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Angus anguish gives Rangers heebie-jeebies

AS transfer deadline day roared on, and Sky Sports' roving team of presenters shrieked themselves giddy with excitement, Ally McCoist's thoughts turned to Angus anguish.

Bilel Mohsni insists that the opposition also deserve credit for Rangers' mistakes. Picture: SNS
Bilel Mohsni insists that the opposition also deserve credit for Rangers' mistakes. Picture: SNS

Was it the name of some unheralded player signing on for Rangers as the window clattered shut? Not quite.

The Angus in question was that eastern neck of the woods where the likes of Brechin City, Arbroath and Forfar Athletic dwell. In a SPFL League 1 campaign of utter dominance, there have been one or two moments of groan-inducing concern for the champions-elect and most of these have been created by the teams from Scotland's birthplace.

Arbroath made a declaration of intent last weekend before succumbing 3-2 at Ibrox. Brechin gave Rangers the heebie-jeebies at Glebe Park in October and led 3-1 before losing 4-3. Forfar, meanwhile, left McCoist's men as flat as a bridie that had been sat on when they triumphed 2-1 in the first round of the League Cup back in August.

After that seven-goal stooshie in Brechin, the Rangers defence were as miserly as Scrooge on benefits, shipping just three goals in the next 15 games. When Arbroath came to town last weekend and made the natives restless by scoring twice, the post-mortem was thorough.

"You better believe we have," said McCoist when asked if the footage of the dodgy defending had been pored over. "And after 11 o'clock at night.

"There was a watershed for those two goals. Defensively, we were poor, particularly at the second one. We have gone through it in detail with the lads."

Bilel Mohsni, the French defender, was among those with his hands over his eyes as the video nasty was played. While he put his hands up to accept responsibility on behalf of the Rangers defence, the 26-year-old also credited the Arbroath players. When Rangers are expected to steamroll over all and sundry every week, it's easy to jump to the 'what went wrong' conclusion while blissfully ignoring the fact that yes, some of these wee teams can play a bit too.

"They [the other teams in the league] are good teams, they can play good football," he said. "Their first goal, the cross was brilliant. People may think 'they are a rubbish team' but you can't have this kind of skill if you are that."

Today, it is Brechin City's turn to strut their stuff at Ibrox. For McCoist, the 4-3 thriller in October and the battling way in which Rangers managed to chisel out a hard-earned victory remains a significant day in the season.

"That game at Brechin helped set a tone in terms of the mentality of the squad," said McCoist, who highlighted the fact that those three goals leaked that eventful afternoon remain the only ones they have conceded away from home in the league. "I'm loath to tempt fate as we still have a fair bit to go in the season, but that game showed me they certainly have the spirit and the attitude to go out and win games.

"Of course we look at the negatives and try and eradicate them. But, looking at the positives, the comebacks have definitely shown that they have something about them. Generally speaking, we have been fine defensively in away matches. There is a bit of an argument that we are getting caught at home on the counter attack.

"Teams are looking to do that at Ibrox so we have to be switched on defensively and that will again need to be the case against Brechin."

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