Standing in the corner of a press room in which the walls are covered by photos chronicling the history of Queen of the South, the towering defender spoke about finding his own place at Rangers. He is unconventional, but that does not isolate him when his predecessors include Lorenzo Amoruso and Madjid Bougherra. "I would like to achieve what they did," Mohsni said, "but it's still very early in my career."
The comparisons are not forced, even if Mohsni lacks the Italian's arrogant conceit or the Algerian's powerful athleticism. It is impetuosity they share, the willingness to abandon orthodoxy on a sudden impulse. Amoruso and Bougherra became cult figures at Ibrox because there was a thrill in the uncertainty they brought to the game; calamity was just as likely as accomplishment, and that narrow margin was at least captivating.
Mohsni has mostly brought greater dynamism to the Rangers defence, since Emilson Cribari tended to be a more one-dimensional player. Most of the organising, at least in the quarter-final victory over Queen of the South in the Ramsdens Cup on Tuesday evening, was carried out by Lee McCulloch. Either centre-back was capable of attacking the ball in the air, though. There are still awkward moments, and Mohsni collided with Jon Daly when they both tried to head clear from a corner, but team-mates are beginning to tune in to their new colleague's style of play.
"I used to play in midfield when I was younger which is why I like to get on the ball," he said. "It was only when I became taller that they moved me back into defence. But I am comfortable on the ball. No one has told me to stay back; I always try and come forward. Someone always covers me, so I'm not worried. I used to watch Lorenzo in the Champions League and I know he used to play like I do. People have compared me to Lorenzo and Madjid. I am pleased about this because they were great players for this club."
Mohsni has tended to defy the standard assumptions. He did not turn professional until he was 22, having trained as a teacher, and he won a move to Southend United straight from the French non-league side Sainte-Genevieve Sports. The Paris-born defender is imposing physically, but has a light and deft touch on the ball. At times against Queens, he carried the ball out of defence by weaving past opponents.
During an injury crisis at Southend, Mohsni played up front and scored 14 goals. When he first turned up for training at Murray Park, Stevie Smith was astonished to see him play at centre-back, since the left-back had once marked him in a game against Southend, when Mohsni played as a right winger. West Ham were once prepared to pay a low six-figure fee to sign Mohsni, only for the deal to fall through when Southend could not agree a deal. This infuriated the player, and exacerbated a tempestuous streak.
He was booked 19 times and dismissed on four occasions during his three seasons at the club and even fell out with then manager Paul Sturrock over his disciplinary record. At one stage, the club's chief executive suggested that Mohsni take up boxing to try to bring his fury under control. Some of the rage was defensive - Mohsni reacted to what he perceived to be unpunished fouls - but also of a pent-up ambition since he came to the professional game late.
Having agreed to sign for Rangers as a free agent at the beginning of this month, and made his Ibrox debut in the 5-1 win over Arbroath last weekend, he's in a positive frame of mind. Sturrock recommended him to Rangers and said "he's got as good attributes as Bougherra", while also acknowledging that Mohsni can be "a bit of a hothead and a bit temperamental". The defender once refused to board the team bus after arguing with some of his team-mates in the tunnel after a defeat but, at 26 and with greater experience of the British game, the rashness may be less evident.
"I didn't feel right in my own mind last season and that was a problem, but I am in a much happier place now and it is showing on the field," Mohsni said. "I had never played in front of over 40,000 fans before. So last Saturday was an incredible experience. I know Rangers had some problems [in defence] last season but we are working towards putting things right. I am tall and I know I can win headers. I try to dominate the defence if I can."
Mohsni is only two games into his Ibrox career, and the contract offer to Marius Zaliukas, the former Hearts centre-back, tells of the level of competition that McCoist wants to bring to his squad. None the less, Mohsni could yet become a player adored by the Rangers fans, if only for his eccentricities. "I had never heard of the Ramsdens Cup before this season," he said after the defeat of Queens. "But it would be special to go and get my first senior medal."