Scottish Football: McCoist scare for Rangers

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The Independent Online
A CALF INJURY sustained in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Dundee at Dens Park has put a doubt over Ally McCoist's involvement in Saturday's Old Firm game at Ibrox Park.

The news is likely to give Rangers fans considerable reason for apprehension. McCoist, the scorer of 34 goals this season and Rangers' top scorer of all time, has scored against Celtic in every one of the 10 seasons he has been with the Ibrox club since joining them from Sunderland in 1983.

Before departing the action, he had treated the blue and white legions to a familiar sight, scoring Rangers' first goal after just seven minutes. The job was completed by Mark Hateley with two more goals, to end the year on a high note. Simon Stainrod, Dundee's player-manager, scored his side's only goal.

Rangers' record of just two defeats in 1992 highlights the difficulty facing those who desire to take the championship title away from Ibrox. Undaunted, Aberdeen kept themselves in the race with an important 2-0 win at Motherwell in the kind of game which has been their downfall in the past, with points being dropped all too easily. It was neither the time nor the place to play pretty football, but to roll up the sleeves and turn out the kind of result with which championships are won.

In victory, the Dons supplied a rich dressing for modest fare with two well-worked goals, from Brian Irvine and Eoin Jess, in a largely uneventful match.

While Rangers and Aberdeen continued to forge ahead on their own, Celtic face a gloomy new year after a 1-0 defeat at home to Dundee United, for whom the lanky Duncan Ferguson headed the winner just before the break and Alan Main had an excellent game in goal.

For the Parkhead club, almost four years have passed without a major trophy. Once again, the words Celtic and crisis are being used in the same sentence. They trail Rangers by eight points and have played two games more than their rivals. Victory at Ibrox on Saturday would be no more than a minor success in the long run - and it would benefit Aberdeen more than the men in green and white.

While Celtic bemoan their fortunes, Heart of Midlothian are off the pace after dropping a point against Partick Thistle at Tynecastle, where the home side could not follow up last week's fine win over Celtic.

In the First Division, the leaders, Raith Rovers, were held at home by Ayr; while second-placed Kilmarnock were beaten at home by Dunfermline, who stay in the promotion race in fourth place.