DCSIMG

Rangers ‘good enough to challenge Celtic in cup’

Ally McCoist's cup aspirations go beyond Dunfermline, targeting Celtic. Picture: PA

Ally McCoist's cup aspirations go beyond Dunfermline, targeting Celtic. Picture: PA

  • by DAVID GUNN
 

RANGERS manager Ally McCoist is convinced his team have as much chance of stopping Celtic from winning the William Hill Scottish Cup as any other.

However, McCoist knows they will first need to stand up to whatever League One rivals Dunfermline throw at them following a bruising encounter on their last visit.

The former Scotland striker is looking to improve on a disappointing cup record as Rangers host the Pars in their fifth-round tie tomorrow night.

McCoist has only reached one quarter-final in five attempts in Scotland’s two main cup tournaments, although his team have a Ramsdens Cup final against Raith Rovers in April.

With Rangers 23 points ahead of Dunfermline in the league, a cup run is the main point of interest for the Light Blues fans.

McCoist said: “Last year wasn’t good for us, we had a disappointing result at Tannadice.

“You need a bit of luck to go on a cup run, and we certainly need that, but we certainly believe we’ve got players who can go on a cup run.

“We have a bit of experience in the squad with lads who have had success in cup competitions, Lee McCulloch in particular but also (Ian) Black, (Jon) Daly, Cammy Bell and people like that.

“We believe, outwith Celtic, who would be most people’s if not everybody’s favourites to win domestic competitions because of their strength at this moment, we believe we are on a par with the rest of the SPL teams. Aberdeen are very strong as well.

“But we are looking forward to the tie and nothing more than an opportunity to extend our run.”

Rangers endured a difficult evening when Dunfermline last visited Ibrox, on league duty in November, with Bilel Mohsni’s 90th-minute goal securing a 3-1 win against ten men.

However, it proved a costly three points as Andy Little suffered a broken jaw and cheekbone, Mohsni breaking his nose, Richard Foster ruled out for six weeks with an ankle injury, and McCulloch needing six stitches in a head wound.

“We ended up with four players in hospital,” McCoist said. “But it was a hard, fair game. I sometimes criticise players not being allowed to tackle like we used to in older days.

“I think the physical side of the game is something that should never be taken away from football. It’s part and parcel of football.”

McCoist, whose team won 4-0 at Dunfermline in December, added: “I think possibly Dunfermline caught us on the hop a bit with their natural aggression to play the game at Ibrox.

“We don’t in any shape or form have a problem with that.

“We did well to see that game out and win the game, but I thought in the game at East End (Park) we were ready for any eventuality that was thrown at us and I would be very hopeful that will be the same again.”

 

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