Ally McCoist hits at off-field politics as Rangers lose 2-1 to Hearts

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The Independent Football

Ally McCoist claims the “sideshow” at Rangers is beginning to affect some players as he surveyed the 2-1 opening-day defeat to Championship rivals Hearts at Ibrox.

The most recent development in the seemingly endless Govan saga involving finances and power came on Friday when former chief executive Charles Green re-emerged to claim he has investors ready to stabilise the club financially.

Gers fans subsequently threatened a formal boycott if Green returns but there were 43,683 at Ibrox on a momentous day for the Light Blues as the Rangers captain,  Lee McCulloch, unfurled the First Division title flag before the Govan Stand was officially renamed the Sandy Jardine Stand in memory of the former Scotland player who had served both clubs with distinction, before passing away in April after a long battle with cancer.

However, it all went wrong for Rangers. Former Light Blues’ defender Danny Wilson opened the scoring in the 52nd minute with a header from a Billy King corner and although Gers midfielder Nicky Law levelled as the game edged into six added minutes, Swedish striker Osman Sow grabbed a dramatic winner for Hearts seconds later.

The one downside on a good day for Hearts was a cheekbone injury to their goalkeeper Neil Alexander, who was carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital after clashing with his own defender Alim Ozturk.

After the match, McCoist was asked about the prospect of Green returning to the club in any sort of capacity. “Whether he comes back or not remains to be seen,” he said. “I thought the timing of it again... it is a big day for the players, a big day for the supporters and even bigger day for Sandy Jardine’s family. I just didn’t think the timing of it was great.

“For the first time, one or two of the players actually said to me about the timing of all that kind of stuff.

“Everybody does their level best to keep players sheltered and away from it and we will continue to do that because they have to concentrate on results on the park. Sometimes it is a little bit of a sideshow we can do without,” McCoist added.

Dundee United overcame an Aberdeen side still tired from their midweek Europa League exertions to move top of the Scottish Premiership table.

Goals from Ryan Dow, Gary Mackay-Steven and Chris Erskine sealed all three points for McNamara’s men as the Terrors triumphed 3-0 at Pittodrie.

Afterwards the Dons’ manager, Derek McInnes, said: “I take my share of responsibility for the result. I should maybe have made more changes to the starting line-up.

St Johnstone put the disappointment of their midweek elimination from the Europa League behind them by defeating Ross County 2-1 in their SPFL opener.

They went 2-0 up with goals either side of the interval from Michael O’Halloran and Steven MacLean. Jake Jervis pulled one back for County before the hour with a bullet header but Saints held on.

Ross can count themselves unlucky not to take anything from the match after having a lot of possession.