Ally McCoist blasts ‘unacceptable’ defeat to Annan

The jubilant Annan Athletic players go to their small band of supporters to celebrate at the end of the match. Picture: SNS
The jubilant Annan Athletic players go to their small band of supporters to celebrate at the end of the match. Picture: SNS
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RANGERS manager Ally McCoist lamented an “unacceptable” performance from his side as they slipped to defeat to Annan at Ibrox on Saturday.

The club’s chief executive Charles Green kicked off a heated debate last week when he claimed that he presides over “probably the worst Rangers team ever seen” and Annan, only elected to the Scottish Football League five years ago, asked plenty of questions of the league leaders and left Glasgow having created their own bit of history.

“It was a really, really poor 90 minutes,” said McCoist. “The players know what is expected of them at this club and they dropped below those standards. I didn’t have harsh words with them in the dressing room, I just told them that it was unacceptable.

“You have days like this at a club like ours and sometimes it is just a poor result, but our level of performance was more disappointing than the result.

“If one or two players thought it was a case of turning up and getting an SFL Third Division medal, then that is certainly not the case.

“I don’t know the reason for that performance, but I can assure you we will go over it together in detail on Monday morning, establish what went wrong and ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

The players’ performance also raised questions regarding the ability of the current squad and improvements that may be required. In that respect McCoist was honest when he said: 
“The performance confirmed what we knew, that there is still a lot of work to be done and that we need to strengthen our team.

“It is not outrageous to say that everybody, including management, coaches and playing staff, are playing for their future here.”

Although the Rangers fans gave voice to their disapproval at full-time, there was also an air of acceptance from the Ibrox faithful. They recognised that the result had been no fluke and that the visitors had thoroughly deserved their historic win.

The home players went in at the break to the noise of jeers from the Ibrox stands and things got worse soon after half-time when Annan’s Danny Orsi swept the ball in from the left and Ally Love nudged the ball past Rangers goalkeeper Neil Alexander.

Francisco Sandaza replaced Kal Naismith as Rangers chased the equaliser, but the Galabank side doubled their lead after 54 minutes. David Murray sent a deep cross to the far post and David Hopkirk bravely dived to head the ball low beyond Alexander.

Despite Andy Little nodding home his 24th goal of the season to reduce the lead and Lee McCulloch twice being denied an equaliser by good saves from Alex Mitchell, nothing could detract from a wonderful day out for the small pocket of Annan fans.

It was also an incredible first visit to Ibrox for Jim Chapman, who only took over as the manager at Annan in 
January and celebrated an unbelievable first win as manager.

“The players were fantastic,” he said. “They worked very hard and had some breaks, but I thought they deserved the result. Football is all about one-on-ones and I told the players that, if they won their personal battles, they could win the game.

“Ibrox is a fantastic arena and I told the players the scoreboard is for the fans and don’t get excited.

“However, when I looked at the scoreboard and we were leading 2-0 I had to control my emotions. But, although I expected Rangers to be stronger in the second half I have to credit my players who came with a gameplan. Not many teams will come to Ibrox and win, so I’m absolutely delighted.”