Rangers players will be ready for Old Firm game, says McCoist
Sunday 25 December 2011
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."
Latest in Sport
Phil Hughes dead: List of players who have tragically died on the cricket pitch
Nani transfer: No future for winger at Sporting Lisbon as club cannot afford his wages when loan deal with Manchester United runs out
This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Mario Balotelli is playing badly at Liverpool because he misses his daughter, says agent
Tottenham Hotspur vs Partizan Belgrade match report: Spurs go through in Europa League - but pitch invaders grab the attention
- 1 Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he'd killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Ed Miliband's 'north London set' must be demolished to save Labour, say critics