RANGERS manager Ally McCoist refused to contemplate quitting after his team blew a two-goal lead with only 17 minutes remaining to lose 3-2 away to Alloa in the semi-final of the Petrofac Training Cup.
The late collapse eclipses the many cup calamities that McCoist has endured across three-and-a-half years in charge – three coming in successive campaigns in the Challenge Cup – but the Ibrox manager was unequivocal when asked if he would consider resigning. “No, I’m too concentrated on the game here,” he said, later stating that he shared the “disappointment, absolutely” of angry fans, many of whom are now calling for him to step down. “I think they are entitled to a few choice comments,” he said. “There’s a long way to go in the season and we’ll fight tooth and nail to get back to where we belong.”
McCoist refused to accept Rangers had failed a test of character in surrendering a seemingly unassailable lead gained with second-half goals by Kenny Miller and Dean Shiels. Greig Spence netted an 89th-minute winner for Alloa, after earlier sparking a remarkable fightback with a 73rd minute header. Ryan McCord equalised two minutes later.
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“We lost some really sloppy goals and got what we deserved,” he said. “I’m not sure if it was a test of character, but it was certainly a lack of professionalism not to see the game out from a great position. If someone had offered you being 2-0 up at that stage of the second half, you would have bitten their hand off. So I am not sure if it was a lack of character. But definitely a lack of professionalism. My decision is to look at the performance tonight and sit down with the boys and go through it. It won’t be pleasant that’s for sure.”
Alloa manager Barry Smith maintained the win was more momentous for his club than for him, the victory the first the part-time team have achieved in 109 years over Rangers.
“The team were exceptional,” Smith said. “No words can really explain the energy they give me, with the boys coming straight from their work and arriving late at the ground because of the traffic, so to put on a performance like that was outstanding. I thought we were excellent in the first half but to come from 2-0 down to win 3-2 was exceptional. The last few minutes seemed to go on and on. But our boys showed character and strength to get through.
“We had nine players missing but the boys who came in were excellent.”
Double-scorer Spence was equally rapturous over a result that sets up a final against Livingston in April. “It’s right up there with anything I’ve done, what a night,” he said. “It’s massive for the club and for the boys. I thought we deserved it, we worked really hard in the game and to come from 2-0 down to win 3-2 is like a fairytale in a way. We have this never-say-die attitude at the club, we always work hard for each other and I knew if we were to get one goal back we would have a chance.
“I managed to scored a wee header and I knew from there that we would finish stronger than them. You could see once we got a goal back that their fans started getting on top of them and they were nervous. As soon as anyone shows a sign of weakness you have to capitalise on it and I think we did that.”
• Scottish bookmakers McBookie.com are offering 2/1 that Stuart McCall will be the next manager of Rangers.
Paul Petrie, McBookie.com spokesman, said: “This could be the last embarrassing result for McCoist and the board might think it will cost them more if they stick with him.”
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