Mccoist steals the show on night of le­gends

The Herald - Herald Sport - - Clydesdale Bank Premier League - RICHARD WIL­SON AT IBROX

For a sup­port that has been bat­tered and bruised for al­most two months, a bout of nostal­gia must have felt like a rare com­fort. There was an air of sen­ti­men­tal glory to the sight of so many revered fig­ures from Rangers’ past gath­er­ing again on the Ibrox pitch, and the turnout in the stands re­flected the urge to cel­e­brate, but per­haps also cling on to them.

In the likes of Andy Go­ram, Richard Gough, Brian Lau­drup, Lorenzo Amoruso, Arthur Nu­man, Ron­ald de Boer, and David Weir, three eras of suc­cess were rep­re­sented; years of un­com­pli­cated and vic­to­ri­ous pride. Some of them were re­minders, too, of times when Rangers could be haughty and tri­umphant, but also of the reck­less spend­ing and van­ity of Sir David Mur­ray and, no doubt, the Em­ployee Ben­e­fit Trusts at the cen­tre of the dis­pute with Her Majesty’s Rev­enue and Cus­toms.

The fans greeted each hero with resur­gent cheers. The loud­est, most deeply sus­tained was for Ally Mccoist, whose stew­ard­ship dur­ing the cri­sis of ad­min­is­tra­tion has been a source of strength to the sup­port.

Kick-off was de­layed by 15 min­utes to al­low fans into the ground in time for the start - the an­nounce­ment gen­er­ated an ova­tion from those al­ready in­side – and 47,521 turned up to rem­i­nisce, but also con­trib­ute to the club’s fu­ture and the Rangers Char­ity Fund.

“It was fan­tas­tic for what was an old crocks game,” said Wal­ter Smith, who man­aged the home side. “The fans have re­acted bril­liantly to the sit­u­a­tion Rangers are in. It just shows the feel­ings peo­ple have for this club.”

AC Mi­lan Glo­rie brought their own icons, with Franco Baresi, Paolo Mal­dini, Alessan­dro Costacurta, Zvon­imir Boban and Jean-pierre Papin start­ing. The good­will ex­tended to the vis­i­tors, par­tic­u­larly Baresi and Mal­dini, who moved with an ef­fort­less but ruth­less grace.

The years had been more abra­sive for some – Amoruso’s jer­sey and shorts strained in com­plaint at their bur­den – but no­body came to make judg­ments. Old habits re­mained in­grained, though and Gough or­gan­ised with sharp re­bukes, Al­bertz de­liv­ered a pass with pre­cise in­ge­nu­ity and Go­ram made point­blank re­ac­tion saves. One cer­tainty de­fied time more em­phat­i­cally than the rest. Mccoist ap­peared as a sub­sti­tute to score the only goal, dart­ing across his marker to steer a header past Mas­simo Taibi from Gio van Bron­ck­horst’s cross. “Hardly sur­pris­ing, is it,” said Smith dryly.

This match was a re­minder, of times past, of some old am­bi­tions that turned out to be mis­guided, of in­di­vid­u­als whose con­tri­bu­tions re­main vi­tal to the club’s sense of es­teem, but also a re­as­sur­ance. The faith and com­mit­ment of the fans car­ries the great­est value in these trou­bled times.

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