Gordon Dalziel haunted by Andrei Kanchelskis showboating
There are certain moments in everyone's lives which, when reflected upon several years later, still have the capacity to make that individual cringe.
When Ayr United host Rangers in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup on Sunday Gordon Dalziel will receive a jarring reminder of a moment he would rather forget, even if he can just about laugh at it now.
As a teenager, he was part of the Rangers side which won the League Cup in 1981, providing John Greig with his fourth and final trophy as their manager.
However, it was when he faced his first senior club as manager of Ayr that an excruciating combination of tragedy and farce left him feeling foolish and not a little hypocritical.
Dick Advocaat’s Rangers had dismantled their First Division opponents in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup in April 2000 and the 7-0 scoreline did not flatter them.
However, it was an ostentatious flourish from Rangers’ flamboyant Russian winger Andrei Kanchelskis which particularly infuriated Dalziel.
Midway through the second period, with Rangers leading 3-0, Kanchelskis played to the gallery, standing on the ball, saluting and then playing a one-two with Claudio Reyna before setting up Billy Dodds for Rangers’ fourth goal.
“That will stick in my mind for a long, long time,” said Dalziel. “Part of me wanted to applaud him and say what a magnificent piece of skill it was – and I don’t think he was being disrespectful.
“At that stage they were so comfortable he just wanted to entertain and sometimes you need a bit of showboating.
“It’s not nice to be on the other end of it, though, and that’s what the other part of me was feeling at the time.
“After the game, I concentrated on [left-back] John Robertson, giving him both barrels in the dressing room, asking him why he didn’t put Kanchelskis into the stand and telling him I’d have thought more of him if he’s battered him.
“Then there was a knock at our door. By this time, steam was coming out of my ears – and who was standing there but your man Kanchelskis, who’s come to swap shirts with my full-back.
“You can imagine my reaction. I gave Robertson pelters, saying how unprofessional that was and going on about how we’d only come to take part and get our souvenirs and how disappointed I was by that.
“I’d been caught up in the occasion and the atmosphere and everything else and my emotions were still running high.
“Unfortunately, there was then another knock on the door and it was our kit man, who said: ‘Gaffer, I’ve got that signed Barry Ferguson top that you asked for.’
“That calmed me down right away. I was a bit embarrassed, to be honest with you. I’d forgotten that I’d arranged that a while before the game and was slaughtering the players for doing the same thing!
“At which point I just told them to have their showers and that I’d see them the next day.”
Dalziel accepts Rangers are the overwhelming favourites to progress to the quarter-finals but claims that he wouldn’t be shocked if Ian McCall’s side confound the bookmakers.
“I’ve seen Ayr play and they’re a good team,” he said. “Ian’s got them well-organised and it’ll be interesting to see how he goes into this tie.
“The big thing is if Ayr can score first because of the lift it would give them and also because they would then have something to hang on to.
“On the other hand, if you lose the first goal in these games then you can often see your players’ heads go down. As much as Rangers have been good on the road, Ayr will feel they have an opportunity here.”
l Gordon Dalziel was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is the proud sponsor of the Scottish Cup.