Gary McAllister happy there will be Celtic fans at Ibrox derby

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard (centre) with Tom Culshaw and Gary McAllister. Picture: SNS
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard (centre) with Tom Culshaw and Gary McAllister. Picture: SNS
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Rangers assistant manager Gary McAllister believes Celtic’s decision to take tickets for Saturday’s derby at Ibrox should make for a better atmosphere. The Parkhead club had initially considered not taking up their reduced allocation of 750 seats over perceived concerns over supporter safety.

McAllister played for Leeds United in a Champions League qualifying tie against Rangers at Ibrox in 1992 when away fans were banned from attending either leg and admitted it had been a “bizarre” experience.

“The four or five hundred Rangers fans that were at Celtic Park earlier in the season made a lot of noise,” he said. “I would also look back to the game in Europe this year when Rapid Vienna brought however many they did into that corner, and it does make for a better atmosphere.

“The game at Ibrox with Leeds was bizarre. When the referee put his whistle to his mouth to start the game I’ve never heard anything like it. I remember looking to Gordon Strachan, David Batty and Gary Speed, and the four of us just went ‘wow’. It was proper electric. I had a bit more hair back then, and there were bits standing on end.

“I scored after 54 seconds, and then that was bizarre, because it was proper silence. It was like, ‘what’s happened?’

“I don’t know how many Celtic fans are coming, but we’re just really focusing on St Johnstone and we will come to the Old Firm game in time.”

St Johnstone haven’t beaten Rangers at home for almost nine years but McAllister rates Tommy Wright as one of the best managers in the Scottish game.

He added: “Prior to coming back to Rangers and looking from afar, it has always amazed me how well he has done.

“I’d imagine there isn’t a great deal of money to recruit, but he does amazingly well. It’s a small squad so it’s not as if he can flip things around. The work he’s done after losing 6-0 to Celtic and the effect that must have had on the players, to get the reaction he’s had, it’s all testament to the guy.”