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Chick Young's view

Ally McCoist shows his delight at Ibrox
McCoist is set to be only the 13th manager in Rangers' history

Chick Young
By Chick Young
BBC Scotland football reporter

It's a cynical old business, that of the Scottish football observer. But, in four decades at the coalface, I could have been wooed into believing certain things - like, say, the Flat Earth Society is a burgeoning organisation.

But never, in the lion's share of the 30-odd years I have known Alistair McCoist, would I have believed that his destiny was to become manager of Glasgow Rangers.

Cheeky and immensely likeable, a natural striker and pin-up material, possibly the worst time-keeper - with the possible exception of Martin O'Neill - I have ever met in the Scottish game: East Kilbride's finest is all of these.

But officer material?

McCoist thrilled at manager post

There was, you might reasonably have reflected until about three years ago, more chance of them allowing John Prescott to go hang-gliding.

But would you believe it, the boy joker changed.

He matured and developed, listened and learned and, most of all, began to realise that his fate lay not as the jovial, grinning quiz show captain, the subject of wistful glances from dear old Sue Barker, but rather in the wood-panelled office at the top of the Ibrox marble staircase.

An office where Bill Struth and Willie Waddell, where Jock Wallace and Graeme Souness and his own personal sorcerer, Walter Smith, pored over their battle plans.

In a history stretching back more than 130 years, he will still be just the 13th man to manage Rangers.

McCoist was a striker who was a craftsman at timing his runs. He scored 355 times in 581 matches for the club he always adored, but he might have chosen a different hour to grasp his destiny.

Rangers will say otherwise, but I cannot help thinking that the dismantling of their team by Celtic on Sunday accelerated the announcement of his appointment.

Ally McCoist and Walter Smith
McCoist has been learning management under Walter Smith

The champions are in dire financial straits, the epicentre of takeover bids and general confusion. Some supporters are a little concerned about the future.

And history, in such circumstances, has not been good to Rangers when once Walter Smith took his previous leave of the club in 1998.

They ended the season trophy-less despite an attempt to clear the air by announcing Smith's imminent departure and then try to shore up the morale by - at around this time of the season - unveiling his successor.

Dick Advocaat stormed Scottish football like the Little General he professed to be. But then, he was allowed to spend £12 million on a striker during his four years at Ibrox.

Forgive the frustrated look on the face of the manager-elect. You could just about get half the club for that now.

Meanwhile, Rangers fans who question the inexperience of their new manager should reflect that he has attended to his apprenticeship a bit more diligently than Neil Lennon. And they will have noted the progress of the new kid on the other side of town at Celtic Park.

Rangers had to give the job to McCoist. There was no real alternative.

He has learned at the hands of a wise old owl, or at least the support hope he has.

He has worked his passage to a shot at glory. And one day they might even make a movie about it.

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see also
McCoist to become Rangers manager
22 Feb 11 |  Rangers
Smith dismayed by Rangers display
20 Feb 11 |  Rangers
Celtic 3-0 Rangers
20 Feb 11 |  Scottish Premier
No U-turn over Smith's Ibrox exit
18 Oct 10 |  Rangers
Rangers keep Smith for final year
25 May 10 |  Rangers

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