Rangers' McCoist proud despite costly defeat

04 August 2011 02:00

Rangers manager Ally McCoist says he is proud of his players despite his side crashing out of the Champions League following a 1-1 draw away to Malmo.

The Scottish champions, trailing 1-0 from the first leg at Ibrox last week, levelled the aggregate score in the 24th minute through Nikica Jelavic despite being reduced to ten men six minutes earlier when Steven Whittaker was sent off for throwing the ball at Jimmy Durmaz.

Fellow Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra, in what could be his last game for the club if his proposed transfer to Qatari side Lekhwiya goes through, saw red in the second-half.

Malmo's Ricardinho joined him up the tunnel for a second bookable offence for elbowing Dardan Rexhepi in the head.

But with ten minutes to go Jiloan Hamad got a vital equaliser with a 20 yard volley to send Rangers crashing out and a consolation place in the Europa League qualifiers.

While admitting indiscipline cost his side a shot at the lucrative group stages of the Champions League McCoist took positives from his side's performance in Sweden.

"Obviously the result is a blow because we are out of the competition but I thought for the majority of the game when we were down to ten and nine men the fact we keep ourselves in it was very pleasing," the Rangers manager said.

"I really could not have asked for any more from the majority of the boys but certainly the two sending offs cost us dearly.

"I don't think there is any doubt about it that indiscipline probably cost us the tie, certainly tonight.

"Obviously I would look at them again as I will look at the game again but the fact that the lads gave the referee the opportunity to send them off was disappointing.

"To be quite honest it is mixed emotions. Obviously the overriding emotion is one of disappointment but to be honest with you, for the vast majority of the players, I was actually very proud of them.

"We got off to a great start with the goal and we kept plugging away and we created excellent chances.

"As I say it is disappointing but if we play like that and we show the spirit that the boys showed against Malmo then I will certainly have no complaints."

McCoist may only have just started his managerial career but he has already come in for criticism after leading his side to just one victory in four competitive games.

But he says after 20 years as a player and assistant manager at the Old Firm club he is used to taking the rough with the smooth.

"I think you saw again against Malmo it is another week gone and there is real progress," McCoist said.

"As disappointing as it is we just have to dust ourselves down and pick ourselves up and get on with it.

"You've no time at this club to feel sorry for yourself. The highs and lows at this club are fantastic and there is a great divide between the two.

"You can be flying high as a kite like the end of last season when we won the title at Kilmarnock and against Malmo we came crashing back down to earth.

"If you are involved at this club what you do is handle both the same and get on with it and we will."

Source: AFP