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McCoist's good luck message to McNamara calms storm

Jackie McNamara last night said the animosity surrounding Saturday's Dundee United-Rangers Scottish Cup match had been dampened after Ally McCoist sent him a good luck message.

McNamara was confirmed as United's new manager on a three-year contract and his first match in charge will be the fifth-round tie at Tannadice. Rangers have backed a fans' boycott of the tie in protest at United's role in denying them entry to the SPL in last summer's vote. Tensions have been high ahead of the game but that did not prevent the Rangers manager from offering congratulations to McNamara.

"I've had lots of messages," McNamara said. "One of the first to get in touch was Ally McCoist, who I get on really well with. We have had a good relationship over the years and he is a good guy. I won't be wishing him all the best on Saturday, of course, but he was very happy for me. I have come across him at Old Firm games and the Scotland set-up and we have always got on well. I have a lot of respect for him as a player, a manager and a person." McNamara, who left Partick Thistle and has taken Simon Donnelly with him as assistant, will meet the players this morning. "If you are asking me if I would rather have a whole week to prepare then I would. But we will focus on getting ready for Saturday in the time we have. It's different, but I'm looking forward to it."

Despite the boycott, some 300 tickets have been sold for the visiting section for Saturday's match while around 8500 have been sold for the United stands.

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