RANGERS manager Stuart McCall appealed for unity last night after admitting he was “very sad and sickened” at booing of Lee McCulloch during the club’s 2-2 draw with Falkirk that handed Hibs the advantage in the scrap for second place in the Championship.
The 36-year-old defender was turned on by a section of the Ibrox crowd after he allowed himself to be outmuscled by John Baird in the lead-up to the visitors’ second goal in a see-saw encounter in which Rangers claimed a point with a dramatic, fightback, capped by a 95th-minute equaliser from Nicky Clark.
McCall admitted to concerns that the treatment of McCulloch, which swung between detractors and backers, could impact on the young players in the Rangers side ahead of the final league encounter at Hearts next week. Rangers must win and hope Hibs slip up at Falkirk to avoid their promotion hopes resting on three, and not two, play-off ties.
“It was very sad, and I was sickened to hear it at the time,” McCall said of the unprecedented barracking of a Rangers captain.
“What did please me was that after a couple of minutes of it the supporters turned that on its head and in the end drowned out the booing and that’s what we need as a club, togetherness.
“It doesn’t matter what’s gone on last week, years ago, months ago, today, it’s all about next week and the future and the players will need the supporters as much as the supporters will need the players. As disappointing as it was to hear, frustrations have grown but again I was pleased the rest of the supporters then turned it on its head.
“I’ve not had a chance to speak to Lee [to see whether it has affected him]. Again we go one at the back with eight minutes to go and put Lee up front and he’s had a fantastic header. I thought that would have been justice and it’s a world-class save by Jamie MacDonald. Listen, he’s an experienced guy, he’s been here a long, long time and witnessed the highs and lows. It’s never nice to hear, but I am pleased the supporters turned it round because it would have been difficult for the younger lads. It wasn’t nice to hear, naturally, but it happened and we have got to move on.”
Hibs leapfrogged Rangers by beating Alloa 4-1 at Easter Road and will secure second place if they defeat Falkirk next week.