GRAEME Souness is never likely to be on Ted McMinn's Christmas-card list, but the passage of time has at least persuaded the former Rangers winger that the manager who ended his Ibrox career 20 years ago was right to do so.
From the moment Souness became Rangers manager in 1986, he and McMinn were a combustible combination. After the winger crossed Souness' disciplinary line once too often, he was sold to Sevilla in January 1987.
At the time, McMinn felt he had been made the scapegoat for an incident outside an East Kilbride nightclub when, along with Ally McCoist and Ian Durrant, he was charged with breach of the peace.
"Looking at it now, if I was a manager and a player did the kind of things I did, then I would do exactly the same thing as Graeme did to me," admitted McMinn yesterday. "I would show them the door.
"There were three of us involved in the incident, but I was the numpty out of the three. When Mr Souness was here, if you did something wrong, you paid the penalty. Rangers hadn't been doing well when Graeme came in and he didn't care at whose cost Rangers did well under him.
"I've only met Graeme once since I left Rangers. It was when Blackburn played Derby a few years ago and he invited me into the tunnel to speak to him. It was as if we were old pals, yet he couldn't wait to get me out the door when I was at Rangers."
McMinn was reunited with Jock Wallace, the manager who had taken him to Rangers, in Seville and took some consolation from Souness almost immediately suffering one of the biggest upsets in the Ibrox club's history when they lost 1-0 at home to Hamilton Accies in the third round of the Scottish Cup. "I remember being with big Jock in Seville when we heard that Rangers had lost," he recalled. "We couldn't believe it. I just turned to Jock and said 'well, at least I can't get the blame for that one'."
McCoist, who was fined 150 as the only one of the trio found guilty of breach of the peace after that curfew-breaking incident, remains a close friend of McMinn who believes the current Rangers assistant manager is now destined to succeed Walter Smith in the Ibrox hot seat. "I think it will happen now," said McMinn. "It's hard to imagine him giving anyone a bollocking without laughing, but he is very passionate about Rangers. The club is in his blood."