BILEL MOHSNI accepts he is destined to spend the season being goaded by his opponents in the SPFL Championship after his hairtrigger temper led to him missing the first two games of Rangers' season through suspension.
The French-Tunisian centre-back was banned from his side's Petrofac Training Cup win over Hibernian and the league loss at home to Hearts as a result of being red-carded during a 2-0 pre-season defeat to Derby County for aiming a diving headbutt at striker Chris Martin. Mohsni has apologised for his actions and admits he will have to learn, following the latest in a long line of misdemeanours, not to respond to provocation because there is guaranteed to be plenty of it coming his way in the months ahead. "I will keep what happened in my mind because I know all the players in our league will try to wind me up," said the 27-year-old, back available for Friday evening's league visit to Falkirk.
"They might kick me or elbow me, but I will be ready for that. I know players do that all the time, but I didn't expect it in a friendly game. I want to show everyone I can do better than I did at Derby. I was very, very upset with myself at Derby and I acted stupidly. When we gave the second goal away it was my fault and I didn't defend well after.
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"It wasn't about their player who tackled me. It was more about myself and I reacted badly. I'm very sorry to the fans and my team-mates."
Marius Zaliukas, Darren McGregor and Lee McCulloch have all played in central defence for Rangers this season, although you would hardly say they have proved themselves irreplaceable. Mohsni is likely to be given his opportunity sooner rather than later, but, again, he claims to understand that his inability to stay out of trouble, a problem that has raised its head throughout his career, has to be tamed before it becomes altogether too costly.
"One of the problems when you get suspended is other players can do well in your place," he said. "If they get into the manager's head, he could put them first, so all I can do is train hard and try to win my place.
"If I get my chance, I will do my best to show I am worthy of it and attempt to keep it for the rest of the season. Of course, I had suspensions last season and I don't want any more. I need to keep my temper, stay cool and make sure I don't get sent off again.
"It is very hard for me to be off the pitch when games are taking place and I would rather be on it, so I will do my best to stay involved."