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McCoist delight as Rangers wrap up title at first time of asking

Ally McCoist watched his Rangers side take the latest step in the Ibrox club's "recovery" by clinching the SPFL League 1 title with a 3-0 home win over Airdrieonians then looked forward to the final stage of the journey to the top flight next season.

The captain Lee McCulloch, 35, scored a first-half hat-trick, converting twice from the penalty spot before netting a third from open play as the Ibrox club forged 26 points ahead of second-placed Dunfermline with eight games remaining, to continue their ascent back to the top flight.

Rangers, who started at the bottom of Scottish League football after lapsing into adminitration and then liquidation in 2012, are now only one title win away from the Scottish Premiership and the manager is looking forward to the Championship campaign

He said: "We are absolutely delighted, not only to wrap the title up but with the manner we wrapped it up, particularly in the first half, which was really pleasing and we are thrilled for the players, the staff and the supporters. It has been a terrific league campaign and I thought we finished it well.

"I think 26 wins and two draws is a great achievement, the players deserve an enormous amount of credit, as do the supporters.

"These are all championships that we have to win, to get back to where we want to be, in the top flight.

"These are stages in our recovery which must be met so I think it is only fair that they should be celebrated as you would winning any league.

"There are a lot of boys in the dressing room winning their first league, the majority of players will go through their careers and not win a league.

"The Championship could and hopefully will be, a great league next year so we are certainly planning for that and hopefully we strengthen and continue to build for the championship and for the years after that."

McCoist lavished praise on veteran McCulloch, whose hat-trick came from the centre-half position.

The former Rangers striker said: "I actually scored a quicker hat-trick in Vladikavkaz in a Champions League match than the time Lee scored in tonight.

"But I wasn't playing centre-half to be fair. I think the last person to do it here was Paul Gascoigne on the day we won the title against Aberdeen - although I draw the line at saying they were similar players.

"But it's an unbelievable achievement.

"McCulloch epitomises the spirit that has been required within the club at the beginning of the journey back.

"I'm absolutely thrilled for him. For a captain to score a hat-trick from centre-half on a title-winning day is real 'Roy or the Rovers' stuff."

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