Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football Scottish

McCoist looks to Old Firm oldies

Ally McCoist believes not signing any new players in January could actually give Rangers the edge in this weekend's crunch Old Firm derby.

The Ibrox side failed to add a single new face to the squad during the last transfer window, while witnessing the departure of Pedro Mendes to Sporting Lisbon and the end of Jerome Rothen's ill-fated loan spell.

In stark contrast, rivals Celtic recruited the services of eight new players, including the much-hyped arrival of Robbie Keane on loan from Tottenham until the end of the season.

But while those players have yet to experience the white-hot atmosphere of an Old Firm match, Rangers' own players know exactly what to expect.

And McCoist hopes that the form and experience of the likes of Northern Ireland midfielder Steven Davis, David Weir and Steven Whittaker could make all the difference in Sunday's showdown at Ibrox.

“I would go along with the theory that us not bringing players in last month means the guys we have here know what the game is all about already,” said the assistant manager.

“With that said, as soon as the first whistle goes on Sunday, Celtic's players will quickly find out what it is like. A very positive way of looking at things is that we've got a good, tight squad. They're a closely-knit group who are very aware of what this game means.

“They've been over the course together many times before and that's a very important factor.

“This match at the weekend certainly won't spring any surprises for them because they've been involved in a good few derbies now and have known about them for years.”

Victory for Rangers would allow them to restore their 10-point advantage at the summit of the SPL, with a game in hand to be played at St Johnstone.

McCoist knows that would not necessarily mean the title race is over, but he does concede that a comeback from their bitter rivals would be unlikely.

He added: “With the way the league campaign has gone so far and how things are looking just now, people are saying Celtic have to win this game.

“At the same time, you have to look at the situation from our point of view and, if we can win this game, it would put a serious dent in their championship hopes. We certainly wouldn't win anything at this stage but you'd have to say it would put a real dampener on things for them.

“That's the way we have to look at it. We just have to go into the game with a really positive attitude and a belief we can take three points. If we can do that, hopefully it can take us a step nearer to winning the championship. Nothing would be finished if we got a victory, absolutely nothing, but let's not kid ourselves on, it would be a massive three points.”

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph