McCoist hat-trick as Rangers run riot

Alania Vladikavkaz 2 Rangers 7 (Rangers win 10-3 on aggregate)
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The Independent Online
Rangers produced a stunning display in Vladikavkaz yesterday to qualify for the Champions' League. Ally McCoist scored his first hat-trick in Europe inside the opening 18 minutes and Brian Laudrup netted twice, with Peter Van Vossen and Charlie Miller adding one apiece as the highly rated Russian champions were swept aside in the second leg of the European Cup qualifying round.

This extraordinary 10-3 aggregate win in remote southern Russia - just 40 miles from the border with the war-torn Chechen Republic - took Rangers through to the group stages for the third time in five years. McCoist struck after only 33 seconds and then again in the 13th and 18th minutes to become the first Ibrox player to score a hat-trick in Europe for 10 years, and raise his European goal tally to 16.

Vladikavkaz struck back through Igor Yanovski just after McCoist's second goal, and Nazim Suleimanov converted a penalty after the veteran striker had completed his hat-trick, but after that the hapless Russians were swept aside.

"I would say it's my best result in my management. It's not as if they were not a good team," Walter Smith, a happy Rangers manager, said. "Vladikavkaz have pushed Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool close in European competition in recent years, and I expected it might be the same."

As police held back angry supporters outside the ground, Valeri Gazzeyev, the Vladikavkaz coach, was full of praise for Rangers: "They are a good side with some very good players, and they can do well in the Champions' League."

Alania Vladikavkaz: Khapov; Revishvili, Timoteyev, Sheliya, Vzhioev, Tetradze, Tedeyev (Agaev 27), Yanovski, Kornienko (Skish, 78), Kanishev, Suleimanov, Agaev (Derkavh, 57).

Rangers: Goram; Cleland, Albertz, Gough, Petric, Bjorklund, McCall, McInnes (Durrant, 84), McCoist (Durie, 75), Van Vossen (Miller, 67), Laudrup.

Referee: U Meier (Switzerland).