Rangers players will be ready for Old Firm game, says McCoist

 

Rangers manager Ally McCoist insists he has no fears about being able to raise his players for next week's Old Firm game despite their dreadful preparation for the clash against Celtic.

The Scottish champions had hoped to strengthen their grasp on top spot in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League ahead of the trip to Parkhead, but instead slumped to a 2-1 defeat at St Mirren on Christmas Eve.

Rangers could also be without Lee McCulloch and Dorin Goian on Wednesday night, after both players were shown red cards against Saints.

However, McCoist is likely to appeal McCulloch's dismissal for violent conduct and, with an appeal hearing unlikely to take place before Thursday, the midfielder could still feature in the derby.

McCoist insists there is no chance of the rest of his players dwelling on what was a miserable day all round for Rangers ahead of the highly-anticipated meeting with the Hoops.

He said: "I can assure you we will be ready for the game, I can guarantee you that.

"It's going to be a tough game but we will be ready and the players won't need lifted for that one because it's a big, big game."

Although disappointed by the two red cards, McCoist believes he has enough options to fill the gap.

He added: "I won't lie to you, it's not ideal. But we've got one or two other things we can do. We've got Kyle Bartley and Kirk Broadfoot and Davie Weir and boys like that.

"As disappointing as it is, and we would rather not have that situation, it's not something that we can't handle."

Rangers were 15 points clear of Celtic on November 5, although Neil Lennon's men were in action the following day and still had two games in hand at that time.

The gap between the Old Firm rivals now sits at just a single point, with the title race impossible to call.

When it was put to McCoist that the momentum is now with Celtic, he said: "The truth of the matter is I would rather be a point ahead than a point behind. Of that there is no doubt.

"I take where you are coming from, Celtic are on a good run of form at the moment in terms of victories. But it counts for absolutely nothing."

Rangers had started positively against St Mirren when Lee Wallace opened the scoring with his first goal for the club.

But McCulloch's red card proved to be a turning point and Saints hit back through goals from Aaron Mooy and Paul McGowan just before half-time.

McCoist said: "I thought we were very comfortable at 1-0 to be honest. In the second half I thought the effort and commitment to go and get an equaliser was there for all to see.

"We had one or two chances where we could have got a deserved equaliser. I don't have any problem with the commitment the boys gave us in the second half.

"One or two decisions we could have made better as players and as a team but in terms of the attitude, no, it was fine."

Buddies boss Danny Lennon admitted the player who sparked their comeback almost did not start the game.

He said: "I had a dilemma prior to the game who to partner up there with big Steven Thompson. I still hadn't really made up my mind between Gary Teale, Nigel Hasselbaink and Mooy.

"Mooy won it on the fact that, if anybody could give me a goal, it was him."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
Sport
Louis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
people
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
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

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot