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Significance of final victory is not lost on McCoist or Mohsni

PERHAPS this was part of Charles Green's master plan all along when he tossed a strategically-timed verbal hand grenade in Ally McCoist's direction at the start of the season.

When the then Rangers chairman and chief executive pronounced, "Ally has got to win the league - and got to win a cup" it is doubtful the Yorkshireman envisaged the manager fulfilling these requirements to the letter.

Green is long gone from the Ibrox boardroom but McCoist will today attempt to add the Ramsdens Cup to the League 1 title, with a Scottish Cup semi-final against Dundee United to follow on Saturday.

Of all the thoughts racing through McCoist's head should he be parading silverware around Easter Road after this afternoon's Ramsdens final against Raith Rovers, ticking Green's two little boxes are unlikely to be top of the list - even if he feels Green is just about brazen enough to attempt to claim the credit.

"I don't ever think about Charles Green now," said McCoist, who will lift a cup for the first time as Rangers manager should his team prevail. "That comment at that particular time was particularly unhelpful. He probably had his own reasons for saying it ... I'm not sure he was the biggest fan of the staff here ... but you'd have to ask him that.

"He's over in France now riding his horses, or whatever he is doing. He might try to claim the credit. In fact I don't think there's any might about it, he will. But he won't be receiving any from me. The credit will go to the team and I think the club is in a better place than it has been for a couple of years."

McCoist envisages bigger weeks ahead, but for now this is the most significant seven days in the life of the club since its post- liquidation relaunch. But as eagerly awaited as the Dundee United match is - fans have been clamouring for tickets in the last few days, and extensive video analysis and scouting has been conducted - Raith require McCoist's undivided attention.

Lower-league trophy or not, even now, 18 months on, the disappointment of losing to Queen of the South in last year's Ramsdens Cup still gnaws away at McCoist, and neither has he forgotten Raith's Coca-Cola Cup final triumph over Celtic 20 years ago. He feels the current Raith side are better than their position of seventh in the Championship would suggest, and the only time Rangers have faced a team from that division this season they required two stoppage-time goals to overcome 10-man third-placed Falkirk 2-0

"What happened in 1994 shows you they can win the cup," McCoist said. "That was a Celtic team with [Paul] McStay and [Charlie] Nicholas, a very, very good team, who were competing right at the top of the Scottish game. So anything can happen in cup games. It's difficult to gauge because we're in a division below Raith Rovers, albeit only for a few weeks longer. But I think the players we recruited last summer are of a better standard than those we signed the year before.

"We're better than we were last year and we have players who have played at a good level in Scotland. [Cammy] Bell, [Ian] Black and [Jon] Daly have played in cup finals. That would indicate we would be favourites and I accept that.

"It would be a massive disappointment if we didn't win, but we have had those before. We didn't even get to last year's final during our rebuilding process. We are not planning on a disappointment but football is about how you handle recovering from disappointments as much as anything. We don't want to be having to handle [defeat] on Sunday night and Monday morning. We want to get in there, win the cup, celebrate on Sunday night and then get back to work on Monday morning for Saturday."

Should Rangers go on to add an unlikely cup double to their championship, one image will encapsulate their season, that of the 6ft 3in frame of Bilel Mohsni grabbing the net and screaming in fevered exultation after scoring their Scottish Cup quarter-final equaliser against Albion Rovers.

Like the Mark Robins effort for Manchester United against Nottingham Forest in 1990 which turned the gathering tide against Sir Alex Ferguson, it is a goal which may be spoken about in years to come.

"I don't think I saved Ally McCoist's job or anything like that but I know it was an important goal," Mohsni said. "It could have been me who got it or another player. I was shocked [when he was told to go up front] because I was thinking it was going to be Lee McCulloch as that is one of his positions.

"But we won and now we have Dundee United in the semi-finals.I was just hyper when I was in the net afterwards, and trying to motivate the fans. I was shouting 'we can do it, we need you'. When there are 45,000 people behind us it is like having 13 men on the pitch."

The 26-year-old Frenchman can occasionally be rash, but his height at the back should help Rangers fare better against high balls than they did with Sebastien Faure, Emilson Cribari and Ross Perry among the back four during last season's quarter- final at Tannadice.

Mohsni also has a passable working knowledge of lower-league cup competitions, looking back fondly on the achievement of taking his local side Les Ulis to the regional Coupe de l'Essonne competition in France. "It was the only time my town had won so it was nice to be part of it," he says. "I can only imagine that it would be fantastic to win a big title."

Mohsni also played in - and lost - a Johnstone's Paint Trophy final with Southend United at Wembley in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, although the nuances of the Ramsdens Cup were lost on him upon his arrival in Glasgow. "I didn't know about this competition when I came to Rangers," he admitted. "But it would be good to win it."

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