Ally McCoist still irked by ’96 missed penalty

SEVENTEEN years on, Ally McCoist is still smarting over the missed penalty that cost Scotland at Wembley, writes Andrew Smith.

The 2-0 Euro 96 defeat by hosts England still pains the Rangers manager who insists he – and not captain Gary McAllister – should have taken the spot kick which was given with the score at 1-0.

“The memories are not great,” says McCoist. “Of course I should have taken the penalty, that is probably my greatest regret. I was in the mix to take it. One thing I have learned about management is that you can never say to somebody you are taking the penalties, never. It has to be somebody that feels right. The bigger man walks away. Says I don’t feel ready for it or there is something not right about it.”

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McAllister, Scotland’s designated penalty taker, saw his kick saved by David Seaman and England then broke away to score a second through Paul Gascoigne.

“We did all our stuff before it and Gary was taking the pens no matter what happened,” adds McCoist. “He struck it really well and that big bandit just dived and it hit off him. I asked to take it on the park. Even when he missed it, I asked to retake it!”

The missed kick has been subject to some outlandish theories, notably illusionist Uri Geller’s claim he made the ball move before McAllister struck it. McCoist adds: “Listen, I am telling you right now I was standing next to Gary Neville and that ball moved just the split second before he kicked it. It sounds crazy but I am telling you. It was actually quite a bit. It moves.”