Football: Double strike from rejuvenated McCoist sets up Old Firm semi-final

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The Independent Online
Dundee 1 Rangers 2

ALLY MCCOIST gave the Rangers fans a demonstration of his deadly finishing skills as he helped his side into the semi- finals of the Tennent's Scottish Cup and a meeting with Celtic.

McCoist, who has missed most of the season for a variety of reasons, showed with two touches that he cannot yet be discounted either for Rangers in the title run-in or for the Scotland squad for the World Cup finals in France this summer.

His goals, in each half, gave Rangers a win when their overall performance was hardly of the vintage variety, but it might yet prove to be a victory which does enough to restore confidence for the remaining eight League games.

Once again Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, was forced into making changes, but he had the consolation of a return to action for Richard Gough and Stuart McCall.

As early as the fourth minute McCoist backheeled the ball into the path of Marco Negri, an indication that Rangers had gone into this Cup tie with confidence. Yet the now familiar frailty in defence was exposed after 10 minutes, Gough's short back-pass allowing Steve McCormick the chance to get a touch before Andy Goram.

Gough's attempted clearance of the loose ball fell to Darren Magee, whose shot hit the prone McCormick and gave James Grady the chance to shoot into the corner of the net from six yards.

Rangers replied in the 18th minute through McCoist. Merely the chance of a World Cup place has injected new life into the 35-year-old's legs and he moved quickly to send a header into the corner of the net as a long throw-in was flicked on by Gough.

Rangers thereafter failed to stamp any authority on the match and might have conceded a second goal two minutes before the break when Grady was set free with a quickly taken free-kick, but his angled run on goal ended with a complete miskick.

Grady, who had taken a knock, failed to reappear after the interval. His absence certainly blunted the home side's attack and there was a further blow for Dundee 12 minutes into the second half. A free-kick at the edge of the penalty area was set up by Ian Durrant and McCall for McCoist to put Rangers ahead with a powerful shot.

Dundee (3-5-2): Douglas; Irvine, Smith, Raeside; Adamczuk, Anderson (Rogers, 65), Magee, McInally, Maddison (Tully, 78); McCormick, Grady (Annand, h-t).

Rangers (3-5-2): Goram; Petric, Gough, Moore; Cleland, McCall, Durrant, Gattuso, Vidmar; McCoist, Negri. Substitutes not used: Johansson, McInnes, B Ferguson.

Referee: J McCluskey (Stewarton).