been in the game a long time and this has been the worst season for me in terms of losing goals - it's embarrassing to think I've got the worst record of any keeper in Britain.

"The directors might be rubbing their hands in glee at the cash side of things but they're not going to be out there having to shut up shop against Rangers."

Hamilton, 34, watched the draw unfold on TV and was praying that the Fifers avoided Rangers.

But someone upstairs wasn't listening.

He added: "When we came out with Rangers I had a sleepless night because I knew the phone would be going all day today.

"What happened in the past is irrelevant and I don't talk about it. Nobody is interested in Lindsay Hamilton and that's the way I like it.

"I've had good days in football and this tie is much more exciting for some of the young lads who are just out of the juniors.

"I just wish we'd got a draw that gave us a chance of progressing in the cup.

"Given the choice I'd rather stay in the cup for as long as possible than go to Ibrox and lose six or seven-nil."

Hamilton is realistic enough to know that's EXACTLY what could happen - and his tongue was only slightly in his cheek when he added: "The only way we'll have a chance is if only Andy Goram turns up to play us.

"If the rest appear, Andy would be as well spending the day in his bed."

East Fife's win over Queen's Park at Hampden on Saturday ended that dreadful run of 15 straight defeats and Hamilton insists the Methil men are not as bad as results would indicate.

He said: "We play some good football but it's tough for the kids to take so many defeats.

"The result at Hampden was important for them. There were only two men and a dog there but it was a victory against a team who fancied themselves to shock us.

"Now we've got a few league games coming up and the boys will get a lift from knowing we'll be facing Rangers soon."

Bayview boss Jimmy Bone doesn't share Hamilton's lack of enthusiasm for the trip to Ibrox.

He revealed how the cash injection from the tie will boost their chances of building a new stadium.

He said: "My phone started ringing as soon as we came out of the draw.

"Our chairman Julian Danskin was first on and then the directors and general manager as we planned ahead at midnight on Saturday.

"EVERYONE IS ECSTATIC FOR THIS WILL BE A HUGE FINANCIAL BOOST TO THE CLUB.

"We had planned to go ahead with building a new stadium in Methil and this draw means that we are an extra pounds 100,000 nearer the total needed. That money will be put towards it.

"We will have to wait to see just how much does come in but some of it will also be used to strengthen our playing pool.

"Our players are also delighted at the chance of going to Ibrox. We were at Hampden Park on Saturday and now they get the chance of playing at Ibrox in the next round.

"It will be our cup final and a great day out for everyone including our fans.

"And it could help us in our league campaign because all the players will want to be in the side against Rangers.''

Bone admitted he was in a cold sweat when the last two balls in the hat for Saturday's draw were East Fife and Rangers.

He said: "I was sitting at home watching the draw and praying that Craig Brown would pull the Rangers ball out first - and he did. That's a drink I owe my old pal.

"Of course the money is important but we don't need it to survive.

"We are well run and don't have a massive overdraft, so it's not as if the bank will gobble up the Ibrox money.

"Realistically, we have no chance of winning the Scottish Cup, so getting Rangers at Ibrox is the next best thing."

Bone will have a hard job convincing Lindsay Hamilton of that.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 27, 1997
Words:974
Previous Article:Three points for a draw; AIRDRIE v RAITH.
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