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McCoist hoping Oz trip can bring Rangers together

Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist feels their pre-season trip to Australia can help harness the spirit that led them to the title last season

McCoist believes that a trip to Germany at this stage last year proved an important base for Rangers to retain the Clydesdale Bank Premier League trophy despite being unable to add to their squad.

Manager Walter Smith has not purchased a player since August 2008 and his squad has been weakened this summer by the departures of six players, including Scotland pair Kris Boyd and Kevin Thomson.

But McCoist feels the togetherness and hunger in the squad can help them defy the odds again in the coming campaign.

“It's an important thing in pre-season to get yourselves away to a good training camp with good facilities,” he said.

“As much as anything, the change of scenery gives the players a real opportunity to bond and click as a unit.

“The players will agree with me when I say that last year, one of our strongest points was the spirit the lads had.

“Within their own camp and their squad, there was a strength and desire that I hadn't seen for a long, long time. I would never underestimate how much value there was in us going away and building that harmony.

“Hopefully being abroad as a group again works for us in the same way.”

Rangers face Blackburn in their first match in the Sydney Festival of Football tomorrow before taking on the hosts and AEK Athens.

And forward Steven Naismith revealed a winning mentality would ensure they took their pre-season task seriously.

Naismith said: “We definitely want to win the event and we haven't travelled halfway around the world just to make the numbers up.

“At a club such as Rangers, there is always pressure on you to deliver and we would love to win every game in Australia.

“There are a lot of younger boys in the squad who will be out to impress and from that point of view, it increases the competition.”

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