McCoist: Football tragic without derby

Herald Series: Ally McCoist Ally McCoist

Rangers manager Ally McCoist believes British football without the Old Firm derby would be "tragic" as his side gear up for Sunday's clash against Celtic.

The financial problems at the administration-hit Ibrox side mean they are not yet able to rule out the possibility of liquidation and applying for re-entry to the Clydesdale Bank Premier League as a 'newco'.

McCoist has spoken of dropping down to the Irn-Bru Third Division as maybe being "morally" correct, albeit to the detriment of the rest of the SPL, and such a scenario would mean the end of the famous Glasgow derby for several seasons.

The Light Blues boss was also asked to consider the extreme prospect of this fourth and final meeting with the Hoops this term being the last Old Firm encounter ever.

He said: "How tragic would that be? I am, of course, totally biased and make no apology for that but it's certainly one of the greatest products Scottish football has, maybe even British football actually.

"I've been fortunate enough to be at derby games all over the UK and Europe and there is nothing quite like it. It's a fantastic product, it really is. You could argue sometimes about the quality of football but in terms of the atmosphere that both sets of fans generate, it's second to none.

"It is definitely a spectacle that we should be proud of."

Despite their off-field problems, Rangers claimed the bragging rights when Celtic came calling at Ibrox last month thanks to a 3-2 victory after the home side had led by three goals until the 89th minute.

McCoist said: "At the last Old Firm game at Ibrox, which went well for us, I personally thought the atmosphere was as good as any game of football I've ever been at in my life. The Rangers fans were sensational and I thought the Celtic fans were defiant when we were ahead.

"With 10 minutes to go, I wanted the game to finish at 9pm. Then, four minutes later, the whistle couldn't get blown quickly enough. I just thought it was a tremendous advert for Scottish football. Hopefully the game on Sunday will equal that."

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