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Ibrox job is no laughing matter

Ally McCoist
Rangers fans will see a more serious side to Ally McCoist when he takes over as manager

By Chris McLaughlin

Thrusting a microphone in someone's face and asking them questions can be fun.

It can also be fairly terrifying depending on the subject and the subject matter.

Doing it with the same person on a regular basis can also leave you with a fair measure of someone's personality and mood.

I have been on the end of the famous Walter Smith stare on a number of occasions at the bottom of the Ibrox tunnel and it can be fairly unsettling.

Smith has always been courteous, never rude and mostly pleasant.

But a joke cracking, cheeky chappy he certainly is not.

So should I expect his successor to emerge from the Ibrox tunnel full of quips and one-liners?

It's an inevitable and essential part of being a modern-day manager - especially at the Old Firm, where football for the fans is no laughing matter.

A few years ago maybe, but I've noticed a change in the Rangers manager-to-be.

The king of comedy is getting serious.

He's not quite perfected the "Walter stare", but the eyebrows are certainly heading south and the jokes are drying up.

Ally McCoist is becoming a manager. The same happened to Neil Lennon at Celtic.

The Irishman could go head-to-head with McCoist on the stand-up circuit, but when he signed the deal to take over from Tony Mowbray, the manager's mask came down.

It's an inevitable and essential part of being a modern-day manager - especially at the Old Firm, where football for the fans is no laughing matter.

So how difficult will the transition be for McCoist?

His first task was taking his seat next to the Rangers chief executive Martin Bain in the Ibrox Blue Room and setting out his managerial stall.

He was his usual pleasant self, but those looking closely would also have noticed a steely determination that will go down well with the players and the fans.

Ally McCoist
Rangers fans are used to the light-hearted side of McCoist

"I know people see the cheerful, chirpy chappy, but he's deadly serious about football," said former Ibrox team-mate Craig Paterson.

"I really can't think of anything he's failed at in his life. Be it golf, handball or whatever, he just wants to win."

Having spent 15 years at Ibrox as a player, McCoist will be well aware that the fans will accept nothing less than victory and first place.

Character and charm can only buy him so much goodwill. But the men who know him best seem convinced that his backbone is just as strong as his funny bone.

"He started to distance himself from the players and the dressing-room some time ago," said former Rangers striker Mark Hateley."

"I think Ian Durrant has taken on more of that role.

"Of course, it is always difficult to come into your first managerial job, but he has served his apprenticeship very well under Walter Smith."

Apprenticeship served, but McCoist said it will be like taking the microphone from Frank Sinatra.

The quips remain, but I'm guessing he won't be using the microphone to tell jokes.

Follow Chris McLaughlin on Twitter

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see also
Gers boss delighted to progress
24 Feb 11 |  Rangers
Edu backs McCoist timing at Ibrox
23 Feb 11 |  Rangers
McCoist to become Rangers manager
22 Feb 11 |  Rangers
Chick Young's view
22 Feb 11 |  Scottish Premier


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