EARLIER this month, in one of Glasgow’s many fine Indian restaurants, Archie Knox launched his autobiography.

It was a rather staunch event, if you know what I mean.

Walter Smith was there for his most trusted assistant. John Brown, Craig Brown and Ian Durrant also offered their support.

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And so, too, was Ally McCoist who stunned the gathering by turning up almost on time.

It was charged to myself to fight my way through the throng which forever surrounds him to see if the bold Ally would like to say a few words. This time he declined and said: “I’m not really wanting to say anything today, wee man.”

Now, this is perfectly fine. If the guy didn’t want to speak then we were hardly going to force him. Smith chose not to do any press either.

I believe McCoist would have more than happy to talk about Knox, his coach of many years, but knew questions would be asked about Rangers and Pedro Caixinha, which was a road he didn’t want to go down.

It’s not that he hasn’t spoken about the club in recent times, he has, and while I’m reading between the lines here, my take is that he didn't want to come across as bitter, for obvious reasons, or to say anything negative about a football club he loves.

And Ally McCoist loves Rangers Football Club.

I wasn’t at Firhill last Friday night but have been told that when McCoist was spotted in the television gantry right at the back of the stand which housed the Rangers supporters, one or two gave him some serious abuse.

“Money grabbing *******;” was one of the insults spat towards him, a reference to his wages and pay-off from what in the end was a miserable time for the all-time top goalscorer as Rangers manager.

This is not only the opinion of a handful of tanked up halfwits, nor is it how the clear majority see Super Ally, as he was and to some always will be.

But I know more than a few Bears, and social media plays a part here, who view McCoist as one of the villains of the piece in regards of what happened to their club post-liquidation.

During the Craig Whyte trial, it emerged that had McCoist not been named as successor to Smith in 2011 then, in the words of Donald Findlay no less who represented Whyte, he was due an “enormous” amount of money due to a clause in his contract.

This was Rangers at their worst; spending and promising what they never had. Not that the agreement itself was unusual. That’s how football works. It’s just whoever hands over that deal had better be sure they can cash the cheque.

So financially McCoist did extremely well out of it all and while he won two promotions and was at least in the hunt of a Premier League play-off place in his final season, which the team did clinch after he had left, his time as manager will hardly be viewed in the same realms as his playing days.

However, for those who see him as one of the bad guys, that his legacy will be forever tarnished, I will say this to them.

McCoist was manager at a time when chaos ran the corridors of Ibrox. There were people inside the club bad mouthing him to whoever would listen and, let’s be honest, who out there wouldn’t accept such a contract?

His mistakes were honest ones and, sure, he made too many but he of all people doesn’t deserve to feel awkward about going to Ibrox to watch a game and he certainly shouldn’t have punters shout at him in the manner of last week.

He’s not perfect but, come one, is he really the baddie in all of this.

I have him down as the third greatest ever Rangers player, after Jim Baxter and John Greig, and he gave the fans so many incredible memories.

McCoist is a proud man and, despite his confident manner, was badly hurt by a lot which was thrown his way. I’m not saying for a second that all the criticism was unwarranted; rather that he does have quite a lot of credit in the bank to be forgiven his trespasses.

And, no, that’s not a pun.

Life is short. Time moves on. So should the McCoist baiters. He is a legend after all.

And another thing

IT was good to see Craig Thomson being appointed as referee for the Old Firm game this weekend. This is his 14th derby.

He is easily our best referee and, most importantly, talks to players during the game which I know they do appreciate.

Thomson will make mistakes on Saturday but I would rather he than just about anyone else was in charge of the game because he's the type who gives himself a second before blowing his whistle.

He was also let things go early on so to avoid it turning into card fest.

It could be a dull 0-0 with no controversial moments to talk about and the officials would still get the blame. However, Thomson is the right man for the toughest job in football.