Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

McCoist would prefer that Rangers players weren’t twits

Ally McCoist admitted the Rangers players had been reminded of their responsibilities on and off the pitch as they look to atone for their recent Parkhead defeat.

Rangers manager Walter Smith summoned his squad to a meeting the day after a one-sided 3-0 defeat at Celtic Park, which left them eight points behind in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

The players were given guidelines on looking after themselves off the park and not getting involved in disputes with their Old Firm rivals on social network websites. The reaction has been instant with a morale-boosting Europa League success against Sporting Lisbon followed by a 4-0 win over St Johnstone, which cut the gap on Celtic back to five points following their defeat at Motherwell.

And the redemption will be complete if Rangers turn the tables at Celtic Park tonight in their Scottish Cup fifth-round replay.

Assistant manager McCoist said: “We just had a chat. It was a little bit worrying the way we performed and passed the ball.

“Everybody had an opinion. I have been in a lot more hostile meetings, let me tell you. Sometimes it's nice to have a reminder before it's too late. They are an intelligent group of players and know what's expected of them both on and off the park.

“I think you have got to allow the players a little bit of freedom to express themselves and be their own people. Hopefully that will continue. They have certainly played a lot better than we did on that Sunday, I don't think there's any doubt about that.

“There are still bits and pieces in both games where we could do better but in terms of the reaction and the results it couldn't have gone any better.” McCoist rejected suggestions that he and his former Ibrox team-mates indulged in regular drinking sessions during their 1990s glory days. “There was a bit of a myth about that, I have spoken about it before,” he said.

“The one thing we did as a team, we knew when to play football and we knew how to prepare and we did that.” McCoist added: “The most important thing, if the club is successful, they will have plenty of time to enjoy themselves.

“I'm not a Twitter man myself or a Facebook man, maybe that's an age thing.

“Why wind people up when you don't need to? That's my opinion, there is certainly enough coverage in the media.”

Celtic boss Neil Lennon refused to shake the hand of Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty earlier this season because he felt the Kesh man gloated on Twitter after Rangers won 3-1 at Celtic Park.