• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Moshni in the groove as club set the rhythm in League 1

Rangers fans have developed a fondness for big defenders who are a little off the wall.

Bilel Mohsni with pupils from Lorne Street Primary School in Glasgow yesterday. Picture: SNS
Bilel Mohsni with pupils from Lorne Street Primary School in Glasgow yesterday. Picture: SNS

It is a strange soft spot - if there is one area of the pitch that quirkiness is not an asset, it is surely at the heart of the back line.

But Bilel Mohsni is very much following the same path to affection as Madjid Bougherra and Lorenzo Amoruso, two other imposing Ibrox centre-halves who were also prone to the odd flash of daftness in possession. The Frenchman was at Lorne Street Primary School yesterday, promoting the Ibrox club's donation of tickets to the community, and it was clear he was already a hero to the youth in attendance. Well, most of them.

One young Celtic fan near the front was a little too chatty for the teachers. Was he looking forward to asking a Rangers player something? "I had to come," he shrugged, not interested, before he was later shifted to the back row, safely out of harm's way.

The questions started. Mohsni's favourite player? Alessandro Nesta. Was he a good buy for Rangers? We'll see at the end of the season. How many goals has he scored so far? Six.

"Can you do a dance for me?" a young lad then asked. "I'm a rubbish dancer!" Mohsni replied, laughing, though a quick YouTube search for his antics at the recent Rangers Charity Ball dispels that assertion somewhat.

Other questions followed. It turns out Mohsni spent a season between the sticks when he was 13, after his club's first-choice goalkeeper was injured.

"No-one wanted to go keeper so they asked me," he said. "The goalkeeper coach said he would be out for the season, I was like: 'why not?' I just did it for fun but it was a good year." No chance of playing there for Rangers though? "Stevie [Simonsen] and [Scott Gallacher] are better than me, for sure!"

The Q&A session was winding to a close but the wee dance fan was not so easily dismissed, showing a tenacity worthy of the amused newspaper journalists who were watching.

"Can we dance together?" he tried again. "You're a professional dancer. You dance when you score!" Mohsni laughed and the room applauded as the young whippersnapper and a colleague got up to show him how it was done.

But then, after the obligatory posing for photographs, the fun was over. Things turned serious, as Mohsni reflected on the winning run that has allowed Rangers to create a new post-war record for most victories in succession, with 19. The defender was bullish, when asked whether that run can extend until June and the start of life, presumably, in the SPFL Championship.

"I think we can do it. It will be tough," he admitted. "We have proved we are strong up front and in midfield, so I think we can do it. But I don't know, after we win the league, if we are going to keep playing like this or put in the youth players to get experience. The most important thing is to win the league first."

The criticism of their latest record, of course, is that the standard of opposition is far below anything the Ibrox club has faced regularly in the past. Still, as Motherwell found out to their dismay at the weekend, the lower leagues are full of opponents eager to make a little piece of history by emerging with a big scalp.

"We play in the Scottish Cup every week," he said. "And some Premier League teams get beaten by teams we beat. Every team waits for us, they all start strong, every Saturday is like a Scottish Cup [tie]. I don't think it's easy."

Contextual targeting label: 

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.