Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Rangers praise Diouf for staying cool in heat of battle

Rangers' El-Hadji Diouf challenges Celtic's Daniel Majstorovic during the Scottish Cup Fifth Round match at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow.

Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist was thrilled El-Hadji Diouf did not react to taunting during the white-hot atmosphere of Sunday's Old Firm derby at Ibrox.

The on-loan Blackburn forward made his first start for the Scottish champions against Celtic and came through the match without too much controversy despite some attention from Scott Brown.

The Hoops skipper was booked for celebrating in Diouf's face after netting the equaliser as the fifth round Scottish Cup tie ended in a 2-2 draw.

Diouf — who famously spat on a Celtic fan in 2003 — claimed Brown taunted him throughout the game but said he was determined not to react to the provocation — an attitude which was welcomed by McCoist.

He said: “I thought he was terrific. There were one or two incidents where maybe people were trying to wind him up, which we expected.

“The Celtic crowd were trying to wind him up a bit and I thought our fans got behind him tremendously well.

“He's a good player and that's why we have, thankfully, got him. He handles situations like that and he handled it in this game.

“I thought he handled the situation well and we are pleased he came through it fine.”

McCoist was also happy with the efforts of Nikica Jelavic, who has recently returned to action after almost four months on the sidelines through injury.

McCoist added: “He is still not firing 100% but Jelavic, as you can see, is a good player. He leads the line well and he does some great things.”