ALLY McCOIST last night led his side to the semi-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup but insisted that Rangers had no major advantage in playing Dundee United in the semi-final at Ibrox next month.
Rangers defeated Albion Rovers 2-0 through goals by Fraser Aird and Jon Daly at New Douglas Park last night, setting up the home tie with Jackie McNamara's United side that has already drawn criticism from Steven Thompson, the Tannadice chairman, over ticket allocation for the semi-final.
McCoist would not be drawn on the ticket issue but dismissed the importance of the Ibrox factor. "Time will tell," he said. "I do not think for a minute United will be fazed by it. These boys play in big stadiums and some of them have played in finals and won."
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Asked about who will be favourites for the match on April 12, McCoist replied: "I genuinely don't know. I would probably would think United with the experience they have at the top level. They have a good record against us in the cup in the last couple of years. The reason I don't know is I don't think it will matter."
McCoist admitted this would be a huge game in his managerial career, adding: "The club, prior to the last two years, has been used to playing in semi-finals. But in the grand scheme of things we have to continue building for the longer term. If we want to be able to make semi-finals or finals longer term there are far more important issues than a one-off tie against Dundee United."
It was a satisfying night for McCoist who admitted the recent "record in the cups has not been great". He knows he will face a severe challenge in the shape of United who beat his side 3-0 last year in the cup.
"We will be up against a very, very good team who have been doing particularly well of late. They gave Inverness a bit of a going over and scored three late goals against St Mirren. It is a real boost for everybody to get this opportunity."
He remembered last year's cup defeat with some pain. "It was disappointing but it will not have any bearing on the semi-final. We feel we have a better side, better players. But you could argue United have a better side. There are a lot of questions that won't be answered until the game."
James Ward, the Albion Rovers manager, was not downhearted. "We have had a positive aura over what we have done," he said.
Ward praised the commitment of his players, saying: "Liam Cusack played for the second game in a row with a potentially broken foot."
Rovers now go back to playing for a play-off spot in SPFL League 2. Rangers now prepare for the biggest game of their season.