Ally McCoist last night questioned the timing of Dundee United's public attempt to have a potential William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers moved away from Ibrox.

Stephen Thompson, the United chairman, said over the weekend that he had failed to convince the Scottish Football Association to select an alternative venue should the Ibrox side overcome Albion Rovers in tonight's quarter-final replay at New Douglas Park, while levelling strong ­criticism at the governing body for putting commercial interests ahead of "sporting integrity".

Loading article content

However, McCoist has since queried why Thompson did not raise his concerns about Ibrox being chosen as the venue for the semi-finals when the decision was taken in October rather than waiting until last Sunday's draw.

"I find the timing of it slightly unusual," said the Rangers manager. "I think they could maybe have complained when the decision was made, so that has surprised me, but I am not going to get involved in any squabbles with Dundee United again.

"I'll take the fifth on that one and keep my mouth shut. I'm obviously very hopeful we will be able to play them out there [at Ibrox]. What an incentive it is to possibly have a semi-final here against United."

Nicky Clark, the Rangers striker, did admit that playing at the club's home stadium in front of a partisan crowd would be a definite advantage for his side, should they progress from their replay. United had hoped to receive 20,000 tickets for the semi-final on April 12, but are in line to be given just 13,100 of Ibrox's 51,082 capacity should Rangers win this evening and reach the last four.

"It was decided it would be played here," said Clark. "We never picked that. We would have played them anywhere, but it just happens to be here and it looks like we'll just need to get on with it.

"If we get to the semis, I'm sure we'll raise our game again, especially if it's at Ibrox with the fans behind us. It will be a great occasion for us. This place would be bouncing and we'd be right up for it."