Ally McCoist has been labelled a pr**k by Stenhousemuir striker John Gemmell, in a twitter rant ahead of Sunday’s League One clash between the two sides.
The Rangers manager had claimed on Friday that his club were being singled out by the SPFL after having to play four games in 11 days – three of them away from home.
Despite Rangers being just one of 12 SPFL clubs playing the same number of games during the same period, McCoist was adamant that Rangers were being targeted by the governing body.
McCoist said: “Different initials but the same old story with the way our club has been treated. This game should not have been played on Sunday, it should have been played in midweek. That’s our fourth game in only 11 days and it’s just not on.
“To make matters worse, they’re sending us up to Forfar after a nine-day break later this month. So we play four games in 11 days, nothing for nine days and then they send our fans away up to Forfar on a Monday night.
“There’s something not right about that. Stenhousemuir’s preferred option was Sunday I think, which I can understand for financial reasons. But we made our feelings absolutely clear we wanted to play when everybody had a free midweek.
“We had our say but it shows you how much they listen to us. There’s no point in raising it with them again because they knew we weren’t happy with it. At this time of the year when money is scarce for everybody to ask our support to travel to a third away game and a fourth match in 11 days is just not fair.
“I feel sorry for our fans. It’s incredible – Dunfermline on a Monday night, Airdrie on a Thursday, Stenhousemuir on a Sunday. At least they’ve got Forfar on a Monday to look forward to!
“Four games in 11 days for any set of players is very difficult. We’ve been reasonably lucky with injuries but Lewis went down against Airdrie and we’ve been suffering a little bit with one or two knocks.
“Ian picked up a couple of kicks against Airdrie too. In an ideal world they would have a longer time to recover. I’m disappointed for the players but I’m more concerned with the fans. I just think it’s poor for them.
“The supporters are being taken for a ride. I understand more than anybody that we have to attract sponsors for the game and TV audiences.
“I just feel once again our fans are being asked to go the length and breadth of the country where that shouldn’t necessarily be the case all the time. It’s just as well the Rangers supporters are a strong bunch.”
However, Gemmell blasted the Rangers manager and claimed he would loved to be as pampered as the Rangers players.
Gemmell posted via his official twitter account: “McCoist is a p****, game against Stenny should be midweek?… Why, so we are f****** after working all day whilst your boys can lie and get a massage for three days before checking their £5k a week wages are in? Away and ****off #Embarrassing.
“Can’t wait to get a massage after training today and a nice healthy meal after too …. Actually I’m working 2-6, probably with a pot noodle.
“I’d have loved to be full time at Rangers with all the best treatments and facilities available.”
The self-confessed Rangers season ticket holder will almost certainly be in trouble with the governing body over his comments.
Despite McCoist’s comments this week, he failed to mention the Ibrox side postponing two games against Dunfermline and Forfar, because of several international call-ups, a decision which was roundly blasted by Rangers fans.
The Rangers manager’s comments are in stark contrast to comments he made in 2008, when Rangers were playing in four competitions – including Europe.
Back then, McCoist was assistant to manager Walter Smith, dismissed fears of the Rangers players burning out as they challenged on four fronts, insisting: “This is where you want to be, this is what it’s all about.”
Those comments came a day before Rangers flew out to play Werder Bremen in the UEFA Cup last 16 second leg tie, the year the Ibrox side went to the final in Manchester where they lost 2-0 to Zenit.
He added: “Brilliant, isn’t it? A lot of people say, ‘Are the amount of games worrying you… the pitches, the backlog, the tired players?’ No, this is where you want to be, this is what you want to do. You only play these amount of games if you’re doing reasonably well in all competitions. But it’s now getting to the business end of the season and we want to start winning things. The boys have performed very, very well to get to this stage, but as yet we haven’t won a thing. So it’s a very important, testing time coming up.”
I wonder what the difference between 2008 and this season is for Rangers – especially since competition this season is against part time lower league opposition whose players work during the day.
With the size of squad that Rangers have at their disposal, along with the players being full time, they should certainly have enough to beat lower league opposition who work during the day, train at night and who certainly don’t live the lifestyle that the Rangers players do.
Gemmell was right to blast McCoist, however not in the way that he did it though. And for that I expect Gemmell to be hammered by the Scottish FA for his online comments.