Boyd backed to end poor Old Firm run

Rangers striker has the confidence to finally shine against Celtic, says McCoist
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The Independent Football

Ally McCoist, the Rangers assistant manager, has said striker Kris Boyd can end his Celtic jinx with a goal in Saturday's Old Firm derby.

Boyd is on a fine run at the moment, recently claiming his 100th goal for Rangers before bringing his tally for the season to 30 last Sunday. But one complaint levelled against him is his inability to find the back of the net against Celtic. He has scored just once in 18 appearances against the Hoops – two years ago – but McCoist has predicted Boyd will be on target at Ibrox on Saturday.

He said: "Kris is a man with a lot of confidence at the moment and his total against Celtic is just a statistic. We all know Boydy can score against anybody. He has scored at international level and in European competitions as well as in domestic games so there is no doubting what he can do. I really hope this is a game that is set up for him," McCoist added. "When you look at the strikers and some of the things that are written in the stars for them, I hope this is one of them.

"Kris has had a terrific season and it was a wonderful achievement for him to reach 100 goals for the club recently. So early in his Rangers career, I hope it's the first hundred of many. You never know what could happen. I certainly wish him luck with that. People earn their luck and if Boydy were to get the winner this weekend against Celtic, nobody would be more pleased than me. And I include Kris in that."

Celtic head into the final Old Firm derby of the season with a single-point advantage at the summit of the Scottish Premier League. McCoist said: "This is a massive game and it goes without saying that that's the case. It always is when the Old Firm meet. It's vitally important with regards to the destination of the title that we pick up points in this one.

"The derbies are always huge and it's difficult to rank them in any sort of order but this one is going to be about as vital as they come."

The former Rangers central defender Richard Gough believes his old club have to win the title this season to prevent Celtic dominating the Scottish game. Gough played 427 times for Rangers and captained them during their nine-in-a-row title campaigns in the 1980s and 1990s, returning for another season at Ibrox after a spell in America.

He believes there are parallels to be drawn between Rangers' dominance in the 1990s and a possible stranglehold Celtic could have over the next few years.

"From my side of the fence, I hope Celtic don't win the league," Gough said. "It could go in to something like when we were winning our fourth, fifth and sixth championships. We were a lot stronger than Celtic financially during those years and I remember they had a barren two or three years when they did not have the quality of players that Celtic should have had.

"You hope that doesn't happen [in Celtic's favour] but it could well happen. If Celtic got stronger financially and Rangers couldn't afford to get the players that they need, it could be a problem.

"So it's probably a lot more important for Rangers to win the championship than Celtic. If they can get through to the Champions League outright then that takes a lot of pressure off them. It will enable Walter Smith to get better players in for next season." Gough believes his former club are good enough to win their last four SPL games to take the title and also the Scottish Cup final against Falkirk at the end of the month.

"I think Rangers will be very much up for the game," he said. "I know Walter Smith so well and I know what he will be saying, 'Win five games and you have won the double'." It's as simple as that. I think they can win them and, as usual, the [Celtic] game will be settled by a mistake or a flash of brilliance."