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Avoiding Celts boosts Gers title tilt: Ally McCoist

By Andy Newport

Rangers manager Ally McCoist admits he is relieved to have avoided Celtic in the League Cup quarter-finals – because he can live without the hype of an Old Firm build-up.

The Ibrox side landed Tommy Wright's St Johnstone at home next month, while the Hoops were given a Parkhead clash with Partick Thistle.

But while many fans were clambering to see the country's two biggest clubs paired together, McCoist can now put the Saints tie to the back of his mind and concentrate on the Championship title race with Hearts.

However, the Light Blues boss knows that would have been impossible had his side been pulled out of the hat alongside their old rivals.

"We said if we could get a home tie we would take it and we've got that against a side which, on its day, is capable of giving anybody a game," said McCoist.

"St Johnstone are a really solid, hard-working team which ended up winning the Scottish Cup quite comfortably last season.

"As much as we're pleased with the draw, we're certainly not underestimating the task ahead.

"We certainly weren't pining for an Old Firm game.

"It's going to be a tough game against St Johnstone. It's one which can hopefully be put on the back burner a little bit.

"We'll certainly be doing that because we've got some tough league games to concentrate on before we concentrate our thoughts on the League Cup."

Meanwhile, McCoist revealed doctors have given Cammy Bell the thumbs up after shoulder surgery. The keeper is due for a Christmas comeback.

Lewis Macleod could return against Hibernian at Ibrox on Monday after missing the 3-1 win over Falkirk with an ankle injury.

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