Celtic v Rangers

McCoist: No repeat of capitulation

March 2, 2011

Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist insists their 3-0 defeat against Celtic ten days ago could prove to be a blessing in disguise as they prepare to take on their rivals again.

Celtic celebrate a massive victory at Ibrox
PA PhotosCeltic thrashed Rangers 3-0 at Parkhead just ten days ago

Rangers were beaten emphatically in a one-sided Old Firm game which moved Celtic eight points clear in the Scottish Premier League.

But Rangers have since enjoyed a Europa League triumph against Sporting Lisbon and a 4-0 win over St Johnstone, which reduced the gap back to five points with the Ibrox club still having two games in hand.

Those results followed some tough talking from manager Walter Smith, who issued new guidelines to his players on nights out and the use of social networking websites.

Rangers now have the chance to redeem themselves when they face Celtic at Parkhead tonight in the fifth of seven derbies this season, with a Scottish Cup quarter-final at Inverness awaiting the winners.

And McCoist does not think it is unreasonable to suggest their 3-0 loss to Celtic could turn out to be one of their best results of the season.

"A lot of people might say that's daft but I actually think it's a very valid point,'' McCoist said. "It was far better that result and the way we played than getting beat 1-0 and being unlucky. "Because if you get beat 1-0 and are unlucky you can maybe paper over cracks and kid yourself on. After that performance, there was no kidding ourselves on. The boys knew it and we knew it and hopefully it's lesson learned.

"We can play miles better than that. We feel, as disappointing as we were, we had chances to score and should have had a penalty. But Celtic ran out thoroughly deserved winners.''

And Steven Whittaker echoed the sentiments of McCoist, who will become his manager at Ibrox when he replaces Walter Smith at the end of the season.

"Sometimes that can happen in a season,'' Whittaker said. "You're going along going through the motions and get a bit of a wake-up call. Hopefully that will be ours.

"We obviously bounced back in Europe and we can hopefully take the highs from that and finish the season strongly.''