On Thursday, Glasgow Celtic won the Scottish Premier League title for the third successive year, and as usual its only serious competitor was Glasgow Rangers. Third-place Motherwell was 26 points adrift of the top two, and no team besides Celtic or Rangers has lifted the Scottish title since 1985.
That's why the presence of second-tier Queen of the South in Saturday's Scottish Cup final, against Rangers, is all the more interesting. The side from the southwestern Scottish Borders town of Dumfries, who finished a respectable fourth in Division One (one level below the SPL), made it to their first ever major final by beating Aberdeen, 4-3, in a thrilling semi. It hopes to take advantage of the fact that Rangers will be tired and demoralized from having just played four games in nine days, including the UEFA Cup final loss to Zenit St. Petersburg, and the hectic three-game climax to tits league campaign that saw it losing out to Celtic on the season's final day (three wins would have given it the title).
Queen of the South chairman David Rae, a retired farmer, turned the club full-time last summer, and says that the team is right now "the greatest brand name in the southwest of Scotland. I've brought in what I'd like to think was a steady growth in the club." You may also be wondering about the team's name. Dumfries was coined the Queen of the South in 1857 when local poet David Dunbar used the biblical reference (from the Old Testament tale about the Queen of Sheba) to laud the town during his campaign to be elected to Parliament. The soccer team adopted the moniker in 1919 when several existing local sides merged into one.