Ally McCoist backs banned Aluko

 

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The Independent Football

Rangers manager Ally McCoist has backed Sone Aluko to bounce back after being banned for diving.

Aluko will sit out the next two Clydesdale Bank Premier League games against Hibernian and Inverness after he was found guilty of simulation by the Scottish Football Association's fast track tribunal yesterday.

The winger won a penalty in last weekend's meeting with Dunfermline to help Rangers secure a 2-1 win on what was only his second appearance for the Scottish champions and his Ibrox debut.

He also faced criticism the previous week for being slow to react and inadvertently playing Manuel Pascali onside for the Kilmarnock goal that inflicted a first SPL defeat of the season on the Light Blues.

However, despite his furious response to news of the ban yesterday, McCoist insists both he and the player were able to see the funny side of what has been a turbulent start to Aluko's Rangers career.

He said: "We had a little bit of a laugh about it yesterday, which you probably won't believe.

"It was like 'Welcome to Rangers'. It's been an interesting couple of weeks for him.

"I actually thought he played well down at Kilmarnock but he received a bit of stick for not coming off a post at the goal. Then the Dunfermline incident.

"If he ever needed a reminder of the situation he finds himself in at our club, he's got it quickly.

"He's a lovely lad and, disappointed as he is at yesterday's judgement, he will bounce back from it. He's a smashing lad and he will come back absolutely fine."

McCoist hailed Aluko for making a positive impression in his two performances so far but is confident he will be able to cover for his absence at Easter Road tomorrow.

He added: "The wee fellow, to be fair to him, has probably been our brightest spark in the last game, if not the last two games.

"That's my biggest concern, that we are losing someone who has been very effective for us for the next two games.

"It's something we'll just have to counter and deal with.

"We've got one or two things we can do, one or two plans we can implement and that will be the case for the Hibs game."

McCoist could also be without Kyle Lafferty after the striker suffered a recurrence of a back spasm problem and may have to seek the advice of a specialist.

He said: "It's a recurrence and it's a little bit concerning.

"He got it at Kilmarnock and then trained a couple of days later and played.

"It's not something that's keeping him out long term but it's concerning us enough that we will have to have a look at it next week.

"We will certainly seek medical help for that one."

Meanwhile, McCoist backed midfielder Steven Naismith's declaration of interest in featuring in a Team GB at the Olympics.

The SFA have been vocal in their opposition to their players being involved for fear of losing their independence as a footballing nation.

McCoist said: "I can understand the problems, I would not want to see the end of the Scottish national team, far from it.

"There was nobody prouder to play for their country than me, believe me.

"But in terms of players wanting to represent their country at the Olympics, surely everybody should."

When put to McCoist that he could be seen to be backing a Team GB because he is unhappy with the SFA, the Rangers boss replied: "That's absolute rubbish."

PA

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