Rangers

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Ally McCoist

ALLY McCOIST'S contribution to Rangers as a player was phenomenal and he led the Light Blues through one of the most tumultuous periods in the club's history. 

The club's greatest ever goalscorer with 355 strikes in all competitions, not many people would have thought a career in management awaited him when he retired. 

McCoist's football adventure began as a teenager at St Johnstone and his exploits at the old Muirton Park in Perth earned him a move to Sunderland.

Gers had tried to capture him then too and after one previous attempt, they finally landed their man from the then Roker Park outfit in 1983. 

John Greig was the man who signed McCoist and the striker didn't take long to start repaying his £185,000 fee, bagging 20 goals in his debut season.

Over 15 years at Ibrox, he was to average nearly 24 counters per term and that's a figure few have achieved with Rangers - particularly over several campaigns.

Of course, McCoist's prolific form in front of goal twice led to him being crowned Europe's top goalscorer and he received the Golden Boot award in 1992 and 1993.

Also included in Super Ally's tally were 28 hat-tricks for his beloved Gers and an incredible 18 different honours, including 10 league championships.

He featured in all nine of the club's successive title wins in the 1980s and 1990s and has a medal from each, as well as one from the 1986/87 term under Graeme Souness.

After leaving the Light Blues in 1998, McCoist moved to Kilmarnock with his team-mate and close friend Ian Durrant and played there for three more seasons, scoring 17 times.

But upon retirement, it seemed a career in the media was what McCoist would follow for many years to come.

As well as a role as a team captain on 'A Question of Sport', he was also a regular pundit on the BBC, ITV and Setanta Sports' live coverage of British football.

McCoist's first coaching job came when Walter Smith - his manager for more than seven years at Rangers - was named as Scotland boss in December 2004.

His appointment alongside his old mentor and Tommy Burns was a surprise one given the lack of experience he had at that level.

But he was the perfect foil for his two colleagues and Inverness Caledonian Thistle were amongst those quick to recognise that.

They were keen to speak to McCoist in January 2006 with a view to discussing the possibility of him becoming their new manager in Craig Brewster's place.

But the former hitman turned down their advances - choosing instead to remain within the national set-up - and it proved to be a wise decision.

Just a year later, Smith was brought back to Ibrox for a second spell at the helm after Paul Le Guen's departure.

He brought McCoist with him, making him his assistant and drafting in Kenny McDowall as third in command.

The trio worked exceptionally well together, not only winning the Scottish Cup and League Cup in their first full season but reaching the UEFA Cup final too.

They followed that up in the 2008/09 campaign with a thrilling league and Scottish Cup Double, the 18th in the club's history.

McCoist saw his stock rise considerably and he was given the responsibility of managing the team in Scottish Cup ties by Smith.

The reason for that is to help him prepare for taking on the top job at Ibrox, something Murray revealed he was being lined up for in November 2008.

Awarded an MBE for services to football in 1996, McCoist has also been voted into both Rangers' and the SFA's Hall of Fame.

He took up the reins from Walter Smith when the departing manager left the club with another League and League Cup trophy in the bag in the summer of 2011.

McCoist's opening season began well, with Rangers going 15 league games unbeaten at the start of the season, with that run including an exceptional 4-2 demolition of Celtic at Ibrox.

At one point, the Light Blues were 12 points clear of their Glasgow rivals at the top of the SPL, but by New Year, Celtic had overhauled the deficit, before Rangers title hopes were all but ended as the club went into administration.

McCoist was a rock for the club through that period, coining the now famous "We Don't Do Walking Away" phrase. While the football did take a back seat in the terms of priorities for Rangers at that time, there was something to cheer when Celtic were denied the chance to win the League at Ibrox with a dramatic 3-2 victory over them in March.

The end of the season saw Rangers drop into the then Third Division, and while a number of players exited Ibrox, McCoist remained with the club, leading his new-look side to the title and promotion to the new League One.

Another title there thanks to a season where Rangers didn't lose a league game ensured promotion to the Championship, but he tendered his resignation on December 15 2014 with a year's notice period on his contract.

A week later, however, he was placed on gardening leave by the then Rangers board, and he was replaced on a caretaker basis by Kenny McDowall.


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