Ally McCoist plays down plastic pitch phobia

Rangers' Lewis Macleod went over on his ankle and hurt his foot on the 3G surface at Alloa. Picture: SNS
Rangers' Lewis Macleod went over on his ankle and hurt his foot on the 3G surface at Alloa. Picture: SNS
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ALLY McCoist insists Rangers have to get over their plastic phobia and show they are the real deal for League Cup glory at Falkirk tonight.

The Rangers manager has a strong aversion to synthetic surfaces and his players don’t perform well on them either, as was witnessed at Alloa last Saturday when they slumped to a 1-1 draw to fall three points behind Hearts in the Championship.

McCoist is reluctant to blame 3G pitches for injuries but he has suffered three bad ones already this season.

Lewis Macleod and Nicky Clark are ruled out for at least two weeks after suffering ankle and shoulder injuries respectively at Alloa while it was at the Falkirk Stadium back on 15 August that Cammy Bell, now out until Christmas, dislocated his shoulder.

Equally David Templeton missed a large chunk of the 2012-13 season with a bad ankle injury on the surface at Annan.

McCoist said: “Clearly there are boys in our team who are less comfortable on those 
surfaces than others.

“Alloa, Queen of the South and Falkirk have them but you don’t get any two the same. They are different quality, the fabric is different, so you have to take into account the different levels of surface when you are picking the team.

“I’m not qualified to say if the surface at Alloa caused the injuries to Lewis and Nicky. Lewis went over on his ankle and hurt his foot and Nicky, when he fell, hurt his shoulder.

“What I will say it is a blow to lose both of them because they were in good form.

“Templeton got a horrendous injury which was certainly down to the surface at Annan two years ago.

“I can just see some of our boys maybe looking less comfortable on that surface than you’d hope.

“But there are no excuses. The bottom line is they might not like the surface but it’s the same for both teams.

“Regardless of whether the home team play on it every second week – which they do – there are no excuses.”

Rangers had built up some momentum after scrambling a 2-0 win at Falkirk last month and midfielder Ian Black insists the Alloa result was just a blip, as they seek to go all the way in the League Cup.

He said: “You are going to have ups and downs and that was one of the low points.

“We never lost the game and that was the main thing.

“It is how we react now. We have done it before and came out with a positive reaction to get a result and we want to do it again.

“There is no doubt we can go all the way in the League Cup. We have got a good squad, there is a good bit of confidence in there and it is a big squad as well so there are a lot of players that can chip in if there are injuries. We are confident of going far in all the cups.”

McCoist, who will start Lee Wallace and Jon Daly tonight, also confirmed that chief executive Graham Wallace addressed the squad last Friday to offer reassurance on the financial situation at the club.

He said: “It was very informal, just a staff meeting to keep everyone up to speed with what’s happening and where Graham sees the club going. I spoke to the staff for five minutes as well and there was a Q&A afterwards.

“It’s something we’ve done before and Graham plans to have quarterly. Everybody likes a bit of reassurance now and again to ease any concerns they might have about anything. That was the object of the meeting.”