Ally McCoist: Ibrox crowd will be key to Rangers getting a result against Liverpool in Champions League

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The Light Blues all-time record goal scorer is expecting another immensely tough challenge from Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Rangers legend Ally McCoist believes if his former club are to have any chance of pulling off a shock result against Liverpool in the Champions League tonight then the Ibrox crowd will have to play a pivotal role.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side head into the second ‘Battle of Britain’ instalment sitting bottom of Group A with three defeats from their opening three games, while they have yet to score a goal in the competition.

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The Light Blues boss has hinted he will adopt a “different approach” to the way he set his team up at Anfield last week, with the Dutchman reverting to a back five from the outset in a one-sided encounter.

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst speaks to the press ahead of facing Liverpool.Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst speaks to the press ahead of facing Liverpool.
Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst speaks to the press ahead of facing Liverpool.

McCoist is adamant Rangers must get off to a fast start and reckons the backing of another sell-out crowd inside the stadium could boost their chances of remaining in the Champions League.

Speaking at the launch of William Hill’s newly transformed, state-of-the-art shop on Gordon Street in Glasgow, McCoist said: “The Ibrox crowd alone won’t be enough to get Rangers over the line, but it’s got to be a big thing.

“I’ll tell you why I think it’s got to be a big thing… The Rangers players have got to come out the traps against Liverpool and get the crowd going.

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“The crowd will be going, don’t worry about that, but it’s not so much to get into the minds of the Liverpool players, because all Liverpool players are seasoned professionals and they’ll handle it fine and if anything they’ll enjoy the experience, but it’s for the whole package. It’s for the Rangers team to keep going.

“The crowd and the team have got a job to do on Wednesday night and that’s to keep the noise level and atmosphere as high as they possibly can. And Rangers have got to come out of the traps against, make no mistake here, an excellent team.

“We could be sitting here talking about Liverpool beating Arsenal over the weekend but for two penalty decisions. Liverpool could have won that game, they’d have been very fortunate to win the game, but they could have won it.

“This Liverpool side haven’t started as well as we all expected them to but they’re a top team though.”

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McCoist labelled Rangers three performances in the group stages so far “average” but despite their recent struggles, he is optimitic the club are on the right path to return to the level of being competitive on Europe’s elite stage.

He stated: “The performances within the group stages so far have been average. It was cruel losing in Amsterdam to Ajax, much better at home against Napoli – for an hour there was nothing in it until the sending off affected the game – and I thought Rangers were well beaten at Anfield.

Ally McCoist, TV Pundit is seen prior to a UEFA Champions League match at Ibrox StadiumAlly McCoist, TV Pundit is seen prior to a UEFA Champions League match at Ibrox Stadium
Ally McCoist, TV Pundit is seen prior to a UEFA Champions League match at Ibrox Stadium | Getty Images

“I think they’ve kind of found their level a little bit and realised, if there was any doubt before, and I don’t think there was, that the step up to this level has been pretty evident and there for everyone to see.

“Of course it’s going to be really difficult. However, you’ve got to hope, you’ve got to attempt to achieve, you’ve got to aspire to be back there and be able to compete at that level.

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“By doing that, by regularly getting into the group stages, more finances become available and you obviously can attract a better standard of player and that bridges the gap.

“It’s all another learning curve, especially given where Rangers were ten years ago… So if you take a step back and say ‘this is unbelievable’, as it is unbelievable, but at the same time, you’ve got to want to keep on improving, you’ve got to keep meeting the challenge head-on, and I don’t see why Rangers, and Celtic, can’t do that.”

James Milner of Liverpool and James Tavernier of Rangers during the UEFA Champions League group A match at Anfield James Milner of Liverpool and James Tavernier of Rangers during the UEFA Champions League group A match at Anfield
James Milner of Liverpool and James Tavernier of Rangers during the UEFA Champions League group A match at Anfield | Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Dropping down into the Europa League could well be Rangers’ more realistic path of success in Europe this season, but McCoist is unsure whether they’d be able to go one better than last season’s final defeat and win the competition.

He added: “It’s a big ask. Last year was unbelievable, it really was. It was an incredible achievement for Rangers to get into the final and being penalty kicks away from winning it.

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“I thought it was absolutely unbelievable. But what I said beforehand, it’s not no chance of winning it this season, but it’s a very, very little chance I would say right now. However, they’ve improved from last year, they’ve improved from 2008, so you just never know.”

McCoist also touched on the current form of Rangers striker Antonio Colak, who he feels has really impressed since joining the club in the summer from PAOK.

Rangers striker Antonio Colak celebrates scoring the opener in the 4-0 win over St Mirren at Ibrox. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)Rangers striker Antonio Colak celebrates scoring the opener in the 4-0 win over St Mirren at Ibrox. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Rangers striker Antonio Colak celebrates scoring the opener in the 4-0 win over St Mirren at Ibrox. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The Croatian’s double against St Mirren at the weekend was his third such haul in as many Premiership games and took him on to the 10 mark for league goals, ensuring he reached double figures in the fewest number of top-flight matches since Rangers were promoted back to the set-up at the end of season 2015/16.

McCoist admitted: “He’s been very impressive. You always hope, particularly as a forward moving to a new club, he can hit the ground running in terms of goals, to get him up and running confidence-wise, and that’s certainly been the case.

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“And they’ve been very important goals too. He scored a goal in Holland against PSV Eindhoven to qualify for the Champions League, that’s what I like about him. Not only is he scoring goals, he’s scoring important goals.”

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