McCoist breathes easy after Rangers escape

March 11, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

Japan’s midfielder Homare Sawa (right) vies with Sweden’s midfielder Caroline Seger during the Algarve Cup football match at Algarve Stadium in Faro yesterday.

GLASGOW: Rangers manager Ally McCoist was relieved to see his side still in the draw for the Scottish Cup semi-finals after they were held to a 1-1 draw by minnows Albion Rovers.

Ciaran Donnelly stunned the home Ibrox fans as he fired the part-timers into a 13th-minute lead in their quarter-final tie before a contentious 78th-minute goal from Bilel Mohsni earned the Glasgow giants a replay.

As the match edged towards the end it looked like Albion were going to pull off a famous victory over the 33-times winners but McCoist said he never doubted his side would get a goal.

“For 70-odd minutes we weren’t going to still be in the cup but we got the break and kept going and got the goal and my main feeling now is relief,” McCoist said.

“I thought Albion Rovers defended very well but I think on pressure we certainly deserved to take something out of the game and a draw was what we got.

“We had massive amount of possession, which we knew we would have but we lacked a bit of urgency in the final third of the park.

“Immediately after they scored you are obviously concerned and wanting a goal to get you back on track to win the game.

“But you have to be forever optimistic and hopeful and we did create some good chances to score. There were one or two goal-line clearances and last-ditch tackles so I was always hopeful that we would get at least one goal.”

Albion Rovers, who sit seventh in Scotland’s bottom tier, hadn’t been in the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup in 81 years.

But they were on the verge of one of the competition’s biggest ever shocks before Mohsni’s equaliser.

The goal incensed the Rovers management team, who felt ‘keeper Neil Parry had been fouled by the Frenchman as the pair jumped to contest David Templeton’s cross.

The Scottish Cup offers fallen giants Rangers a chance at claiming their first major trophy win since 2011 after finding themselves placed in the bottom tier of Scottish football following liquidation in 2012.

The winners of the replay will meet Dundee United -- who have knocked Rangers out of the competition in three of the past four years -- in the semi-finals.

But McCoist was keen to play down the expectations surrounding his side ahead of the replay with Rovers on March 18.

“I think people are maybe getting a bit carried away with where our club and this team is at this moment in time,” McCoist said.

“It is another game where we have an opportunity to get to the semi-final and it is fantastic because for long periods of the game after we lost the goal there was a sense of anticipation that a goal for us might not come.

“I have had a look at the draw but it would be totally wild of me if I had the audacity to look forward to a home tie against Dundee United and I’m certainly not going to do that.

“I think it’s also probably disrespectful to Albion Rovers who knocked Motherwell out of the cup.

“We will go over the game on Monday and then we’ve got an opportunity to win the league championship on Wednesday and there’s another game after that before the replay so there’s plenty of time to digest a lot of football before hopefully the Dundee United game.”

AFP

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