McCoist delighted by fixture pile-up

The Rangers assistant manager, Ally McCoist, has dismissed fears of burnout as the club step up their chase for four trophies by insisting: "This is where you want to be, this is what it's all about."

Yesterday, the team were preparing to fly to Germany for tomorrow's Uefa Cup last 16 second leg with Werder Bremen, when they will start with a 2-0 lead from the first leg. After they return, on Friday they will go straight into preparations for Sunday's CIS Insurance Cup final against Dundee United at Hampden. Then, next Wednesday, they take on Partick for a place in the Scottish Cup semi-finals.

The hectic run of fixtures will only briefly relent when Scotland meet Croatia at the national stadium on 26 March, but there will almost certainly be Rangers players on duty in that game too.

There are three Old Firm matches in the league to fit in before the end of the season, but McCoist would far rather be involved on all four fronts than relying on one or two competitions to bring Rangers success.

"Brilliant, isn't it?" he said. "A lot of people say, 'Are the amount of games worrying you... the pitches, the backlog, the tired players?' No, this is where you want to be, this is what you want to do.

"You only play these amount of games if you're doing reasonably well in all competitions. But it's now getting to the business end of the season and we want to start winning things.

"The boys have performed very, very well to get to this stage, but as yet we haven't won a thing. So it's a very important, testing time coming up."

Rangers, who also lead the Scottish Premier League, will start as firm favourites in the League Cup showpiece against United at the weekend.

But Europe could be the toughest test for Walter Smith's side, and McCoist warned that the two-goal lead from last Thursday's Ibrox tie with Bremen could be whittled away.

He is eager to summon up a performance as gritty as Rangers put in against Red Star Belgrade in August, when a goalless draw in Serbia after a 1-0 win at Ibrox secured a lucrative place in the Champions League group stages.

A similar outcome tomorrow would nudge Rangers closer to their second European trophy, 36 years since their European Cup-Winners' Cup triumph in Barcelona.

McCoist saw Bremen lose heavily at the weekend, to Stuttgart, but was not swayed from his belief that the Bundesliga's second-placed side are top-quality opponents. McCoist said: "A lot of the public maybe think the tie is effectively over because it's a great result at home against Werder Bremen. But, believe me, I watched Werder Bremen at the weekend against Stuttgart [who] beat them 6-3 and – I'm deadly serious – it could have been 8-6 or 8-7. That was the way the two teams played the game. On the one hand, it's nice to know they can concede goals and we have players who can score goals against them.

"They've got a big side, a strong side. They remind me a bit of a British side. They have the little lad [Diego] in the middle of the park who's a tremendous playmaker, they've got Naldo and [Per] Mertesacker, and [Hugo] Almeida up front.

"They're big, big lads, and the two boys at the back [Naldo and Mertesacker] will come up for throw-ins, set pieces and corner-kicks. So we know they're going to put us under some amount of pressure, but we've just got to stand up.

"We had a game earlier on in the Champions League against Red Star Belgrade which was maybe a little bit the same. We won the first game 1-0 and we had to go over to Belgrade and defend.

"So a performance like that, equal to that, will definitely be required."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Suited and booted in the Lanvin show at the Paris menswear collections
fashionParis Fashion Week
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
An asteroid is set to pass so close to Earth it will be visible with binoculars
news
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project