Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Dean strikes in a real lift for Rangers

Dean Shiels applauds Ibrox fans after his goalscoring performance in League Cup victory over Motherwell

Rangers 2 Motherwell 0: Ally McCoist believes this win over Motherwell in the Scottish Communities League Cup proves Rangers can still compete with the best Scottish football has to offer.

Goals from Lee McCulloch and Northern Ireland’s Dean Shiels secured victory at Ibrox and allowed the Light Blues to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.

The third round tie was the first opportunity for Rangers to face Clydesdale Bank Premier League opposition since being consigned to liquidation in the summer and voted into the Irn-Bru Third Division.

Boss McCoist said: “It was really satisfying. I thought the performance warranted the victory and the two goals were top-class.

“It's a wee indicator to ourselves and the support that we can play against teams from the top of the league and higher up in the divisions but we can't get carried away.

“It's a very small step on what's going to be a long road.

“I make no apologies for telling the supporters that — we've got miles and miles to go.

“But it shows you, in a one-off game, we can compete with anybody.”

Ten SPL clubs voted against newco Rangers' application for entry to the top-flight in July.

But McCoist denied there was additional satisfaction from reminding the SPL of exactly what they are missing as they dumped Motherwell.

He said: “Not at all. I just wanted to win the game tonight to progress into the next round of the cup.

“I was aware of who we were playing and they are top of the SPL and arguably the in-form team in the country at the moment.

“All it did was give us an opportunity to see how we can compete against a team like that at the moment and we did it very well.”

Celtic's own victory against Raith Rovers means the Old Firm rivals could be thrown together in the next round in what would be a highly anticipated encounter.

McCoist said: “That's a completely different game, the Old Firm game.

“It would certainly create a massive amount of interest, not that they don't normally. But, if you can give me a home tie, I would take that against anybody.”

For now, McCoist's focus is on Saturday's away trip to face tiny Forres Mechanics in the second round of the William Hill Scottish Cup.

He said: “We are going up to Forres on Saturday so there will be a big difference on Saturday from tonight.

“As good as the result was, I just hope the players can look at the game and see the reasons for their performance and victory. That's the important thing.

“You can obviously learn things in defeat but you can also learn things in victory.

“There are reasons why we did a lot better tonight and we have to see that on a far more regular and consistent basis.”

The only sour point for Rangers was the sight of Francisco Sandaza being forced out of the action following a clash of heads and he has been rated doubtful for the weekend action after being sent to hospital for an X-ray.

For Motherwell boss Stuart McCall, there was little in the way of positives as his SPL leaders failed to match the high standards they have set for themselves this season.

He said: “I was disappointed with the way we played and performed. I said before the game we would have to be at our best to win this game.

“We didn't get anywhere near the heights we got on Sunday or have done all season.

“If you asked anybody who's watched Rangers all season, they've never played anything like that but it was always going to be the case.

“I was certainly aware of what we would face - it was their biggest game in terms of an SPL club coming here.

“But I look at my own side and we lost too many battles.”

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