Partick Thistle's class act hopes to teach Rangers a cup final lesson 

Teacher Rachel Donaldson aims to help Thistle cause an upset at Tynecastle.

It’s not the conventional way of preparing for a League Cup final.

Partick Thistle’s Rachel Donaldson has to juggle being in the dressing room and the classroom, working as a PE teacher at Denny High school.

The 27-year-old is set to face Rangers in the final at Tynecastle on Sunday as Thistle take part in their first major final. Donaldson says it would be a dream come true if they could pull off a cup upset and lift the trophy.

Having such an active day job even before heading onto the pitch, the midfielder admits managing her hectic schedule can be challenging.

“Monday to Friday in the day job I’ll be teaching the kids, doing marking and getting things set up,” Donaldson told STV. “Then I’ll rush home, get my dinner and go straight to training on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

“Then there’s a game on a Sunday and I’m straight back in on the Monday morning.

“There are some really difficult times. Whether it’s after parents’ evening travelling to games or trying to get classes covered for midweek fixtures, there’s definitely a lot of challenges.

“But I do love my job and I like balancing it with the football.”

Rachel Donaldson has been a key player for Thistle since joining in 2022. (Photo by SNS Group)

Donaldson admits Sunday’s game against Rangers in the Final has been the talk of the school, even though not all of her pupils will be cheering her on.

“Quite a lot of the kids in school have already got their tickets so that’s quite exciting. Hopefully there’ll be supporting me but I think there’s definitely some Rangers fans withing the school.

“They keep up to date with all the scores so they let me know if they’ve not been too impressed with my performances at the weekend.”

Donaldson has Champions League experience from her time as a Celtic player but the midfielder says that success in the cup final would be a special moment in her career.

“It would mean the absolute world,” she said. “We haven’t yet beaten a top-six team and to go and do it in a cup final would just be an absolute dream come true.

“We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves but the closer it gets, the more you start to think it’s possible.

“We’re all really excited for it.”

The team is managed by Brian Graham, who’s a striker for the Partick Thistle men’s team, and as they prepare for the showpiece final he has one simple message for his players.

“Go and be heroes,” he said. “Go and put your name in the history books.

“Inspire the next generation of young girls trying to come up and play the game.

“It doesn’t matter what level, just try and reach the top.”

Rachel and her teammates are hoping the Cup comes back to Maryhill come Sunday evening.

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