Rangers legend explains ‘nightmare’ Ibrox manager stint and the ‘reality check’ which hit him hard

He made himself a legend over 15 years as a Rangers player – but East Kilbride’s Ally McCoist admits his return as manager couldn’t have been at a worse time.

The 59-year-old is a well-loved football figure and has won a new audience of fans with his delightful commentary and punditry work.

He’s been out of coaching and management since a three-year stint as Rangers boss ended in 2014, much of which was met with turbulence.

His first term saw the club enter administration and by the time the second kicked off, McCoist’s beloved team were in Scotland’s third division.

It was the Rangers icon’s task to get them back to Premiership football but that mission ended at the Championship in 2014, when he was placed on gardening leave.

Despite the hardship, McCoist isn’t prepared to moan about the tough times.

EK’s famous son told The Times: “It was my dream gig at a nightmare time. That is exactly what it was managing Rangers, But, almost masochistically, there was a part of me that was pleased it was me.

“It was all about just trying to steer the club along, with a few bumps and bruises on the way. In an ideal world, yes of course, I’d have preferred to be the Rangers manager at another time.

“But you can’t pick and choose. It would also be churlish of me, after the very fortunate career l’d enjoyed as a player, to start mumping and moaning about things not going my way as a manager..

“It is the very essence of football. – you take the rough with the smooth.”

McCoist added it was the end of his spell as boss in 2014 where things really turned for the worst: “Towards the end at Rangers I had a wee look at myself in the mirror and, first, I didn’t recognise the person looking back.

“I didn’t particularly like the person I was looking at. It was then that I realised there was maybe a bit more to my existence than just going through all of this as a manager.

“It was a reality check. I wouldn’t say it was a mental health issue as such – people have far greater problems than me – but maybe it was the first time in a while that I had taken stock of myself, and I wasn’t too enamoured with what I found.

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“Some things in life are more important, and one of those is certainly your health. So it didn’t do me any harm to reflect and say to myself, look, you need to get back on track here.

“My life today is so varied and enjoyable – and I’m grateful for that- – but I do miss the dressing room. I miss going out for the coaching sessions.”

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