Alex McLeish: ‘If a guy comes for my medals he’ll get a right-hander’
FORMER Rangers manager Alex McLeish believes that talk of stripping the stricken Glasgow club of cups and championships is below the belt and the 53-year-old has warned that anyone wishing to relieve him of the medals he collected during his four-and-a-half seasons at Ibrox will have a real fight on their hands.
The SPL have commissioned an enquiry into Rangers’ alleged improper registration of players from 2000-2010 and one of the sanctions available to the governing body, should the club be found guilty, is the removal of trophies won during the period under investigation.
McLeish, 53, was back in Glasgow yesterday to promote ESPN’s coverage of the SPL and SFL this season and he stressed that he intends to make a real fist of it should anyone attempt to recover his gongs.
Between 2002 and 2006 he led Rangers to two SPL titles, two Scottish Cups and three League Cups and he maintains that they were won fairly.
“Every single day seems to bring something negative for Rangers,” he said. “Hopefully, a line can be draw soon and Rangers can enhance the Scottish game again.
“As for stripping titles, it would be very disappointing if that was to happen to Rangers and I don’t believe it should – and if a guy turns up at my door looking for the medals back, he’ll be getting a right-hander! When I joined Rangers, Celtic were kicking their a**e. In my first season, the title was already gone when I arrived in December and it was a massive achievement for me to get back at Celtic as they were an exceptional team.
“People said it was the best Celtic team since 1967. Martin O’Neill had built a strong side with [John] Hartson and [Henrik] Larsson and other guys and for me to start beating Celtic was one of my proudest moments.
“If they officially took away the titles, it would be difficult for me to accept, but no-one could take away the achievements – and they can’t take away memories of days like Helicopter Sunday.”
McLeish underlined his point by claiming that none of the payments he received during his time at Ibrox was off the radar. “In terms of me going to Rangers after Dick Advocaat, I was signing on for the going rate which was correct at the time,” he said. “I was guided by my lawyer who assured me everything was fine and I’m still assured of that. We did nothing wrong. My lawyer was there every inch of the way and said all was fine.”
McLeish can’t begin to understand how Rangers were allowed to die and be born again in the Third Division, but he’s convinced they will soon return to the top flight.
“It just seems surreal,” he said. “But it’s now happened, Rangers are there and they have to embrace it.
“The other clubs are doing much better in terms of season tickets. I believe their supporters have put their money where their mouths are.
“But Rangers will hopefully enhance the whole Scottish game. It will take a while for them to get back to the top level but I’m sure it will be a massive boost for the lower echelons of Scottish football.
“I’d still expect large crowds at Ibrox and I hope the fans turn out in numbers. Certainly, all the Third Division clubs will benefit when Rangers visit.
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