DCSIMG

Ally McCoist urges Rangers to show they are a force at Ibrox again

Kyle Hutton, centre, shares a joke with teammate Ian Black in training

Kyle Hutton, centre, shares a joke with teammate Ian Black in training

Rangers manager Ally McCoist has urged his players to prove they can compete with top-flight teams on a regular basis as Inverness prepare to visit Ibrox in the Scottish Communities League Cup.

Rangers beat then Clydesdale Bank Premier League leaders Motherwell 2-0 in the previous round and face another in-form SPL side in the quarter-finals.

Terry Butcher’s side are the SPL top scorers with 23 goals from 11 games and are on a 
seven-match unbeaten run.#

Ibrox had an air of defiance about it when Motherwell became the first SPL side to play Rangers since the newco club was denied entry to the top flight and forced to start again at the bottom of the Scottish Football League. McCoist is now looking for his players to produce a similar display against the Highlanders.

“I hope they feel there is a point to prove when anyone comes to Ibrox,” he said. “To be fair, the majority of home performances have been okay. The players are playing a team three leagues above them who have been doing very, very well. It is a question for our players. Can they compete against boys from the top league who have been doing well? I’m of the belief that they can and, hopefully, they will. But words are cheap and they have got to show that.”

McCoist added: “I would settle for the same edge and same performance that the lads gave me the last time we played an SPL team.

“I think the fans will play a massive part as they have done for all our games this season but I felt in the Motherwell game, the atmosphere was almost like a European night. Added to the opportunity to go to Hampden, playing against another SPL side, all those factors would hopefully indicate we would have a level of performance that would see us through to the next round.

“It will be extremely difficult. As hard, if not harder, than the Motherwell game. The Motherwell boys probably didn’t really know what to expect from an SFL3 team, albeit Rangers. The 
Inverness lads will have seen that performance and big Terry will have had us watched, and they will know what to expect.”

Rangers secured their first away win in the Third Division at the fifth time of asking on Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Clyde and questions had been asked of the players’ application after beating Motherwell but struggling in the league.

McCoist said: “Especially with a brand new team, the one thing you have to strive for is consistency. I don’t think you are going to get it straight away. With the vast majority of teams who have a big turnover in players, not all of them hit the ground running. They have good performances and indifferent performances. We have been a bit like that. The Motherwell game has probably been our best performance. We are doing okay and tomorrow night will tell us how far we are behind or indeed can we match these teams on a regular basis. So it’s a big game for us.”

The victory at Broadwood followed another milestone the previous week, when Rangers went top of the Third Division for the first time with a win over Queen’s Park. And McCoist says securing a trip to Hampden for a semi-final would be a welcome step. “The last couple of weeks, getting to the top of the league and our first away victory, have been very, very positive signs,” he said. “But they are small steps on the long road that we have. This would be another step. We have got miles to go. We’re in SFL3 and going to have to get promoted out of the leagues.

“But if, in the first season, we could get an opportunity to go back to Hampden on cup business – we will go on league business, which is bizarre but great – it would be a great step for the supporters and indeed the players and everyone involved in the club in the long road ahead.”

McCoist, who revealed French defender Sebastien Faure would see a specialist over a groin problem, added: “The whole thing is a learning curve for everybody. We are all experiencing something that is completely new.

“There is no rulebook for what’s happening but the rulebook at this football club has always stated that you handle pressure and win games of football and that hasn’t changed.

“Although we have got a completely and utterly new side, the boys have to learn quickly what is expected, and the first thing that is expected at this club as a player is to win games.”

 

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