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McCoist says his old room-mate Moyes can turn the tide

ALLY McCOIST recognises the narrative.

A once-great club falls upon hard times, their wide-eyed young manager struggling to forge his own reputation as he takes over from one of the game's most storied bosses.

For once, though, the subject is not his own dubious inheritance from Walter Smith and Sir David Murray but rather that of his old Scotland youth team room-mate David Moyes.

Criticism aimed at Sir Alex Ferguson's successor at Manchester United reached a crescendo yesterday when disaffected supporters hired a plane complete with a message urging him to quit, but there were words of support yesterday from his old pal and occasional early 80's Old Firm adversary.

"Of course I sympathise - you sympathise with any manager who gets that level of criticism," said McCoist.

"But, listen, we know it goes with the territory. A lot of people would say he had Mission Impossible before he took over the job following arguably the greater manager in history.

"So it was never going to be an easy gig. Davie, without a doubt, has proved himself as a top manager and coach where he has been beforehand, particularly at Everton. But this is his biggest test of his managerial career.

"I have known him for a long, long time," he added. "We shared a room in the same Scottish youth team when Andy Roxburgh and Walter Smith took us with the Scotland Under-18's. Davie and I were completely different characters - like the odd couple - and I can remember some of the trips, like one to the old stadium at Monaco.

"He is made of stern stuff as you are probably aware and he will be fine.

"He is a clever man, he will know what he has got to do. It is good that he is at a club where, as history will tell you, they don't tend to make knee-jerk decisions. It's without a doubt one of the greatest clubs in the world.

"I obviously hope, and think, that Davie will get the opportunity to make changes and get Manchester United back to the very top."

Not that the Rangers manager is exactly tipping them to prevail against Bayern Munich over two legs, a Champions League quarter final tie which kicks off at Old Trafford on Tuesday night. "It is the toughest draw imaginable," he said.

"Bayern look, if not invincible, then certainly one of the strongest and best teams for a long, long time. While that is short-term and very important to him, longer term there are wider issues that he will address. You can liken it a bit to when John Greig took over at Rangers where a lot of the boys were at an age where changes had to be made."

Meanwhile, Rangers' French full back Sebastien Faure downplayed the furore over next month's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Dundee United at Ibrox, by insisting that in France semi-final venues are always at the mercy of the draw.

In that country, the first drawn team out of the hat hosts the one-legged semi-final, although there is a 50/50 split of fans.

"We don't have this problem in France," Faure said. "But normally in Scotland the games are at Hampden Park.

"Maybe the Scottish FA just didn't think that Rangers would reach the semi-finals!"

In addition to next Sunday's Ramsdens Cup final, Faure hopes to feature against United, hoping to atone for last year's 3-0 Scottish Cup quarter-final defeat at Tannadice.

The Frenchman was part of a back four which included Emilson Cribari, Ross Perry and Lee Wallace.

"That was a different team you know," he said.

"We were behind in just 20 seconds which was tough for the team but this year I think it will be very, very different."

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