Ally McCoist & Rangers: A long association as player and manager

Ally McCoist celebrating after scoring for Rangers in 1992
McCoist is Rangers' all-time leading goalscorer

Ally McCoist has left his post as Rangers manager and is now on gardening leave. Here BBC Sport Scotland profiles the manager and former player.

Ally McCoist has been a player, manager, film star, a quiz show team captain and even a TV presenter.

Born on 24 September 1962 in Bellshill, his first love of football led him to St Mirren, where he trained as a 16-year-old.

However, legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson did not fancy the slightly-built striker, fearing he was too small.

A year later, McCoist signed for St Johnstone from Fir Park Boys Club and made his debut on 7 April 1979 in a 3-0 win over Raith Rovers.

It took a while for the man who later became known simply as "Super Ally" to make an impact at Muirton Park, eventually hitting his first senior goal in August 1980 and scoring 22 goals in 38 games.

That form caught the attention Sunderland, who signed the then 19-year-old for £400,000, which at the time made him their most expensive signing.

Two years and just eight goals later, Rangers manager John Greig brought him back to Scotland for £185,000.

Roy Aitken and Ally McCoist in 1983
McCoist in one of his first Old Firm appearances in 1983

In 15 years, McCoist scored 28 hat-tricks, was Europe's top goalscorer for two years running in 1992 and 1993 and went on to become the club's all-time leading goalscorer with 251 league goals and 355 overall.

While at Ibrox, he lifted the Scottish Premier Division title 10 times, being one of only three players to be involved in all of the nine-in-a-row seasons between 1988 and 1997.

In addition, he won the Scottish League Cup on nine occasions and the Scottish Cup once. He managed 27 goals against Old Firm rivals Celtic, including a hat-trick in the 1983-84 League Cup final.

His Scotland debut arrived in a goalless draw against the Netherlands in 1986 and he would score 19 goals in his international career of 61 caps.

It was through playing for Scotland that led to a first of two career leg breaks when he was carried off against Portugal in 1993.

That ruled him out of the tail end of Rangers' treble winning season in 1993, but later that he year he won the League Cup final with an overhead kick against Hibernian.

Ally McCoist playing for Scotland
McCoist scored 19 goals for Scotland but also sustained his first serious injury on international duty

He was awarded an MBE in 1994 for his services to football.

McCoist made it into the Scotland squad for Euro 96, scoring Scotland's only goal of the tournament against Switzerland. However, Craig Brown left him out of the squad for the 1998 World Cup in France, a decision Brown later revealed he regretted.

That same year, McCoist's Rangers career was drawing to a close as Walter Smith's men battled to try to win 10-in-a-row. They fell short in the league, although McCoist's goal against Celtic in the semi-final helped earn a Scottish Cup final swansong against Hearts.

McCoist scored in his last appearance for the Ibrox side, but this time it was to be in vain as Hearts lifted the trophy.

Kilmarnock was his next club, but it was to be an unsuccessful spell with only 12 goals in three years and another leg break curtailing his progress.

He retired on 21 May 2007, aged 38, his final match as a player being a 1-0 win for Killie against Celtic.

Retirement initially meant a regular spot on the BBC's A Question of Sport and an acting role in Robert Duvall's 2000 film A Shot at Glory.

In 2004, he joined former manager Walter Smith as a member of the Scotland coaching staff and followed him to Ibrox when Smith replaced Paul Le Guen in 2007.

Ally McCoist and Walter Smith
Smith (right) brought McCoist back to Rangers in 2007

That same year, McCoist was inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame and the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.

Rangers beat Queen of the South in the 2008 Scottish Cup final, after which Smith revealed that McCoist had been in charge for the cup run.

In May 2010, Rangers announced that Smith would serve his final year as Rangers boss and, within months, it was confirmed that McCoist, assisted by Kenny McDowell, would be Smith's replacement for season 2011-12 onwards.

"It will be a privilege and an honour to take over from Walter next year and that is a challenge I shall certainly relish," McCoist said at the time.

However, McCoist's time in charge at Ibrox has coincided with a hugely turbulent time off the pitch.

Sir David Murray sold Rangers to Craig Whyte for £1 in May 2011, but the club fell into administration in February 2012 over non-payment of VAT and National Insurance, for which the side were deducted 10 points.

If that hampered McCoist's chances of winning the Scottish Premier League in his first season, there was not much joy in the cups either.

Aggregate defeats by Malmo in Champions League qualifying and Maribor in the qualifying rounds for the Europa League ended European involvement before August was out.

Ally McCoist during his time as Rangers manager
Financial problems beset Rangers during McCoist's first year in charge

In domestic competition, the holders' loss at Falkirk in the Scottish League Cup and defeat by Dundee United in February 2012 in the Scottish Cup meant a season without silverware.

Those disappointments were dwarfed by what followed that summer. HM Revenue and Customs refused Rangers' attempt to exit administration by way of a company voluntary arrangement and liquidation ensued.

A consortium led by Charles Green bought Rangers for £5.5m and had to apply for entry to the Scottish Football League after Scottish Premier League clubs voted against the Ibrox club being admitted to the top flight.

All but one of the 30 SFL clubs voted to accept Rangers, but 25 were against the team playing in Scotland's second tier.

"I fully accept the decision and thank them for allowing us into the SFL," said McCoist at the time.

"Clearly, starting again from the bottom league is not ideal and makes the task of rebuilding Rangers a longer one."

McCoist on 5 December
"Have I lost the confidence of the fans? No, no. But you always get a reaction from poorer results"

Green's purchase did not prevent key players, such as Steven Davis, Allan McGregor, Kyle Lafferty, Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker, leaving Ibrox, but McCoist was lauded by the fans as he declared "we don't do walking away".

It was a much-changed Rangers team, therefore, that won the Scottish Third Division title, the fourth tier, in 2012-13 and McCoist's team were unbeaten as they eased to the rebranded Scottish League One title the following year.

However, cup success has evaded McCoist. Dundee United made it three Scottish Cup wins over Rangers in as many seasons as the Terrors won 3-0 at Tannadice in February 2013 and then 3-1 at Ibrox in April's semi-final.

The League Cup has been just as tough going. A win over Motherwell was followed by defeat by Inverness in season 2012-13 and, last season, Forfar Athletic put Rangers out in the first round.

There have been Challenge Cup defeats by Queen of the South in 2012 and Raith Rovers, the latter in the final at Easter Road in April this year.

Rangers players look dejected after defeat by Alloa Athletic in the Challenge Cup
Defeat by Alloa brought McCoist's team under heavy scrutiny

This season, after Rangers fell nine points behind Scottish Championship leaders Hearts, Challenge Cup semi-final defeat by Alloa Athletic, who came from 2-0 down to win 3-2, heaped the pressure on the 52-year-old.

A significant fall in attendances at Ibrox has left the club in financial difficulty and Rangers have taken out loans from shareholder and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.

Rangers have a League Cup semi-final tie against Celtic at Hampden on Sunday 1 February and progress to the fifth round of the Scottish Cup has been secured by way of a 3-0 win over McCoist's former club Kilmarnock.

However, with McCoist on gardening leave after handing in his resignation and McDowall in temporary charge of the first team, it will be a different manager that leads Rangers in 2015.

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