Ally McCoist riled by Ibrox League Cup ‘snub’

Celtic Park, not Ibrox, will host the League Cup final. Picture: Johnston Press
Celtic Park, not Ibrox, will host the League Cup final. Picture: Johnston Press
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RANGERS manager Ally McCoist has questioned the authority of Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Neil Doncaster in the decision to stage next month’s League Cup final at Celtic Park.

The SPFL announced on Wednesday that Celtic Park had been chosen ahead of Ibrox Stadium for the 16 March showdown between Aberdeen and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

With Hampden currently unavailable due to reconstruction work ahead of the Commonwealth Games, it means both major domestic cup finals will take place at Celtic Park this season. The SFA decided last

October that the Scottish Cup final would be held at the home of holders Celtic on 17 May.

Ibrox will stage both Scottish Cup semi-finals, on the weekend of 12 and 13 April, but Rangers have lost out to Celtic on the ground-rental revenue from the SPFL for the League Cup showpiece.

McCoist, who last month accused the SPFL of unfair treatment towards Rangers supporters over fixture scheduling, said he had privately predicted the league body would hold their showpiece final at Celtic Park.

“Call me an old cynic but I didn’t fancy our chances of getting the League Cup final,” said McCoist. “I did say to our chief executive Graham Wallace that, if we were allowed to bet, to get a few quid on the final not being at Ibrox. Neil Doncastler, or indeed whoever is running the SPFL, made the decision. That’s something they’ll have to live with.”

The SPFL board is comprised of Doncaster, chairman Ralph Topping, Celtic financial director Eric Riley, Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson, Aberdeen chief executive Duncan Fraser, Hamilton Accies chairman Les Gray, Alloa chairman Mike Mulraney and Stenhousemuir chairman Bill Darroch.

Doncaster stated on Wednesday that the possibility of live television coverage of Rangers’ scheduled League One home game against Dunfermline on 15 March, the day before the League Cup final, could have caused logistical problems if the SPFL had opted for Ibrox. But McCoist was dismissive of that argument.

“I’ve worked with television long enough that I know these boys are unbelievable at their job in terms of de-rigging and setting up for games,” said the former A Question of Sport regular. “Come on. That doesn’t wash with me and I don’t think it washes with you either.”

McCoist, meanwhile, expressed his distaste for the incident at Tynecastle last Saturday, now subject to a police investigation, which saw Celtic manager Neil Lennon make an early exit from his seat in the main stand during the League Cup semi-final between Aberdeen and St Johnstone.

“I wasn’t there so it’s difficult to comment on,” said McCoist. “But obviously if the reports are correct, then nobody deserves to go to watch a game of football and suffer that.

“I’ve not had anything like that, thankfully. Most of what you get from the punters when you go to watch a game at another ground has been good-natured. You just get on with it.”