It shouldn’t be like this. The club’s record goal scorer in exile.
As Mr Murty gets comfortable and slides his brown brogues under his desk, I feel its about time we addressed the legacy of one of our former gaffers a certain Mr Alistar McCoist.
McCoist’s legacy as a legend at our club is one never in question and should never be called into doubt due to his playing career that spanned over 15 years and amassed over 250 goals for the club. However that is not why so many of our support are split on his legacy these days, it is without any doubt his time in charge of our club that leaves a certain group of fans with a sour taste. Full disclaimer here, Ally or Super Ally to me was my hero growing up and still to this day at the tender age of 33 I still wear number 9 for my 5 a side team.
One of my earliest memories attending a game at Ibrox (not my first game) was of super Ally was when he scored all 4 goals in a midweek match against a helpless Falkirk side. I was in awe, and equally heartbroken when on international duty for Scotland he broke his leg.
Super ally made his return from this setback in spectacular fashion scoring the winner in a league cup final at Parkhead vs Hibs, true Ally fashion a overhead kick past the hapless Jim Leighton (always a bonus) If truth be told he was never quite the same player but Rangers never could find a suitable replacement and we tried from a world cup golden boot winner to unknown Danish and Chilean strikers none could find the net or drive the team in old firm games and cup finals as well as score as many important goals at important times as our Ally. Ally’s Rangers career ended with him amassing a huge collection of medals, golden boots and goal scoring records. He was the greatest goal scorer the club had ever seen.
Super Ally always was a huge personality and I think it was surprising to nobody that in his twilight of his playing days he moved in TV work then onto Hollywood. Who would have guessed the former Rangers striker would have graced the silver screen with legends like Batman star Michael Keaton and The Godfathers Tom Hagen Robert Duvall. Ally more than held his own even if the movie was a straight to VHS (remember them) flop.
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I like many others was more shocked at Ally’s next career move a post under Walter Smith at Scotland. Many including myself was surprised but I think we all felt as with everything else he touched it would prove a masterstroke. Under Walter, Scotland gained back credibility including a memorable victory vs France at Hampden, but when Rangers came calling on the back of the Paul Is Guen fiasco Walter and Ally returned home forming part of a 3 man coaching staff with Kenny McDowell.
They say you should never go back, but how wrong they were as without the financial backing or the individual talents of a Gascoigne or Laudrup second time around Walter and Ally delivered league titles after league titles, domestic cups and of course a run all the way to the UEFA cup final in Manchester. After securing our record 54th title Walter announced he would be stepping aside, leaving the job to his apprentice Ally.
Let’s all take a minute to remember that this was during a time of asset stripping and financial rape of our great institution, failed transfers were also playing out on the media for first time. Ally’s first 6 months in charge were largely successful, although it’s hard to erase the memory of long ball tactics applied against poor Malmo and Maribor sides that seen us kicked out of Europe (losing goals from soft throw ins). On the domestic front we raced to a 12 point lead of or closest rivals. The losing to both Dundee Utd and Falkirk in the early stages of cup competitions only further inhanced early suspicions of Ally’s ability to manage.
We are all aware of what happened next and I will not go over what has been written about time and time again but despite promotion from League 2 to the Championship, that included a unbeaten season in League 1, the general standard of play and players was dire.
This is where the criticism of Ally is most apparent, failing to spot Andy Robertson (who we played 6 times I think one season) or the reluctance to blood any youngsters into the side preferring instead to sign players such as a Brazilian centre half and a Greek full back.
As the season’s went on we seen more journeyman arrive such as Ian Black or Kevin Kyle not to mention the Fran Sandaza affair. The list of failed players during this time is in part due to the circumstances but a huge burden must also rest with Ally , even resigning the never impressive Ricky Foster along with Kris Boyd. It seemed at one point he was merely getting the band back together , only this groups best playing days were long gone.
My personal view is that Ally’s fate was sealed in the Challenge Cup final against Raith as the performance that day was unforgivable. Constantly plying long balls up to the isolated and double marked Jon Daly we had no plan B and succumbed to a utterly embarrassing loss.
I know many fans are upset that McCoist took the wages he did at the time but there was worse people than that pillaging there greedy fat hands throughout our club , and who am I to deem a man’s worth in wages, or even the fact he abdicated from voting on a recent share issue these I can forgive more easily as we may never know his true reasons for this.
In summary Ally was a man simply not up to the job. He should not be ashamed and cast aside for that in my view. He at times was the glue holding us all together , at the most testing times in our clubs history and must have took a immense personal toll on his life outside the game.
As the door is held open for the next man up on the job he once held I would like to see us open the door and welcome back Super Ally, give him the reception he deserves and help heal old wounds. After all, there is no shame in just not being up to the task.
Ally come home.