RANGERS are on Ramsdens Cup duty against Queen of the South tonight – 24 hours before Celtic begin their Champions League campaign against Benfica.
Asked if the European ties will provide a stark reminder as to what his side will miss out on for the next few years, Rangers manager Ally McCoist said: “Not at all. I don’t look back, I look forward. We’ve got a massive game on Tuesday night. It doesn’t matter what the competition is at this club, you always have to look to do well in it and look to win the competition. That’s not to say I won’t be watching the Champions League, of course I’ll be watching the Champions League. But there is no use looking back and mumping and moaning. We just have to look forward now. We’re in the Ramsdens Cup and we will do our utmost to win it.”
McCoist, speaking ahead of the quarter-final at Ibrox, knows Rangers must improve on their weekend performance, when the stalemate at Annan left them still seeking their first away win in the Irn-Bru Third Division this season.
He said: “We all had a good chat and watched a bit of video this morning. We had a lot of possession on Saturday but we lacked a bit of width to our game. We didn’t do enough in terms of creating chances. We are playing a team tomorrow night who are doing very well and this could maybe be our toughest game at home so far. They are in a good vein of form and will be difficult opposition for us.”
McCoist acknowledged that the Rangers fans are becoming increasingly frustrated by their results on the road. He added: “I accept that and appreciate it. We all know the pressures of getting results at this football club. It doesn’t matter what division you’re in, what cup you’re in, you are expected to win games.
“We’ve had three draws away from home. It’s not a disaster. But I do accept that we should be playing better away from home and hopefully turning those draws into victories.
“I’m certain that the results away from home will come but it’s not going to be an overnight fix. We are a new team, a younger team and it will take a little bit of time. Everyone has to appreciate where the club is at the moment but we will get there.”
Queen of the South player-manager Allan Johnston, meanwhile, will lead his team tonight with the Second Division Irn-Bru Phenomenal Manager of the Month Award to his name.
Johnston enjoyed a fine August with his side winning twice and drawing once in the league, without conceding a goal, as well as seeing off Hibs and Alloa in the Scottish Communities League Cup and Morton in the Ramsdens Cup. The Doonhamers have started September by scoring ten goals in wins over Arbroath and Ayr, and the Palmerston Park manager said: “Last month was a good one but this award is not for me or even for the players, it is for everyone at the club.
“The players have responded well since I got the job in April and I could not ask for more from them.
“The directors deserve it as well as they made a big decision to keep us full time. They are ambitious and desperate for us to do well. Getting their backing has made my job easier.”
Turning to the Rangers game, Johnston said: “Everyone has been desperate to play and having that competition for places has been good for us. It is a massive game and it is the first time a lot of our players will experience playing in front of a big crowd in a big ground.”