GLASGOW Clan chief operating officer Gareth Chalmers says the club are big enough to be in the Challenge Cup Final – a year after their play-off humiliation.

His team, coached by Pete Russell, are off to Belfast today to take on the Giants in their semifinal second leg for a place in the Cardiff final next month, holding a 2-1 aggregate lead.

Chalmers says the club have come a long way from their play-off disappointment that led to the dismissal of previous coach John Tripp.

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“To reach the final of this tournament is something we need as an organisation,” Chalmers said. “It’s our ninth year and we’ve never got to a major final. To me, we’re big enough to do that now.

“The club off the ice is solid and the next level is for us to win trophies. It’s difficult to break that, but once you win one it can breed more success.

“It’s going to be difficult in Belfast. We know that and if we do it, fantastic. But when you look at the bigger picture, then to be in the last four of the Challenge Cup, it’s a massive stride for us to take.

“Finishing ninth and not qualifying for the play-offs was unacceptable for the organisation and that’s ultimately why John Tripp lost his job in the end.”

The ramifications of that campaign last year hit the club’s fanbase hard and Chalmers found himself under heavy fire from fans after presiding over such a poor season.

But on the day of the play-off final last year, Clan announced they had a new coach in place.

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The appointment met with a mixed reaction from the Purple Army, but Chalmers had an unwavering belief his new coach would deliver.

He added: “I was disappointed with the reaction, but I understood it. But we were always confident we had the right guy and it’s proved to be the right move so far.”