UNTIL shortly after Rangers emphatic 6-1 victory over Forfar on Tuesday night, goalkeeper Cammie Bell had no idea he was involved in a bit of club history.
The thumping of yet another hapless League One side gave Rangers their 19th consecutive win, a post-war record, but Bell had no idea before the game what it meant to the statisticians.
“I didn’t actually know,” admitted Bell. “I found out after the game and I think it is a great achievement, no matter what level you are playing at or who you are playing against. You see Motherwell playing Albion Rovers, an SPL team against a lower league team and they got beat, so it’s not easy.
“Some people might look from outside and think the games are easy, but they are definitely not. Celtic got beat by Morton in the League Cup, so it’s tough to play every week. We know there are great challenges ahead of us and it is going to be tough to keep up the run but as I say we just concentrate on each individual team that we play and hopefully we can keep the run going.”
Bell thinks the biggest problem about extending the record won’t be motivating the side, but the good old Scottish weather. “The manager keeps the motivation going,” said Bell. “He demands that you go and win games, and I’m sure he’ll keep us going right throughout the season. The staff here, all the coaches, they demand it every day at training, and we demand it from ourselves, we’re professionals, that we go into every game looking to win it
“I think it will be really, really difficult in the winter which always has its problems with the weather in Scotland. It is going to be really difficult because you have got to go to small stadiums and you know what the weather is like here in Scotland. The winds that were here yesterday – imagine trying to play football in that? That will be a tough task itself so it will be really difficult just because of the elements of this country, and the places you need to go. It’s going to be a really tough task to keep it going, but we look forward to the challenge and take every game as it comes.”
McCoist, meanwhile, would brook no comparisons with the team of 1992 which set the previous record. “I would never compare. That squad in 1992 nearly went to a Champions League final. So there’s no way we could compare the teams. “The one thing we can work on now is the mentality of the team. The team in 1992 was full of incredibly strong characters and we’ve got good lads just now. They’re in the process of their education of being Rangers players. They’re coming along nicely. We’ve got miles to go as a team but hopefully we will continue to progress. But it would be totally wrong to compare one of the greatest teams in the club’s history with a team that’s only been going for six months.”
For Bell, playing behind such an attacking goal-minded team that is dominating much of every game has its problems for a goalkeeper, namely keeping his concentration. He said: “It’s tough for me and it’s completely different from what I have been used to at Kilmarnock. I need to keep my defence organised, and if I can keep them organised hopefully that will reduce what I have to do in the game.”
He hopes for Gordon Strachan to look at him for the Scotland squad, but meanwhile he is enjoying the satisfaction of winning with boyhood heroes. Bell said: “I have always wanted to play for Rangers, it’s great and I am enjoying every minute of it. I want to be as successful as I can here. I’ve got my own motivations, I want to win things, and I am sure all the players in the dressing- room put the same demands on themselves.”
Bell is not exactly looking forward to meeting an old Kilmarnock colleague in today’s match against Ayr United – Kevin Kyle. “He’s a good guy and is always a handful when he plays up top,” said Bell. “I’m sure he’ll be fired up for the game and will give me a wee dunt at a corner. I remember when he played at Hearts, he smashed me at one corner, but I get on really well with him and still speak to him. He’ll be looking forward to it and hopefully he’ll get a good reception.”