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Ibrox giants remind Ally McCoist he must hit ground running

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HAVING played under four of the 12 men who preceded him as Rangers manager, Ally McCoist requires no instruction on the weight of responsibility resting on his shoulders as he begins his tenure in earnest today.

But if he ever feels in need of a reminder, then he knows a glance at the portraits on the walls of the office he now occupies at the top of the marble staircase inside Ibrox will be sufficient to sharpen his focus on the demands and expectations he must strive to meet.


McCoist would never claim that the role he inherited from Walter Smith during the summer was his destiny.


On the contrary, he conceded yesterday that he would have been "flabbergasted" if he had been informed during his playing career at the club that one day he would sit in the manager's chair.


Along with the rest of Scottish football, the 48-year-old is about to discover if it is a job in which he can even begin to match the extraordinary success he enjoyed as the most prolific goalscorer in Rangers' 139 year existence, hitting the net 355 times under the management of John Greig, Jock Wallace, Graeme Souness and Smith.


As keen as he was to play down his own part in the opening of the SPL title holders' title defence against Hearts at Ibrox, McCoist did admit to a sense of carrying a torch into his first game in charge.


"I am very much aware of the tradition surrounding the job," said McCoist. "I don't think you could ever underplay the history, tradition and values of Rangers.


"You look around the office and see the pictures of the previous managers looking down at you. In many ways, you feel as if you are representing them as much as anyone.


"I don't see it as an important moment in my career personally, I look upon it as an important step for the club. I spent 15 years as a player here and then four-and-a-half years as assistant manager.


"It has never been any different from my point of view, results have always been the most important thing at Rangers. So that is all I'm interested in, the natural progression of the club and the team.


"I'm not shirking my own responsibility when I say that, far from it. I'm fully aware of the responsibility that goes with being the manager of Rangers. That's not a problem, I'm not going into anything here that I don't know.


"You would have to say that the weight of responsibility is bigger as manager than as a player. If you asked me what I'd rather be doing, then scoring goals for Rangers is the best job in the world.


"Wearing the number nine jersey for Rangers takes a bit of beating. Right now, I've probably got the second best job in the world as far as I'm concerned. I know what is expected and I have a great desire to do the job to the best of my ability.


"My emotion going into this game is the same as it's always been during my time at Rangers. I just want to win, that's all I want to do. The day is not about me, it is all about the players. There is always a danger on these occasions that the real values of them are lost.


"There will be the unfurling of the league flag, which will be a fantastic moment and thoroughly deserved for both the fans and the players. But once that's done, it's down to business as usual. We have to go our and win a very tough game against Hearts."


Having seen Greig, the man who signed him for the club back in 1983, fail as manager despite his status as the club's most revered player, McCoist knows his own iconic status with the Rangers support provides no guarantee of success in the hot seat.


"Can I be a successful manager?," he mused. "Time will tell. I can't answer that right now.


"But what I can say is that I will be as committed to the job as I was as a Rangers player and as assistant manager. That's all I can promise.


"I never expected to be a manager. But right at the end of my playing career, I started to do my coaching badges which was one of my better decisions. Even when I went into television work after I stopped playing, I continued doing my badges.


"With hindsight, that was one of my better career moves as it certainly cut out a lot of time when I later decided I fancied going into coaching.


"I probably couldn't have done this job without the experience I had under Walter Smith at Scotland and Rangers, although we'll never know. But the learning curve I've been on and the help I've had in that time has been invaluable."


It is believed Smith will stay away from Ibrox today, keen to avoid providing any level of distraction from his appointed heir. Smith's success in winning the last three SPL titles has given McCoist more than enough to live up to without the presence of his mentor as a further reminder.


"A lot of people say the best time to take a job in management is when a club is at a low point because things can only improve," reflected McCoist. "But you don't get many opportunities to be manager of Rangers. You just have to look at those names who have done it before me.


"I'm thankful I've been given the opportunity. Off the top of my head, I'd say it's actually an advantage to take over a team which has won three in a row.


"The boys have been over the course and knows what it takes to win the championship. I'd far rather have a squad which knows how to win titles and that's what I've got."



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I cant think of any manager, never mind a manager of Rangers FC taking on such as Mr McCoist has landed on his plate, following in the footsteps of arguably 'Rangers Greatest Manager Of All Time' the trophy laden Walter Smith.

Is Mr McCoist up to it? Well...only time will tell. He will always be a hero in the hearts of everything and anything that is Rangers, that will never be erased so long as Rangers FC are in existence. If he can take his position as an Ibrox legend onto yet another level, never before in terms of managing the club itself to the same degree of success as a player, then that will be so unique.

All supporters of our truly great club will unite behind the man now charged with the most difficult and most demanding job in world football, maybe somebody out there will say there are more difficult and demanding positions in the game, but for the life of me I cant think of one.


Good luck Ally, we are all behind you.

Edited by 54andcounting
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If Super Ally is half as good a manager as he was a player then I'm sure he will do just fine. One thing you need in management is a bit of luck. Coisty carried quite a bit of it through his playing career so lets hope it continues into his management career.

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Guest Dutchy

Oh well, I'm sure one game won't make that much of a diffirence, against a fired up Jambo side hoping to cash in on the slightest uncertaintly in the home camp.


Just get us into the 3rd qualifier Ally.

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If he goes on to be the greatest manager we have ever had or the worst he will still be Super Ally a rangers legend and he deserves all the respect that goes with it. Some people need to remember that, because I am starting to get the feeling amongst some who call themselves rangers fans that they would love to see him fall flat on his face.

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