Rangers’ McCulloch praises Bilel Mohsni’s fight

Rangers defender Bilel Mohsni. Picture: SNS
Rangers defender Bilel Mohsni. Picture: SNS
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Rangers captain Lee McCulloch admits he sometimes finds himself in the unfamiliar position of calming someone else down when he plays alongside Bilel Mohsni.

But McCulloch believes his central defensive partner’s fiery nature is more of an asset than a liability.

Mohsni was shown a second yellow card after the final whistle of the Scottish League One leaders’ 1-0 win at Airdrie on Thursday for acting aggressively towards Diamonds boss Gary Bollan.

The former Southend player had been booked for an off-the-ball clash with Airdrie striker Jim Lister and reacted angrily to challenges on several other occasions.

McCulloch told his club’s official website: “Out of all the people in the world I have to calm him down.

“I can get a wee bit fiery myself but you have to take the sensible approach when you see big Bilel getting a wee bit uptight or agitated.

“I pull him to the side and to be fair he does listen. He’s brilliant that way and he really is a model pro.

“It’s just about managing his fieriness but you don’t want to take it all away from him because you lose a bit of the player. But he’s a pleasure to work with and he’s a gentleman of a guy.”

Mohsni is now suspended for Rangers’ League One clash against Stenhousemuir at Ochilview on Sunday.

McCulloch added: “Bilel and I have been lucky enough to get a few clean sheets this season and some of the goals that have been scored against us have been unbelievable finishes.

“One was an overhead kick and another was from outside the box right into the opposite top corner.

“Goals like that you can’t do anything about.

“So I think we’ve been doing well and he’ll be a big loss but we have a couple of players who can come in at centre half with big Emilson (Cribari) and Seb Faure as well.

“So Bilel will be missed but we have more than enough cover.”

Rangers beat Stenhousemuir 8-0 at Ibrox in the league but needed a solitary Jon Daly goal to win at Ochilview in a cup tie.

McCulloch said: “It’s a game we are looking forward to but it’s always hard going to Ochilview.

“We had the Ramsdens Cup semi-final up there and they made it really difficult for us. It was a pretty open game and the pitch isn’t the best. It’s like concrete and it is fast so passing needs to be accurate, sharp and you need to try and get the ball down and play.

“Hopefully we can get an early goal and go on from there but it’s just all about trying to get the three points to keep the gap above Dunfermline.”

Lewis MacLeod (calf) and Steven Smith (ankle) face fitness tests while David Templeton (thigh) will miss out again but striker Nicky Clark is expected to shake off a knock.